ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell played host to Yale (15-5-4, 10-4-3 ECAC) on a cold Saturday night at Lynah Rink.
No. 15 Cornell was also cold on the ice, falling to Yale’s phenomenal penalty kill and the brick wall that was goaltender Alex Lyon, losing 4-2.
Cornell’s Dwyer Schantz was called for boarding just 1:24 into the first period and Yale took advantage as John Hayden found a hole to the Mitch Gillam’s left, giving No. 10 Yale (15-5-4, 10-4-3 ECAC) the early lead.
“I thought the key play of the game was that really undisciplined penalty,” said Cornell coach Mike Schafer. “When you do that and get down to this team, it’s going to be a long, long night.”
It took just over three minutes for Carson Cooper to make it 2-0 as he tipped one in from Gillam’s right.
As Lyon continued to shut down the Cornell offense, the Big Red (12-7-5, 7-6-4 ECAC) began playing a rough defensive game. The aggression eventually caught up to Cornell, particularly to their captain, John Knisley. A major penalty for cross checking had the captain serving five minutes in the box, 3:41 of which would be served in the second period.
The call proved costly as Hayden once again found a hole, this time under Gillam’s right knee pad, putting Yale on top 3-0 and prompting Shafer to make a decision he had only made once this season, pulling Gillam from the net and giving Hayden Stewart just his second appearance this year.
Minutes after Stewart took over in goal, and moments after Cornell converted on its first power-play opportunity of the night, Knisley attempted to make up for his penalty by getting Cornell on the board with an unassisted wrist shot past Lyon.
For the remainder of the second period, Cornell’s offense remained silent as Lyon totaled seven saves, three of which came on the power play. The Big Red came in from all angles, but simply couldn’t figure out Lyon.
“Alex, in my mind, is the best goalie in the country,” said Yale coach Keith Allain. “When you have a guy like that in the back, it gives everyone confidence and allows guys to play with a little bit of freedom.”
Stewart looked solid through the remainder of the second period as well, totaling five saves in second and one more in the third before Cooper found the back of the net for his second of the game. The goal came just after Ryan Bliss showed phenomenal stick work, weaving past a pair of Yale defenders. Unfortunately for Bliss, Lyon continued his pattern, using his body to block the left side of the crease, preventing Bliss from getting a shot.
With just 32 seconds remaining, the Big Red appeared down and out before Alex Rauter took a feed from Knisley and ripped it into the net, reducing the lead to two. The goal for Rauter was his first of the season.
For Yale, the victory wrapped up a four-point weekend and kept the Bulldogs’ two-point lead on Harvard intact for the time being.