ESTERO, Fla. — Freshman goaltender David McKee stopped 27 Notre Dame shots to record his second consecutive shutout as the 15th-ranked Cornell Big Red blanked Notre Dame 4-0 Saturday afternoon in the first game of the Everblades College Hockey Classic.
McKee, who stymied Harvard, 1-0 on Dec. 6, now has three shutouts in his rookie season. He got all the offensive support he would need from junior Mike Knoepfli (two goals, one assist) and sophomore Daniel Pegoraro (a goal and an assist).
The loss extends Notre Dame’s losing streak to a season-high three games and drops the Irish to 8-6-2 on the year. Cornell improves to 5-2-5 for the season. Cornell’s win over Notre Dame was its first ever — Notre Dame owned a 3-0 all-time record versus Cornell coming in.
“We have to learn how to score goals when we get the chances,” said Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin.
“I liked our energy, especially in the second period when we played like we have most of the season. We were making smart decisions with the puck, finishing checks, moving the puck. We had our chances to score but didn’t capitalize on them.”
Coming off a 21-day break that saw neither team play competitively since Dec.6, the first period got off to a sluggish start before Cornell used the power play to take a 1-0 lead at 8:51 of the opening stanza.
Knoepfli got his first goal of the night when he pounced on the rebound of a Matt Moulson shot and lifted it over David Brown for his second goal of the season.
Despite being outshot 10-5 in the opening period, the Irish had several quality chances as Tim Wallace and Mike Walsh rang shots off the post on power plays.
The Irish found their legs in the second period and took the play to Cornell, outshooting the Big Red, 14-7 in the period, but could not dent McKee.
Meanwhile, Cornell upped its lead to 2-0 with another power-play goal at 16:47 of the second period. This time, center Chris Abbott did the honors after Brown stopped Pegoraro in close. Brown was run over in the crease and Abbott had time to move across the front of the goal and fire the puck over the freshman goaltender for his second goal of the year.
Cornell sealed the win at 6:21 of the third when Knoepfli’s shot from the right-wing circle deflected off an Irish defenseman over Brown’s left shoulder and under the crossbar for his second of the night.
Pegoraro closed the scoring at 9:20 when he scored his first of the season, beating Brown low to the ice from between the hash marks for the final score of 4-0.
The Irish finished the night 0-for-6 on the power play while Cornell converted 2 of 6 chances. Notre Dame outshot Cornell 27-22.