I think the Lynah Faithful said it all as the crowd exploded on Saturday night when we completed the quarterfinal sweep. I told the guys before Friday night that to get to Lake Placid, we had to beat one of the best teams in the league twice. It was a neck and neck battle both nights with both teams playing extremely hard.
We’ve been through so much over the last four years with this group of guys. I’ve thought about it a lot over the last couple of weeks. Our seniors were freshmen on the verge of having this kind of experience, then everything blew up. I’m happy for this team — the seniors especially — to overcome adversity and get to Lake Placid.
On Friday night, our power play got us the lead and our penalty kill took care of their chances; earlier in the year that’s how we lost against Clarkson. To get the first goal and then make it 2-0 was a little bit of a shemozzle.
We came out and dominated the opening 20 minutes, out-shooting them 11-2. A little over five minutes into the game, we challenged a minor cross-checking penalty and after the video review it was upgraded to a 5-minute major, game misconduct. Just 29 seconds into the power play, junior forward Gabe Seger, who didn’t play last weekend because of an injury, scored with freshman forward Dalton Bancroft and senior defenseman Sam Malinski recording the assists. Clarkson killed off the rest of the penalty.
In the second period, there was not much offense; Clarkson out-shot us, 6-4 and we failed to score on our one power-play opportunity.
We scored a big goal just a minute into the third period from an unexpected source. Sophomore defenseman Michael Suda scored his first collegiate goal to give us the 2-0 lead. Suda brought the puck in from the near half-wall and put the puck on net, gathered his own rebound, and scored on a wrap-around. The goal was challenged by Clarkson but the review confirmed a goal for us.
Just over four minutes later, Clarkson narrowed the deficit to 2-1 on the power play, when a shot deflected off a Golden Knight standing in front of the net. I was disappointed with us on that goal; we took a penalty and got scored on, but that was the scoring for the night. We gave up the one goal, they had a couple of chances and sophomore goaltender Ian Shane made some big saves. He had a fantastic windmill glove save with six minutes remaining that was huge.
We had a chance at an empty-net, but senior forward Ben Berard’s 85-foot shot clanged off the left post and out. Senior defenseman Travis Mitchell, who has used his body all season long to block shots, made a crucial block of a Clarkson shot with seconds to go.
Shane made 18 saves and was crucial a couple of times covering up for our mistakes. The Clarkson net-minder stopped 18 shots. We were 1-for-4 on the power play and Clarkson was 0-for-4. The penalty-kills were huge with a number of good blocked shots. We also did a nice job on face-offs, winning 30 and losing 16. Seger won eight of the nine face-offs he was involved in.
On Saturday night, in the first period Clarkson led on shots 8-5 and each team was on the power play once but no one scored.
The second period was different than the first with eight penalties called and five power play chances for us. Senior forward Max Andreev put us up 1-0 with a power-play goal at 8:30 on a one-timer that went over the goalie’s glove. Assists were given to Seger and freshman forward Dalton Bancroft. Seger’s assist gave him nine points over his last seven games. This was the 22nd time we have scored first this season, helping us to an 18-3-1 record when we go in front first. The second period ended with us clinging to a 1-0 lead with the defense holding strong against a very potent team.
At the beginning, the third period was a continuation of the second. We were called for tripping 24 seconds into the period, but less than a minute later, Clarkson was called for the same infraction leading to 4-on-4 situation. Our special team rose to the occasion, keeping Clarkson on the perimeter and the defensive corps came up with some key shot-blocks.
With less than seven minutes left in the game, sophomore forward Ondrej Psenicka collared a rebound off a shot by senior forward Jack Malone and flipped it over the shoulder of the goalie. Freshman forward Winter Wallace was awarded the second assist.
Clarkson pulled their goaltender and at 18:02, Malone redirected a mid-air pass into the empty net – our first empty-net-goal at Lynah Rink in a year! Junior forward Kyle Penney and senior defenseman Travis Mitchell received the assists.
The lone Clarkson goal came at 19:38, when a shot from the point clanged off the right post and into the net.
Sophomore goaltender Ian Shane was a stalwart all weekend. On Saturday night, he was tested more than usual, making 22 saves. The Clarkson goalie stopped 19 shots. We were 1-for-8 on the power play and Clarkson was 0-for-3.
In ECAC quarterfinal play, we are now 58-21-3 (.726) all-time and we travel to Lake Placid next weekend for our 39th time in the semifinals. As anticipated, we play #6 Harvard on Friday night in the second game (puck drop 7:32PM). The Crimson advanced by beating Princeton 6-1, both nights. In the opening semifinal on Friday night, #2 Quinnipiac will face Colgate (4:02PM).
Here is a bracket for the ECAC tournament.
• Semifinal 1: Friday, March 17 – 4:02 pm- No. 1 Quinnipiac vs. No. 5 Colgate
• Semifinal 2: Friday, March 17 – 7:32 pm- No. 2 Harvard vs. No. 3 Cornell
Here are some details for the ECAC Tournament in Lake Placid.
Tickets for the ECAC Men’s Championship tournament are here.
Lake Placid Visitors Bureau … a good source for hotels, restaurants, shopping, skiing, directions, etc. Lake Placid is a “hockey town” … you should make the trip … Cornell always has the best fan support at the rink!