A flurry of blocked shots in the waning seconds of the third period helped No. 19 Cornell hold a one-goal lead during a Quinnipiac 6-on-4 advantage, and ultimately defeat the No. 15 Bobcats, 2-1, in an ECAC Hockey game Saturday night.
“Quinnipiac over time we did to them what they’ve done to us for a lot of years,” Cornell coach Mike Schafer said. “When it was on the line we got some big blocks and some big saves. They’re a good hockey team, but they’re hard to beat here. They play hard, they’re good in their systems and you know when you get a victory out of here you’ve earned it.”
Half of the Big Red’s 16 blocked shots came in the final period, as the Bobcats scrambled to generate chances to tie the score. Cornell controlled the neutral zone possession for the most part.
Mitch Gillam’s night in net was bookended by surges in the first, from the Quinnipiac power play that resulted in its only goal of the night – by Craig Martin, and the third as the Bobcats (13-10-2, 8-6-1 ECAC) tried to claw back. Composure from the senior goaltender radiated forward to the rest of the Cornell defensive corps and up.
“It makes you disciplined away from the puck,” Schafer said. “You move the puck and realize you don’t have to do something special to prevent a scoring chance. Just do your job, because you know Mitch is going to do his job. So there’s that trust back there.”
Jeff Kubiak staked the Big Red to a 1-0 lead 2:42 into the game, and Alex Rauter’s goal with 8:28 to play in the second proved to be the winner.
The combination of defense and averaging three goals per game has helped Cornell win nine of its past 10 games.
HAMDEN, Conn. — Quinnipiac is still trying to navigate the wake left by its Frozen Four appearance in April. The Bobcats have gone 3-3-0 in the second half of the season. The fundamental problem, Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said, is the struggle with identity.
“I think once we get rolling again it’s about our identity,” Pecknold said. “We’ve been rewarded for years because we play to it. For whatever reason we’ve got guys that are straying from it, we’ve got guys going rogue on us and that’s not how we win games.”
Quinnipiac’s power play and penalty kill both went 1-for-5 on the night, and freshman goaltender Andrew Shortridge made 29 saves in his seventh game this season. Even with a laundry list of aspects to address before the Bobcats’ next game on Jan. 29, it might take more than ice time to remedy.
“I say it to the guys all the time, you can’t fake passion. We had some guys trying to fake it tonight and it didn’t work,” Pecknold said. “But it’s a great group of guys and we’re going to figure it out. I’d much rather figure it out in January than in March, but we’ll figure it out.”
ECAC Hockey Roundup
At No. 11 Union 2, No. 2 Harvard 1
Spencer Foo’s 16th goal of the season 6:50 into the third period lifted the Dutchmen at Schenectady, N.Y., and Alex Sakellearopoulous turned away 31 shots by Harvard. Foo also assisted on Sebastian Vidmar’s second-period goal.
Clarkson 7, at Brown 2
At Providence, R.I., Troy Josephs and Nico Sturm each scored two goals to spark the Golden Knights and hand the Bears their fourth consecutive loss.
Colgate 2, at Princeton 2
John Snodgrass and Willie Brooks staked the Raiders to a 2-0 first-period lead, but the Tigers rallied behind goals from Jackson Cressy (second-period power play) and Ryan Berlin to tie it. Princeton’s Colton Phinney made 37 saves and Colgate’s Charlie Finn stopped 35 shots.
Dartmouth 4, at Rensselaer 2
Grant Opperman and Troy Crema scored two goals apiece – one each on the power play – to lift the Big Green over the Engineers, who got goals from Jacob Hayhurst and Patrick Polino.
No. 16 St. Lawrence 2, at Yale 2
Eric Sweetman and Ben Finkelstein scored goals to help the Saints claw back from a two-goal deficit at New Haven, Conn. Ryan Hitchcock and Frankie DeChiara scored for the Bulldogs, who got 39 saves from Patrick Spano. Kyle Hayton stopped 27 shots for St. Lawrence.