NEW HAVEN, Conn. — In a thrilling, physical struggle in front of 3,486 energized fans at Ingalls Rink, the No. 9 Cornell Big Red and the Yale Bulldogs skated to a 1-1 tie, thanks in large part to the efforts of both netminders.
Yale goalie Dan Lombard made 26 saves, earning him the ECAC first star of the game, while Cornell’s Matt Underhill stopped 23 shots. The play of both goaltenders seemed to escalate as the game progressed, as the game was scoreless for the final 56:20.
“That was just a great college hockey game,” Yale head coach Tim Taylor said. “They are a very good team, and I am very proud that we held them to one goal. We played a great game defensively. Of course, Dan Lombard was immense.”
It took Cornell only 25 seconds to get on the board. After Lombard made a tough save on a shot from the point by Doug Murray, the rebound caromed right to Matt McRae, who fired a one-timer from between the circles to give Cornell an early lead.
“Cornell plays in waves,” Lombard said. “They feed off of their own offensive chances, and [after the goal] I just told myself to stop the next one and try to control the tempo.”
And that’s exactly what he did. But unfortunately for Lombard and the Bulldogs, the Elis could only muster one goal against Underhill and the Big Red. That came 8:40 into the first, 42 seconds into a Yale power play, when Chris Higgins fired a low wrister from outside the right point that went past Underhill’s glove-side.
Neither side would light the lamp again, thanks in part to a controversial call by the officiating crew. Luke Earl broke in on Underhill and backhanded the puck past him. But Earl was pushed into the net almost simultaneously to the shot, dislodging the net. The officials ruled the net moved before the puck crossed the goal line at 2:17, although it appeared that the puck crossed the line before the net came off its moorings.
“I thought it went straight in,” Earl said. “I was getting pushed into the net by a defender, but I thought it was in. That’s just tough luck. But we had other chances to score.”
And much of the credit for Yale’s inability to convert those opportunities goes to Underhill. Just over a minute before the Earl non-goal, Deschenes put a point blank shot on net that the Big Red senior goaltender kick-saved to keep the Elis at bay.
Yale opened the third period with 1:04 of a man advantage that carried over from the second stanza, when Big Red captain Stephen Baby was penalized for hitting after the whistle. Cornell successfully killed the penalty, and Yale was only able to generate one shot during the power play.
Cornell then had its best chance came with 1:55 left in the third when Mike Iggulden fired an unobstructed 15-footer that Lombard swatted away.
Each squad attempted two shots in overtime, but, as was the story for the final 56:20 of the game, both goalies were up to the task.
Cornell travels to Princeton Saturday, while Yale hosts Colgate.