ITHACA, N.Y. — A rough and rowdy battle came to a close on Friday night at Lynah Rink with casualties on both sides, and with Colgate’s 2-0 victory over rival Cornell.
The clash of the central New York travel partners ended with four players disqualified and subject to further suspension. Referee Scott Hansen issued the Big Red’s leading goal-scorer, Matt Moulson, a game misconduct penalty in the second period, but was just warming up.
A later game disqualification was handed out to Byron Bitz following a boarding penalty, and a skirmish in the waning seconds of the game led to DQs being thrown at Cornell’s Ryan O’Byrne, Colgate forward Dave Thomas, and even Colgate netminder Steve Silverthorn.
When the final horn sounded, the two teams had racked up 127 penalty minutes, 71 by the Big Red.
“I was disappointed with the discipline we showed tonight,” said Cornell head coach Mark Schafer. “Going into the game it had to be a part of our game plan. This was the most undisciplined game here in 10 years.”
Colgate’s first goal came as a result of early penalties by the Big Red, as Justin Spencer’s long wrist shot found twine just seconds after a two-man advantage had expired.
“We scored a power-play goal, albeit not a designed one,” said Colgate head coach Stan Moore. “Spence just threw it at the net and it went in.”
Cornell (8-6-6, 6-4-3 ECAC) continued to play on its heels, providing the visitors with eight power plays, including two five-minute major opportunities.
“You can’t take a penalty to go five-on-three,” Schafer said. “Even freshmen should have no excuses. As I said before, it’s the little things in games.”
Cornell’s remedy for its parade to the box came in the form of goaltender David McKee. The freshman, who boasts a paltry 1.91 goals against average and impressive .920 save percentage, continually kept his team close to Raiders.
The Irving, Texas, native dropped jaws on more than one occasion, including sprawling to block a post-to-post tap-in by Colgate’s Kyle Doyle.
“When you kill penalties the goalie has to be the best penalty killer, and he was tonight,” said Schafer.
Colgate (14-8-3, 9-4-0) managed to cash in on a Big Red defensive error two minutes after its initial goal, however. Adam Mitchell found a misplayed puck at his skates late in the first period and buried it past McKee to score what proved to be the game’s final tally.
The Raiders never looked back from their 2-0 lead.
“We played a heavy forecheck and our guy was in the right place at the right time,” said Moore of Mitchell’s 10th goal of the year.
Silverthorn played strong in net, but was rarely tested. The junior, whose 1.88 GAA trails only Yann Danis in the ECAC, seemed well on his way to his second career shutout with less than ten seconds remaining in the contest.
But an all-out brawl led to flying fists, gloves, and helmets, and when Silverthorn introduced his blocker to the facemask of O’Byrne, who was tangling with Thomas in front of the Colgate crease, Hansen decided he had seen enough.
Moore refused to comment on the scrap and subsequent penalties, and may be forced to dress a single goaltender, David Cann, against the Big Red on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Schafer could only express his disgust at the conduct on the ice.
“For our guys to take their frustration out at the end of the game was embarrassing for the program,” he said.
Cornell is now 2-5-5 at home this season after posting a perfect 15-0-0 record at Lynah during its run to the Frozen Four last year. Schafer examined the pressure that such struggles have put on his players, but did not use it as an excuse for the game’s disturbing ending.
“There was a lot of pressure to win at home,” he said. “But when you have to kill 24 minutes of penalties, that’s a lot of pressure too.”
With the victory the Raiders piled on to their impressive play of late, having won five league games in a row and compiling a 10-3-1 record in their last 14 games.
Their penalties may leave them without their top goaltender on Saturday, however, and they will have to gear up against a Cornell team hungry for revenge. As far as Moore is concerned, he’s ready for the challenge.
“I’d like to play right now,” he said. “I’d resurface the ice and play right now.”