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Cornell Comeback Not Enough in 3-2 Loss at Dartmouth

After quickly falling behind 2-0, things looked bleak for the Cornell hockey team. However, a quick comeback tied the game, but in the end, the Big Red (10-9-3, 8-8-1 ECAC) couldn’t close the deal, losing 3-2 to the Dartmouth Big Green (12-8-4, 9-6-2 ECAC) Friday night at Thompson Arena in Hanover, NH.

The Big Green hit an early groove, scoring their first goal within 20 seconds of taking the ice, after a defensive zone turnover left Brad Schierhorn open in the slot. The Big Red seemed rattled then, letting in its second goal within the first ten minutes when a scramble in front of the net ended with Troy Crema knocking it in. After these two goals, Cornell’s defense clenched down, limiting Dartmouth’s attack. With the newfound defensive strength, Cornell’s offense was able to strike back.

After several infractions, the Big Green’s penalty box held two players. Eric Neiley was the first to go in for interference at 9:10, and then, 31 seconds later, Charlie Mosey joined him for high sticking. Eight seconds into this five-on-three, Cole Bardreau took advantage of their absence, finally putting Cornell on the board. Jake Weidner passed it up to Joakim Ryan at the center point; he tapped it to Bardreau, who took a high shot past goalie James Kruger’s blocker for his fourth goal of the season.

The Red tried to capitalize on their new momentum with limited success. Matt Buckles had a promising breakaway a few minutes after the goal, but wasn’t able to control the puck. Finally, 15:13 into the first, Ryan was able to score his first goal after returning from his injury-induced hiatus. Bardreau effectively eluded his defender and delivered the puck to Ryan via a crisp back-handed pass. Ryan’s shot slipped through traffic and under Kruger’s blocker to tie the score. However, this quick spurt would be all the Big Red could muster up versus Kruger, who stopped 21 of 23 shots.

Cornell’s penalty kill defined the second period, with the Big Red left short-handed four times. However, they managed to stave off the Big Green’s power play. Mitch Gillam, who finished with 26 saves on 29 shots, made some spectacular stops, earning his title of national leader in goals-against average and save percentage and keeping the visitors in the game.

The first half of the third period was uneventful, as neither team generated any scoring opportunities. However, Dartmouth forward Eric Neiley ended the scoring dry spell, putting the Big Green ahead 12:01 minutes into the last period. A Cornell defender tried to dive for the puck in an attempted clear, leaving the senior assistant captain open in the slot. This was especially irritating for the Big Red fans who still remember the last time these two teams met in Hanover, a meeting where Neiley laid a vicious cheap shot to the back of Cole Bardreau’s head after the final buzzer. Dartmouth killed off one last power play with just over three minutes to go, and held off Cornell’s extra-attacker last effort to clinch the game.

Cornell will be back in action tomorrow, as they take on the Harvard Crimson at Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge, MA.

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