It was tough getting back into the swing-of-things. Our guys had travel problems getting back to campus and we only had a couple of days of practice. You always know it’s going to be rough after exams but I never thought we would be down 2-0 early in the first period in BOTH games.
The first evening (Thursday), I was really happy how we rebounded from the first-period 2-0 deficit. We did generate scoring chances and I thought we played really well with multiple guys contributing offensively. Senior forward Jack Malone scored his first points of the season. Unfortunately, we lost senior forward Matt Stienburg to a bad injury and he will not play for a while. AIC jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first eight minutes. We did get it going, out-shooting the visitors, 11-2, over the final 12 minutes of the period. Freshman forward Nick DeSantis scored on a one-timer with three minutes left in the first period. We tied up the game early in the second when an AIC error enabled sophomore forward Ondrej Psenicka to score his first of two goals on a feed from senior defenseman Travis Mitchell. Another AIC giveaway on a neutral zone pass gave us a 3-2 lead at 6:57 on a goal by sophomore forward Sullivan Mack with DeSantis collecting an assist.
AIC came right back to knot the score at 3-all only a minute later. Then, It was all Cornell the rest of the way; Psenicka tallied at 13:21, Jack Malone found the back of the net 24 seconds later and Travis Mitchell closed out the second period at 17:17 to give us a 6-3 lead. We made the score 7-3 just 1:08 into the third period on a goal by Sullivan Mack. At the 16:39 mark of the third period, junior forward Kyle Penney scored and AIC scored their 4th goal with 3:03 remaining in the game.
The second night is always a different story at this time of year. We knew AIC would come back and play a much better game and they did. Our players did not handle very well going down 2-0 early for the second night. We ran into penalty problems in the second period and the penalty kill did a great job in the third.
AIC scored twice at 2:00 and 3:44 to open the game and I replaced the starting goalie freshman Remington Keopple with Shane, although both goals were conversions of Big Red player mistakes. Nick DeSantis had a great series and narrowed the gap to 2-1 at 7:25, with assists to senior forward Ben Berard and junior forward Gabriel Seger. Neither team scored during the second period and we killed off three AIC power plays.
The visitors increased their lead to 3-1 just 1:10 into the third period. On the first of our three third-period power-play opportunities at 4:59, DeSantis punched a rebound past the AIC goaltender for a 3-2 deficit. Senior defenseman Sam Malinski took a shot from the point that went wide of the goal but Psenicka corralled the loose puck and shot it past the goaltender with 1:10 remaining in regulation to tie the game at 3-all.
Neither team generated much offense in the 3-on-3 overtime period and we went into the dreaded shootout. Jack Malone scored for us in the second round and senior forward Max Andreev brought home the shootout win in the third round. Shane stopped both shots he faced. This was our first shootout win since 2013.
Keopple made two saves and Shane stopped 18 shots. The AIC goalie made 31 saves. We were 1-for-3 on the power play and they were 0-for-2. We won the battle by generating a lot of shots. And, we have now successfully killed off our opponents’ last 20 power plays. We will miss the injured Matt Stienburg but other players will now have to step up.
We are 7-1-1 in our last nine games and I’m really looking forward to getting into ECAC play starting this weekend with a trip to the Capital District to play Union on Friday night and RPI on Saturday evening. Looking forward to seeing many alumni and friends at both of these games. Happy New Year to everyone and LET’S GO BIG RED!