ITHACA, N.Y. — One day after Quinnipiac tied St. Lawrence, a member of the MAAC went a step farther, as Sacred Heart defeated Cornell 5-3 — at Lynah Rink, no less — for the first ever win by a school from that conference over a team from one of the so-called “Big Four” conferences.
Eddy Ferhi made 34 saves, including 18 in the third period, to lead Sacred Heart. In a game marked by missed opportunities for Cornell, it was the stellar play of Ferhi and the offensive efficiency of the Pioneers which earned the visitors the win.
Sacred Heart (3-1-1), which is coached by Cornell alumnus Shaun Hannah, got on the scoreboard at 2:46 of the first period as the Red was unable to clear the puck from its zone. Bryan Reilly’s shot from the point was stopped by Cornell goaltender Ian Burt, but Martin Paquet was able to slip the puck under the pads on the rebound.
The Red answered less than two minutes later the Pioneers’ Richard Naumann was whistled for tripping. Just 10 seconds into the man advantage, Mark McRae slid a pass to his twin Matt, who was able to squeeze the puck past Ferhi.
But Matt McRae’s glory was short-lived, for at 12:42 he turned the puck over to Les Hrapchak, who beat Burt high on the glove side.
The second period saw the Pioneers add to their lead, despite the Red (0-1-0) having six power plays and 24 shots, 10 of which were on net.
The lone goal came on the power play, as Lloyd Marks banged home the rebound off a Chris Mokos shot, 15:58 into the period.
In the third period, Cornell seemed to play with a sense of urgency, but it was too little, too late. For every challenge the Red made, the Pioneers had the answer.
Brian McMeekin cut the lead to a goal 9:06 into the final frame, as Sam Paolini found the defenseman wide open in the slot from behind the net. But just over two minutes later, Burt misplayed a puck in the Cornell zone and Sacred Heart was there to capitalize.
Burt went to the boards near the faceoff circle and played the puck around the net to the far point. But Konn Hawkes was there for the Pioneers, and he blasted a slap shot past Burt, who was just returning to the crease.
Cornell refused to lose its home opener for the time in six years without a fight, and at 14:56 Mark McRae put the Red within a goal on a hard shot from the point during four-on-four action.
Just after, Sacred Heart was whistled for a pair of penalties, which gave the home squad the opportunity to tie the match with five-on-three action for 47 seconds. But again it was Ferhi to the rescue, as he stopped a barrage of shots from all angles and distances to preserve the precarious one-goal lead.
Then, with under a minute left in the contest and Burt on the bench in favor of the bench in favor of the extra skater, Marks garnered his second goal of the game to end all doubts of a Red comeback.