BURLINGTON, Vt. — It took almost 30 minutes for Cornell to score on Vermont, but it turned out to be all the Big Red would need in a 1-0 decision at sold-out Gutterson Fieldhouse Saturday.
Sophomore defenseman John Gleed tallied the second goal of his career at 9:31 of the second period, and Cornell used its trademark defensive system and physical play, to limit the Vermont offensive chances.
Vermont goaltender Travis Russell kept the Cats in it all night long, finishing with 32 saves — many spectacular.
“A one-nothing game, I couldn’t believe it was that close up to the very end,” said Cornell coach Mike Schafer. “Give kudos to their goaltender. He played real well at Lynah. I thought he played great again here tonight.”
The Big Red held the Catamounts to a single-digit shot total — nine — in recording its second consecutive shutout of Vermont. The first came January 23, a 2-0 victory at Lynah Rink.
“They are a tough team to play against,” said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon. “You’ve gotta give them a lot of credit for the way they play. To hold a team to nine shots on goal, both on our power play and five-on-five, you deserve to win.”
Cornell has now defeated the Cats nine straight times, with Vermont’s last win in the series coming in Ithaca in the 1988-99 campaign.
In the first period, Cornell (10-7-6, 8-5-3 ECAC) had a huge territorial advantage. Russell stood tall, making 17 saves in the frame. First, at 15:13 on the power play, Matt Moulson walked in from the point and snapped a shot that Russell got with the glove.
Then, courtesy of a Phil Youngclaus tripping minor, Cornell had a five-on three advantage of over a minute. Russell denied the Big Red with a handful of key stops.
UVM was then awarded a two-man chance of its own. Chris Myers rang a shot off the post to the right of Cornell’s David McKee midway through the period.
Later, Charlie Cook snapped a shot from the point. Russell stopped it with his pad, but allowed a big rebound onto the stick of Shane Hynes. He had multiple whacks at the puck, but to no avail.
In the final minutes of the first, Cam Abbott went in alone on Russell with a shorthanded bid. Abbott made a move, but Russell shut the door, going into the splits to keep the puck out.
Half way through the second period, Gleed scored the game-winner from Abbott and Greg Hornby. A great piece of puck possession in the Vermont zone created the goal.
In the left-wing corner. Cornell cycled the puck on the left side, until it got a Vermont defender out of position. When the Cats shifted to cover, the puck was on the stick of Gleed in the slot, He lifted it up and over Russell’s glove.
Less than two minutes later, Vermont nearly found the back of the net. Jeff Miles carried the puck over the blue line and hit a streaking Brady Leisenring in stride. Leisenring got a low shot away on a one-timer but was pulled down from behind by a backchecking Ben Wallace. He and Vermont’s leading scorer slid into the net, knocking it off its mooring.
Vermont did little with the ensuing power play.
Vermont (4-19-4, 2-13-1 ECAC) didn’t get much of a look at the net in the rest of the period or the game. Through two periods Cornell held a 26-8 advantage in shots on goal.
In the third period, Russell made another big stop on Moulson with 8:17 remaining to keep Vermont breathing. Vermont got a power play with 2:18 to go in regulation on a Gleed obstruction-interference call. After using their timeout, the Cats couldn’t generate a push for the equalizer, as Cornell killed the penalty easily.
UVM went 0-for-12 with the man advantage on the weekend, going scoreless in seven opportunities Saturday.
“I thought our guys played real gritty tonight,” Sneddon said. “We handled their size for most of the game, Travis played outstanding in net for us.
“We have got to build from the positives. What I told the guys is defensively we need that kind of effort … all the time now. We’ve got to spend more time with the power play and offensive skills if we’re going to do anything down the stretch.”