TROY, N.Y. — Cornell scored two goals in the first period and three in the second to jump out to a 5-0 lead and cruised to victory over Rensselaer in ECAC Hockey League action Saturday night at Houston Field House.
Sophomore goalie David McKee made 13 saves to earn his third shutout of the year and eighth of his career. Junior Shane Hynes paced the Cornell (11-4-2, 7-2-1 ECACHL) offense with a goal and two assists, while sophomore Byron Bitz tallied two assists and four other skaters netted goals.
During the first period, neither side could get a clear look at the net, as Cornell blocked six shots to Rensselaer’s four. McKee faced only three shots and stopped them all, while Engineers’ freshman Jordan Alford made five saves and allowed two goals.
Cornell got on the board first for the first time since the Dec. 29 game against Maine when junior Daniel Pegoraro and freshman Topher Scott combined for a first-period marker. Scott brought the puck down the right side during a 2-on-1 and passed to Pegoraro, who was trailing through the slot. Pegoraro faked left and went right for his fourth goal of the season at the 6:23 mark of the first period.
The Big Red turned over the puck coming out of its own end with less than 30 seconds to play in the period, but as Rensselaer skated in, it was poked away by senior assistant captain Charlie Cook. Cook passed the puck ahead to Hynes, who skated down the right side and dropped it back to Cook just inside the blue line. Cook then unleashed a slap shot from the right circle to score with seven seconds left before the first intermission.
The Cornell penalty kill continued to frustrate the opposition in the second period when the Big Red was whistled for three penalties in 1:53. Despite skating 5-on-3 for an extended period, the Engineers were kept off the board, running the Big Red’s string of opponent penalties killed to 21.
Cornell extended its lead to 3-0 when senior Mike Iggulden passed the puck from behind the goal to sophomore Mitch Carefoot, who beat RPI senior Andrew Martin for his third goal of the year. Martin took over between the pipes at the beginning of the frame.
The Engineers were whistled for a holding penalty at the 11:57 mark of the second, giving the Big Red its second power play of the contest. Just 14 seconds later, senior Mike Knoepfli lit the lamp from point-blank range. Assisting on the play were Hynes and Bitz.
Cornell added the final goal of the period while skating with a 5-on-3 advantage at the 19:57 mark. Hynes was camped out in front of the crease and converted a pass from junior Matt Moulson. Bitz also assisted.
The Engineers’ best chance to score came in the fifth minute of the third period when freshman Jake Morissette hit the post over McKee’s left shoulder and was denied from the left circle within 30 seconds. McKee also made a nice kick save on junior Kevin Croxton a minute later. On a Rensselaer 4-on-3 situation with 5:33 remaining, Croxton got an uncontested look against McKee from just outside the crease, but McKee denied him again.
Cornell finished 2-for-6 on the power play, while holding RPI at 0-for-10. The Big Red has now successfully killed 26 consecutive opponent power plays.