@CORNELL 5, St. Lawrence 0 | @CORNELL 5, Clarkson 1
As I said last week, four-point weekends are great fun and extremely productive. So, its a great weekend for our players when we finish the regular season on a nine-game win streak (23-2-4, 18-2-2 ECAC), which is the longest in Division I hockey. On Friday night, we took care of business over a scrappy St. Lawrence team. With the victory and Clarkson tying at Colgate, we clinched the Cleary Cup for a third straight year; a first in program history. The players were extremely happy in the locker room but you still had that feeling that they knew they weren’t finished!
We scored first against the Saints, just 1:49 into the game. Sophomore forward Max Andreev took freshman forward Jack Malone’s feed and had a point-blank shot that was initially saved but the rebound jumped in off Max’s skate. The visitors battled back for the rest of the period with the shots-on-goal even at 7-all.
We took control in the second period. Sophomore forward Michael Regush scored his 10th goal of the year on a wraparound at 5:35, becoming just the fifth player at Cornell to score double-digit goals in both his freshman and sophomore seasons since the turn of the century. (I guess I didn’t play in this century!) Just 88 seconds later, sophomore defenseman Joe Leahy made the score 3-0 with a shot from the point. St. Lawrence had a couple of excellent scoring chances in the second period but junior goaltender Matthew Galajda was stellar in the goal.
In the third period, we scored a pair of power-play goals. At 8:13, freshman defenseman Sam Malinski tallied his fifth goal of the season and with 1:37 remaining, freshman forward Matt Stienburg, last week’s ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week, converted a rebound for his fifth goal to round out the scoring. Neither Matt nor Joe get much time on the power play but this night they did an excellent job executing what we practice.
Galajda made 19 saves for his third consecutive shutout and is now tied with Ben Scrivens ’10 for career shutouts with 19. Matt’s shutout streak is now 197 minutes, 21 seconds since February 15th, when he allowed a goal during the third period at Rensselaer. The St. Lawrence goaltender made 26 saves. We were 2-for-5 on the power play and the Saints were 0-for-2.
With a Colgate/Clarkson tie on Friday night that secured the Cleary Cup, you would think the Saturday night contest would not be as important but the team still considered it a big game. They came out hard, played with intensity, and started playing “playoff hockey” before a sold out Lynah Rink on Senior Night.
Clarkson scored first with a power-play goal at 5:25 of the opening period, ending Matty’s shutout streak at 202:50, which is the second-longest of his collegiate career and the sixth-longest in program history. It was the Golden Knights last score as we ran off five consecutive goals.
The first period was played at a ferocious pace and was enjoyed by the packed house. Still in the first period, we took the lead for good with a pair of power-play goals at 8:39 and 14:44. The first score came off the stick of freshman forward Ben Berard who went on to enjoy a career night with a hat trick, our second of the year. Ben didn’t play on Friday night because we thought he wasn’t working hard enough and we took him out of the lineup. He responded exactly how you would want a good player to respond! He worked hard, he was around the net, he created good scoring chances. The second power-play goal of the period was scored by junior forward Tristan Mullin who leads the team with seven power-play goals. We closed out the month of February with 21 first-period goals over nine games … by far the most in the country.
After a scoreless second period with plenty of shooting (we led 14-10 on shots-on-goal), Berard scored at 8:05 of the third period, converting a rebound of a shot by junior defenseman Cody Haiskanen to make it 3-1. Regush gave us a 4-1 margin with 3:59 remaining.
A major penalty put us on the power play for the last 2:57 of the game. We took advantage of this opportunity to use some players who normally wouldn’t see any ice time in this type of situation. We did leave Ben on the ice with the chance of getting his hat trick. We put him right in front of the Clarkson goal, and it worked. Freshman defenseman Travis Mitchell send a perfect goal-mouth pass to Ben and he did the rest for a 5-1 victory. The score ended up looking one-sided but it was a hard competitive game.
Galajda made 25 saves, including 10 in the second period, while the Clarkson net-minder stopped 31 shots. We were 3-for-7 on the power play and they were 1-for-5.
The power play against Clarkson showed a lot of poise and we didn’t rush things. They waited and we were more patient on the extra man, which we didn’t do very well on the power play on Friday night. We came out on Saturday with our heads up and just moved pucks and found lanes that were going to open things up. And that’s hard against Clarkson. They’re a really good penalty-killing hockey team.
By winning the regular season title, we get a bye for the first round of the playoffs. Now the real fun begins! ECAC quarterfinals will be played right here at Lynah Rink in a best-of-three series on March 13-15. Buy your tickets early because the Lynah Faithful will be in full force.