ESTERO, Fla. — Peter Metcalf and A.J. Beggs had a goal each as Maine beat Cornell 2-1 to capture the Ned Harkness Cup as champions of the inaugural Everblades College Classic.
The Black Bears were all over the Big Red, as Maine outshot Cornell 33-12 in the contest.
“We were bees on honey tonight. Shots on goal show that,” said Maine head coach Shawn Walsh. “It was the most thorough team effort we’ve had this year. Interestingly enough, we sat out our top offensive player, [Niko] Dimitrakos, because we thought he wasn’t playing hard enough and the team got the message.”
Cornell’s Mark McRae tallied first from Ryan Vesce on the Big Red power play at 3:54 in the first. Maine answered when Metcalf scored from Tom Reimann on a 4-on-3 advantage at 10:07.
The second period was scoreless and uneventful until the buzzer — or until just before the buzzer, depending on your point of view. With time running out, McRae let one rip from the right point, beating Maine netminder Matt Yeats clean as the horn blew. Officials waved off the goal, however, saying the green light had gone on before anyone could think of red.
“It hit the back of the net and then the buzzer goes. It’s not on the whistle, it’s not on the buzzer, it hits the mesh,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer. “Sour grapes. It’s not on the scoreboard, so it’s not a goal.”
Naturally, Walsh had a different take on the call. “Well, the green light went on, so I knew right away they were going to have a hard time justifying it was a goal. The way we were playing, though, the right team won. When you dominate a game like this, you deserve to win, and our kids deserved to win.”
At 3:05 in the third, Beggs made sure the right team won when he stuffed the puck past Cornell goaltender Ian Burt low close to the left post to break the 1-1 tie, the only even-strength goal of the game.
“It was great,” said Walsh. “We kept our streak intact. We’ve won five tournaments in California and now one in Florida. We’re the opposite of the [Tampa Bay] Buccaneers. When the weather gets warm we’re really good.”
Schafer credited the effort of the Black Bears for the outcome of the game. “I thought Maine played extremely well, I thought they played very, very well defensively. After really the first period … they shut us right down through the neutral zone, didn’t give us much room.
“I thought our guys did compete very well tonight, but you can’t take anything away from the University of Maine.”
The All-Tournament Team consisted of forwards Ryan Vesce (Cornell), Don Smith (Clarkson), and Paul Caponigri (Ohio State), defensemen Doug Murray (Cornell) and A.J. Beggs (Maine), and goaltender Matt Yeats (Maine). The tournament Most Valuable Player was Peter Metcalf (Maine).
Maine is now 9-6-4 (4-3-2 HE), while Cornell is 6-4-2 (4-1-1 ECAC).