CORNELL 4, @North Dakota 3 | CORNELL 3, @North Dakota 1
What a difference a week makes! Our young team rebounded well after a dismal performance in Arizona to knock off #5 North Dakota in its own barn. This is notable in itself but after the travel we have experienced on the trip it is a miracle. We’ve had three brutal trips: Twenty-nine hours to get to Arizona … didn’t arrive until 2:30 am Thursday in Fargo … and the team arrived back in Ithaca at 4 am on Monday after traveling all day Sunday!
We played patient and opportunistic hockey against UND Fighting Hawks on Friday and Saturday. I’m grateful to my staff who did a great job when I missed the Saturday game after testing positive for COVID. I’m really happy how we responded at North Dakota. This was the first time the Fighting Hawks have been swept at home in more than four years. We still have lots of room for growth and our team realizes we can be even better.
On Friday night, there were long periods of back and forth action early in the game with the home team scoring first at 15:32, beating Freshman goaltender Ian Shane on a one-timer. We tied the score at 1-1 at 3:09 of the second period on a power-play goal by Junior defenseman Sam Malinski with assists to Freshman forward Justin Ertel and Junior forward Jack Malone. The home team took back the lead, 2-1, at 14:38 of the second period and added another at 5:59 of the third stanza.
Then, we began our charge! Sophomore forward Jack O’Leary scored his first collegiate goal to narrow the gap to 3-2, with assists by Junior defenseman Sebastian Dirven and Senior defenseman Cody Haiskanen, a native of nearby Fargo. Three minutes later the game was tied, 3-3, when Senior forward Max Andreev took a feed from O’Leary in front of the net in traffic and converted his eighth goal of the season. Freshman forward Ondrej Psenicka had the second assist.
The winning goal was an excellent work in progress. Malinski had a shot from the point blocked but the attempted clear of the rebound was blocked by Junior forward Zach Tupker on the end wall. Tupker sent a quick pass to Freshman forward Kyler Kovich at the left goal post but the puck slid away to the right point. Malinski’s shot was saved but Kovich was free to slide the puck into the goal to give us a 4-3 margin with 5:49 left to play.
Shane, who was the ECAC Goalie of the Week last week, made 23 saves including 12 in the second period. The North Dakota goaltender had 13 saves. Both teams were 1-for-2 on the power play.
Saturday night’s game didn’t start well; North Dakota scored their lone goal just two minutes into the game on the power play. Later in the opening period (@15:31), North Dakota was awarded a penalty shot after a shorthanded-breakaway-skater was pulled down. This was the first penalty shot against a Cornell goaltender in the last 96 games and Shane, who played last season for the Bismarck (ND) Bobcats, made the save.
Two minutes later, Tyler Kovich converted a rebound from the top of the crease to tie the game at 1-all, with assists to brothers Ben and Zach Tupker. Psenicka put us ahead, 2-1, when he tipped in a point shot from classmate Hank Kempf, a defenseman, with 3:21 left in the opening period. Andreev received the second assist.
North Dakota dominated play in the second period but Shane made nine saves to keep the home team at bay. We made it 3-1 with 7:52 to play in the third period on Senior forward Brenden Locke’s fifth goal of the season. Locke converted a rebound off a shot from Haiskanen. Ertel earned the second assist to increase his scoring streak to four games. We were able to successfully defend against an extra skater when the Fighting Hawks pulled their goalie with 3:30 remaining in the game.
Shane, with 32 saves, improved his record to 2-0 with a 1.51 goals against average and .951 save percentage. The North Dakota goalie made 17 saves. We were 0-for-4 on the power play and they were 1-for-4.
The pair of victories made us 4-2-1 over the first seven of nine-straight away games. The final two away contests of that string are this weekend (January 15-16) at Yale and Brown on Friday and Saturday nights. We did well this week in the ECAC honors. Shane was named Goaltender of the Week for the second consecutive week and Rookies of the Week were Psenicka and Kovich.
As always, we appreciate your support on the road and look forward to Big Red fans in the opposing stands. We’ll be back at Lynah Rink on January 21 and 22 against Princeton and Quinnipiac.