ITHACA, N.Y. — Despite surrendering a goal only 43 seconds into the game against Vermont, Cornell used a run of four consecutive goals to defeat the Catamounts, 5-2, at Lynah Rink on Saturday night.
After a miserable road trip that saw the Red fall to both Princeton and Yale last weekend, Cornell lifted itself back into the thick of the ECAC championship hunt by taking three of four points this weekend. It now stands in third place with 23 points, a point behind Clarkson and two below league-leading St. Lawrence.
Junior Denis Ladouceur — whose scoring has been atypically down this season on account of injuries — paced the Red with two goals and an assist, while Mark McRae added a goal and an assist.
The affair began with a rude eye-opener for Cornell, when Vermont was able to beat junior netminder Matt Underhill on its first shot. Mike Torney stormed the Red’s zone, along with John Longo, on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Torney fired a shot that flew past Underhill’s left shoulder, giving the Catamounts an early advantage less than a minute in.
“They didn’t get down,” Cornell head coach Mike Schafer said of his team’s reaction to the score.
Though obviously stunned by the score, Cornell countered at the 8:11 mark while on the power play. Sam Paolini was able to hammer home a rebound past Vermont goalie Shawn Conschafter to tie the contest at 1-1.
“The first goal was just a great feed from Ryan Vesce,” Schafer said.
Just two minutes later, Mark McRae added a goal of his own, giving the Red a 2-1 lead that it would take into the first intermission.
Underhill preserved the Red’s cushion, making 10 saves in the opening period. A little under five minutes before intermission, he faced a breakaway against a pair of Catamounts, but forced Jeff Miles to shoot well above the net.
“[Underhill's] making the right save at the right time,” Schafer said.
Though it appeared dazed and confused after Vermont’s first goal, Cornell’s offense took control of the game afterwards, particularly during a second period that it dominated.
Ladouceur opened the middle period with a tally to make it 3-1 in favor of Cornell. A pass from Dab Svoboda struck Ladouceur in the skate, however, he deftly scooped it up and flicked it past Conschafter at 3:15.
At 8:30, Ladouceur struck again. On the man advantage, defenseman Larry Pierce took a long shot from the blue line, only to have it pop out of Conschafter’s glove, jump in the air and land on Laduouceur’s lap at the goal line. Ladouceur sticked it in to make it 4-1.
“There seems to be a bit of chemistry between [Ladouceur, Svoboda and Matt McRae],” Schafer said of one of his top lines.
Vermont finally reeled one back at 19:07 of the second, when a slapper from Oriel McHugh sailed through traffic and between Underhill’s pads.
But only 39 seconds later, freshman defenseman Ben Wallace scored for the first time in his young Cornell career on a rocket from the blue line.
“Our defense got the puck down to the net and it created more offense for our forwards,’ Schafer said.
Vermont pulled Conschafter and put Andrew Allen in his place for the third period.
“We had good solid effort for 60 minutes,” Schafer said. “It was about time to turn a corner on the season.”
Next weekend, Cornell visits St. Lawrence and Clarkson, while Vermont will travel to Yale and Princeton.