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Ryan Bliss OT Goal Stuns Colgate 2-1

For the second straight week, a game that began with students throwing objects onto the ice ended in an exciting Cornell victory.

After Colgate students showered Cornell players with Big Red chewing gum during the introductions, Ryan Bliss sent the sellout crowd home disappointed. The freshman banked in a shot off a Colgate defender less than a minute into overtime, giving the Big Red (9-9-2, 6-6 ECAC) an exciting 2-1 comeback victory over #19 Colgate (14-9-2, 6-4-2 ECAC) at Starr Rink in Hamilton, NY. This win came after’s last Friday’s memorable 3-2 win vs. Harvard, when the traditional fish throwing was capped off with Eric Freschi’s game-winning goal with 40 seconds left.

The ending was highly disappointing for a Colgate team who dominated the majority of the game. Known for their speedy and aggressive skaters, they quickly put pressure on Cornell. The Big Red had very few scoring opportunities in the opening period, as they were outshot 10-5. However, the superior play of sophomore goalie Mitch Gillam, who finished with 20 saves on 21 shots, kept the game scoreless after the first, even with the Raiders skating circles around the Cornell skaters for most of the period. Their aggressiveness and speed paid off shortly into the second period, when Kyle Baun found Tylor Spink streaking towards the goal. The junior center then flipped the puck past Gillam to give Colgate a 1-0 lead 51 seconds into the middle frame.

However, spurred on by a large contingent of Cornell fans, the Big Red responded, as they started to take control of the game. Even though the second period ended 1-0, they outshot the home team 9-7, and were mostly shutting down the explosive Colgate attack. Cornell also once again didn’t allow a power play goal, killing off both Raider man-advantages, while escaping four 4-on-4’s unscathed, a mighty feet given the advantage faster teams have on 4-on-4’s.

Even though the Big Red entered the game 0-8 when trailing after two periods, they again outplayed Colgate in the third period. They not only outshot Colgate 11-4, but they controlled the puck for much of the frame, something they were completely unable to do for the first half of the game. After outskating Cornell for much of the first two periods, the Raiders seemed worn down by the physical play of the Big Red, and were beaten to many pucks in the last period. Cornell’s improved play finally showed up on the scoreboard at 5:06 of the period, when Teemu Tiitinen found a streaking John Knisley in front for an easy tap-in, tying the game 1-1. The teams then skated scoreless for the rest of regulation, sending the game into overtime, only the third time Cornell has needed an extra frame this season

However, it wouldn’t last long. Unlike the start of the game, Cornell immediately took charge. Less than a minute in, Joakim Ryan sent the puck into the offensive zone, and was controlled by Kubiak around the net, and then sent to Ryan Bliss on the right circle. His shot appeared to bank off a Colgate defender, with Trevor Yates and Matt Buckles creating traffic in front of the net, sending the team streaming onto the ice, and setting off a raucous celebration from the Big Red Pep Band and the Cornell contingent who made the trek from Ithaca.

The two teams will complete their home-and-home series tomorrow night at Lynah Rink at 7 pm.

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