Order was restored in the college hockey world as Cornell bounced back from a Friday night drubbing to earn a road split with North Dakota.
The 2-1 win before 11,450 fans at Ralph Engelstad Arena was more in line with the type of game expected when the defensive-minded Big Red tangled with the offense-challenged Fighting Sioux.
The night after UND chased Ben Scrivens, the nation’s top goalie, from the net and topped Cornell 7-3, the Big Red responded with a solid, workmanlike effort as Scrivens stopped 22 of 23 shots he faced.
“We didn’t get into playing their style,” Scrivens said. “We definitely played more of our game the second game.
“It’s kind of a greasy road win. We’re not going to blow many teams out 7-3 like they did to us. We’re going to get our 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 games and they’re going to count as wins. That’s most important to us.”
Cornell coach Mike Schafer made changes to his team’s lineup and adjustments to the penalty kill that paid dividends. A disallowed UND power-play goal and a fortunate bounce on Cornell’s game-winning goal with 3:23 left in the game didn’t hurt either.
“We made some adjustments on our penalty kill and the guys did a good job of blocking shots and getting in shot lanes,” he said. “We watched the video and I didn’t think we played very physical at all last night. We made some lineup changes and I thought the line of (Derek) Punches, (Dan) Nicholls and (Joe) Scali gave us some good energy tonight.”
In contrast, UND coach Dave Hakstol said the Sioux didn’t play with the same energy they did on Friday and didn’t get the bounces that enabled them to score four even-strength goals and three power-play goals on Friday.
“We didn’t have as much jump in our legs tonight,” he said. “That’s probably due a little bit to Cornell doing a good job of playing a little tighter. I didnâ€™t think we had the same jump throughout our lineup.”
UND appeared to get on the board first at 16:41 of the first period when senior forward Ryan Duncan fired in a cross-ice pass from Ryan Martens. However, the power-play goal was disallowed after being reviewed. Center Chris VandeVelde’s skate appeared to cross into the crease and clip Scrivens’ skate as he attempted to get across to make the save.
“He just clipped the back of my skate a little bit,” Scrivens said. “The refs made a good call on it. I just mentioned to them that I didn’t fall over on my own. They were looking at it anyway.”
“I was told it was goaltender interference,” Hakstol said. “It’s a big difference between playing one goal up on a team that’s as good defensively as they are. There’s a big difference in the energy that you get from scoring a great power-play goal.”
Despite the call going against them, the Sioux had their opportunities to take the lead. They received 26 seconds of five-on-three power play, but couldn’t convert. Still on the power play, Sioux forward Evan Trupp hit the crossbar flush on a shot that beat Scrivens.
Cornell broke the stalemate with a short-handed goal at 10:57 of the second period. Big Red senior center Michael Kennedy led a two-on-one rush down the left side. When a Sioux defender cut off the centering pass, Kennedy fired a hard wrister from near the right dot that beat freshman goalie Brad Eidsness high short side.
Playing physical and denying UND opportunities on the few rebounds Scrivens left, Cornell continued to frustrate the Sioux. UND had a second two-man advantage for 32 seconds in the third period, but once again was stymied by Cornell’s penalty killers.
The Sioux finally broke through and tied the game 1-1 with a power-play goal at 14:37 of the third period. After stropping defenseman Brad Miller’s point-blank shot, the puck came across the crease to freshman forward Brett Hextall, who fired it into an open net.
The tie lasted just two minutes. UND senior defenseman Zach Jones was called for interference shortly after the center ice faceoff. Cornell had the Sioux on their heels when defenseman Brendon Nash knocked down a clearing attempt and dished the puck to forward Evan Barlow in the right circle. He one-timed the puck, which deflected in for the game-winner at 16:37.
“You hit her as hard as you can,” Barlow said. “I tried to shoot to score up top. I just hoped that Eidsness went down. It looked like it hit something out front and bounced over him. I was pretty happy.”
Initially, Barlow was credited for the goal, but a post-game video review revealed that the puck hit junior forward Collin Greening, who received credit for it. Barlow and Nash received assists on the play.
Duncan, who was on the ice when Cornell scored, said, “I think it went off their guy in front. It went off either his chest or his shoulder. That’s just they bounce they needed.”
UND pulled Eidsness with 1:07 left in the game for the extra attacker, but couldn’t get the puck past Scrivens.
The Sioux have yet to sweep a series this season.
“I’m learning how difficult it is early in my college career,” said Hextall. “That’s something guys talked about when I got here. Now I get to see how difficult it is.”
UND’s Trupp left the game early in the third period and did not return. Hakstol said he did not know the seriousness of the injury.
Cornell improves to 5-1-2 overall (4-0-2 ECAC) while UND falls to 5-8-1 overall (4-5-1 WCHA). The Big Red is at home next where they take on Clarkson Dec. 5 and St. Lawrence Dec. 6. The Sioux are on the road for a non-conference series at Harvard Dec. 5-6.