The Cornell Big Red posted a season-high five goals en route to stifling Quinnipiac, 5-4, to force a game three in the series.
Quinnipiac ended the first 20 minutes holders of a 2-0 lead, even after not registering a shot on goal for the first three quarters of the period.
Mitch Vanderlaan kick-started the Big Red engine a minute into the second, catching Michael Garteig tracking the puck the other way after a Cornell wrap-around attempt. Vanderlaan captured the puck fed to him at the top of the far-side faceoff circle and fired it home.
“We came back, I thought we had a really strong second period,” Cornell coach Mike Schafer said. “We had four goals; that’s a month for us in scoring.”
The play was consistently dictated by Cornell (16-10-7, 8-8-6), which kept a vice-like grip on a game that could have been its last, sitting on the outside looking in on the PairWise.
The lead changed hands three times in five minutes to round out the second period. Matt Buckles knotted the game at three on a power play, stuffing in a short-side goal after a puck mishandled by the Quinnipiac defense rolled through the crease. The Bobcats took a 4-3 lead a minute later.
After a Quinnipiac (26-3-7, 16-1-5 ECAC) timeout, Christian Hilbrich tied the game for Cornell, using lineman Trevor Yates used as a screen coming in from the backboard. He dragged it from the corner, brought it out and got it through on the far-side post.
“I thought we were physical in the second period, I thought we were tenacious, I just thought that our guys got into some of that tenacity tonight,” Schafer said. “We played with some composure and brought pucks to the net. We’ve had what now, with the exception of last night, we’ve had three tremendous games with these guys this year.”
Even with mounting pressure from Cornell, Quinnipiac worked to take away pucks and force odd-man rushes into the Big Red zone to garner big opportunities and force goaltender Mitch Gillam to make saves and corral rebounds.
“Frustrating for him; it was a three-on-one, it was a guy walking off the side boards and ripping it under the crossbar, (and) a three-on-two,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “We can’t give those up obviously, but he did a good job when we needed him, which he has all year.”
Quinnipiac’s third line found a niche during the night, with Taverner, Schutt, and Tiefenwerth accounting for a three-on-one goal and five points in the game. Freshman defenseman Chase Priskie also potted two of his own to double his goal total on the year as he pinched in to aide his forward corps.
“I’m not 6-foot-4, I’m a smaller guy, and I try to play with a lot of speed, try to get up and down the ice and chip in offensively as much as I can,” Priskie said. “We’ve got a great group of forwards and I just gotta give them the puck and get open and I know I’ll get it back.”
For Quinnipiac captain Soren Jonzzon, the Bobcats have to work to match the intensity of the Big Red to work to capture the series on home ice Sunday.
“We just gotta reload, refocus, we gotta play with more urgency; they were more desperate than we were,” Jonzzon said. “They were winning battles in situations where normally we’d be winning races and winning battles in corners and we weren’t picking up guys in front. They knew their season ended today if they lost, and they played that way.”