Breaking Down Men’s Hockey’s Four Point Weekend, Goal By Goal
After a wildly successful start to their season, the Cornell men’s hockey team hoped to continue their success against both St. Lawrence and Clarkson. St. Lawrence was ranked #13 as of Friday night’s game, and Clarkson is currently unranked. Well, they continued that success. They won by respective scores of 2-1 and 5-2, and they pushed their point total in ECAC play to 13; they’re just one point behind first place Quinnipiac, the only team that has beaten them this season. Let’s break down the goals that brought us to this point. Cornell Athletics highlights, where these GIF’s came from, can be found here and here.
The first goal of play against St. Lawrence came just two minutes and ten seconds into the game, as Teemu Tiitinen took it himself along the left side and then tipped it in past Kyle Hayton’s right side as he slid through the defense.
The second goal came off of yet another opportunity in transition, as Jake Weidner took the puck up to the center of the right circle, and then fired a perfect shot that clanked around the side of the post.
The goal that cut St. Lawrence’s deficit in half was a shot off the stick of Gavin Bayreuther, one of the top points scorers on the team, who sent a slap shot, back from the blue line, through the Cornell defense and past goalie Mitch Gillam. Gillam immediately knew he made a mistake.
That would be the end of the goal scoring, and Cornell was able to lock down in the third period to prevent an equalizer. St. Lawrence was able to get one shot reviewed and ruled no goal, and then Ryan Lough got a penalty shot (due to Ryan Bliss stopping the goal with his hands inside the crease), and Gillam made a clutch save. Some key defensive moments also kept the score: Trevor Yates dove into a wide open right side of the net as Bayreuther made a shot, and it deflected the puck away. The Big Red then wound down the clock to finish off the third period.
Just like in the game against St. Lawrence, Cornell once again scored in the first ten minutes in the game. Eric Freschi took the puck all the way around the net to find an open forward, and he found John Knisley waiting in the left circle, and he sent a shot past Aaron Thow and Greg Lewis for the score.
Clarkson equalized at 10:14 into the first period, as Sam Vigneault, off a beautiful feed from AJ Fossen, slapped the puck past Gillam’s open right side.
Christian Hilbrich, on Cornell’s second goal, did what he does best: Alec McCrea sent a pass right in front of the net, and Hilbrich was waiting and tipped the puck into the right corner of the net. This would be the first of three points for McCrea in the game.
With just 0.4 seconds left in the second period, Anthony Angello took the puck off the foot of Kelly Summers for the breakaway, and then took it all the way to the net for the score. The play was reviewed, but the officials found that it indeed crossed the line before the buzzer.
This goal was McCrea’s second point, and the first goal of his college career. After receiving a pass from Jeff Kubiak in the right corner, McCrea took a shot from the right point all the way at the blue line for the goal.
After both John Knisley and Sam Vigneault were dropped in the penalty box for roughing calls, four-on-four play took place. Once again, McCrea took the puck at the right point for a long slap shot, and this time Mitch Vanderlaan was near the net so he could tip the shot in for the goal.
Clarkson got a goal of their own on the four-on-four, as a nice maneuver from Troy Josephs set up a shot in between the circles, and then Christian Powers tipped the puck in when it got past Gillam’s reach.
With a 5-2 lead under their belt, Cornell slowly wound down the clock in the third period. Even though Clarkson had quite a few more shots and even some more quality possessions and power plays, Cornell took advantage of the opportunities they did get, scoring five goals on just fifteen shots. Cornell goes to 8-1-2 overall and 6-1-1 in ECAC play, and one has to imagine that another jump in the national rankings is inevitable.