TROY, N.Y. — The Cornell Big Red scored twice in the second period to take a 3-2 lead, then hung on to defeat the Rensselaer Engineers on Saturday night for their first win of the season.
The Big Red were playing with only 11 forwards due to injury and two game disqualifications given out the night before at Union.
“We faced a lot of adversity,” said Big Red head coach Mike Schafer. “We have guys that have never played right wing in their lives and all the guys played different positions tonight.
“Depth is one of our games, but we had to go without it tonight.”
“They slowed the game down and we knew exactly what we were going to get, no matter if there were three guys or you got the full team,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. “They’ve come in here before shorthanded, and I don’t know if it was a mental lapse but [only] some of our guys came to play, and the difference was in the third period when we couldn’t put the puck in the net.”
The Engineers got out to a 1-0 lead within the first minute of the game as Eric Cavosie sent a puck towards the slot from the right-wing boards. Marc Cavosie got his stick on it and it just snuck past Big Red goaltender Chris Gartman into the net.
The Big Red came back five minutes later and tied the game. David Kozier sent a puck towards Engineer goaltender Nathan Marsters which got between his legs and into the net.
“Our first goal was not a great goal for us to get, as far as the type of goaltender that we’ve been facing,” said Schafer. “So when it went through the kid it broke the ice for us, and it was a sigh of relief from the bench.”
That relief was short-lived as Dan Svoboda was called for hitting from behind and received a game misconduct. That put the Engineers on a five-minute major and the Big Red short one more forward, leaving them with just 10.
It took the Engineers over four minutes to score on the major. Defenseman Steve Munn took the puck deep and dropped it off for Ryan Shields, and Shields returned the puck to Munn, who had skated around the net to the right post. Munn tapped it past Gartman for the goal.
The Engineers only scored once, and in all only took advantage of one of the eight power plays they had on the evening.
“They did a real good job of taking away the shooting lanes,” said Fridgen of the Cornell penalty kill. “When you look at how many shots they blocked I thought they did a real good job of taking away the slot shots and bottling up the middle of the ice so we couldn’t get the puck on the net. We had some good opportunities when we were down low, but we got nothing from up top.”
In the second period the Big Red tied it 2:03 in. Scott Krahn got away from a corner scrum with the puck and hit a pinching Brian McMeekin. McMeekin just tipped it through Marsters’ legs to tie the game.
13:47 later the Big Red took the lead as Sam Paolini ventured into the slot and tipped a puck past Marsters.
The Big Red held on to the one-goal lead for the rest of the game.
“Guys got a little complacent and things were definitely going our way, and it went to our heads a little bit,” said Engineer captain Munn. “We took the second period off and it cost us. You can’t win a game playing a period and a half of hockey.”
“Take away the second period and I thought we played a pretty good game,” said Fridgen. “We played an average first, but we did a real good job in the third. We just couldn’t put it in the net.”
The Engineers (3-3-0, 1-2-0 ECAC) will host UMass-Amherst next Saturday, while the Big Red (1-2-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) will host Harvard and Brown next weekend.
“It was just a really good win for us,” said Schafer. “We’ve been struggling for goals and we had some good chances tonight. We didn’t have a lot of shots but we had a lot of quality chances.”