ITHACA, N.Y. — For the second straight night, Cornell used a big second period to take control of the game, and go on to another three-goal victory. This time, the victim was St. Lawrence, as the No. 4-ranked Big Red won their sixth straight, 5-2, at Lynah Rink and finished a 4-0 sweep of their North Country foes for the first time since 1969-70.
Tied 2-2 after one, Cornell outshot the Saints 17-5 in the second period, and scored twice, each time using its dominant forecheck to set up plays in front.
Matt McRae gave Cornell the lead, taking a pass from Shane Hynes out of the right-wing corner.
A few minutes later, Hynes did it himself, towards the end of a hard-working shift, as he put a backhander past embattled St. Lawrence goalie Kevin Ackley.
Sam Paolini, the third player on that line, added a goal of his own in the third period, knocking in a rebound on the third try while planting himself at the top of the crease. The Paolini-McRae-Hynes line combined for eight points and the last three goals.
St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh replaced Ackley with Mike McKenna for the last nine minutes, then pulled the goalie with three minutes left, to try and give his young team some positives to play for. However a too many men on the ice penalty spoiled the opportunity. Cornell finished 0-for-5 on the power play, despite numerous solid opportunities.
Cornell came out flying, and scored within the first three minutes, as Ryan Vesce buried a loose puck in the slot for his 12th goal of the season. On the play, captain Stephen Baby notched the 100th point of his career.
But the Saints struck right back, getting an early power play and taking advantage. Cornell goalie Dave LeNeveu was screened at the last second on a long shot from the point by Jim Lorentz.
Cornell got the lead right back on a wraparound by Matt Moulson, the freshman’s seventh of the season. But again, St. Lawrence responded, as Jim Dupuis’ long slapper from the left-wing boards beat LeNeveu.
The Big Red have won six straight games for the second time this season, and with 22 points in just 12 league games, have finally caught idle Harvard for first place with two games still in hand.
Those two games will come this week against travel partner Colgate, on Thursday in Hamilton, N.Y. (7 p.m.), and Saturday back at Lynah Rink. St. Lawrence hosts RPI and Union on Friday and Saturday, respectively.