Red Hot Hockey: The Big Red Escapes MSG with a 3-3 Tie
In the highly anticipated biannual event of Red Hot Hockey, Cornell played Boston University to a 3-3 tie. Fans of the two historic rivals packed Madison Square Garden for the fifth edition of the wildly popular event with 17,154 spectators in attendance. Dating back to its inception in 2007, BU has dominated the series by winning four of the five previous meetings. However, this 2015 matchup was especially heated since it marked the first time that both the Big Red and Terriers were nationally ranked for the event since 2007, as they sit at No. 15 and No. 11, respectively. The game lived up to the high expectations with the evenly matched teams trading blows throughout the game in what Coach Schafer called, “a great night for college hockey.”
Both teams came out of the gate very quickly and played a tight first period. Although neither squad was able to capitalize on their chances, each had many opportunities to score, which included a great shot from BU’s Bobo Carpenter that ricocheted off the crossbar. Despite going into the intermission with no score, Coach Schafer praised his team afterward for setting the tempo and physicality for the remainder of the contest.
Once the puck dropped to begin the second period, it didn’t take long for the Big Red to take control of play, as freshman Anthony Angello scored just two minutes and 16 seconds into the period to put Cornell on top 1-0. The power play goal resulted on a tip off a hard shot from the point by junior Patrick McCarron to give Angello his team leading fifth goal of the season.
Cornell continued its dominant play in the second period when sophomore Trevor Yates put the Big Red up by two after finishing a rebound following a flurry of shots on Terrier goaltender Connor LaCouvee. Although they didn’t follow through on any other chances in the period, momentum clearly favored the Big Red after 40 minutes, much to the delight of the predominantly Cornell supporting crowd.
The third, however, was a completely different scenario, as Boston snagged control of the game. They were able to score all three of their goals in the frame while peppering Big Red junior netminder Mitch Gillam with 16 of their 37 shots in the final period. Carpenter, A.J. Greer, and Jordan Greenway put home the Terrier goals, and a score from Cornell junior Holden Anderson only interrupted the barrage for a short time. Anderson’s goal, a tip in through LaCouvee’s five hole, briefly put the Big Red up 3-2 with slightly under ten minutes to play before Greenway netted the equalizer. The goals by BU broke Gillam’s shutout streak of 213 minutes and 17 seconds, the third longest in program history. Although Cornell was unable to sustain its pressure into the third period, they were successful in preventing more damage and forcing overtime.
The extra period proved to be a similar story as the third, as Boston continued to pressure Gillam and the Big Red defense. Despite a 6-0 shot advantage, the Terriers could not score due in part to a series of key saves by the Cornell goaltender, several crucial blocked shots from the defense, and a strong penalty kill. Although a boarding call against senior Christian Hillbrich, which came only a minute into overtime, put the Big Red at a huge disadvantage, the defense picked up the slack to secure the tie.
Even though the final score will officially be recorded as a tie, the winner of the Kelley-Harkness Cup was decided by a shootout. Boston took care of business in this extra event, as the Terriers converted on three of their four opportunities before LaCouvee stuffed junior Matt Buckles to seal the victory. Despite this disappointing conclusion for Big Red fans, the team still comes away with one point toward its overall record. More importantly, Cornell continues to prove it can play at a high level against competitive opponents, and, although they walked away with a tie, the Big Red dominated play for much of the first two periods against the reigning national runner-ups.