NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Raymond Sawada’s power-play goal with 5:03 gone by in the third period put No. 4 Cornell ahead for good, as the Big Red topped ECACHL rival Yale, 4-2 in an intense, penalty-filled battle at Ingalls Rink.
“It was an ugly game,” said Cornell assistant coach Brent Brekke, who served as head coach for the night as head coach Mike Schafer served a one-game suspension imposed by the ECACHL for physical contact with a Michigan State player following last Saturday’s game.
“We didn’t stick to the game plan for a full 60 minutes. We got away from what we wanted to do, and discipline was something we talked about. It cost us last week, and we addressed it in certain areas, but not all areas.”
“I was very pleased,” Yale coach Tim Taylor said of his team’s effort. “I told them all after the game that I was proud to be on the bench with a team that competed that hard. We didn’t over-respect Cornell, and we didn’t under-respect them. We knew what we were in for, but obviously, we’ve got to find a way to stay out of the penalty box.”
With the score knotted 2-2 during a third period power-play for the Big Red, Sawada took a pass in the slat from teammate Daniel Pegoraro and one-timed it over the left shoulder of Yale goalkeeper Josh Gartner.
The goal gave Cornell its third and final lead of the night, as the Big Red pulled away from a Bulldog team that played even with its highly-touted rivals all night long.
Cornell struck first with 4:16 gone, as junior defenseman lifted a wrist shot from just inside the blue line that sailed over Yale goalkeeper Josh Gartner’s left shoulder and into the back of the net.
Yale tied it up on a power-play goal with 7:05 to go in the period, as senior Nate Jackson came around from behind the net and lifted a shot with his backhand that found the back of the net.
Cornell retook the lead on a shorthanded goal by Mitch Carefoot with 3:12 left in the contest. Gartner had made a partial save on the wrister to his glove side, but the puck had enough momentum to trickle over the goal line. The man-down tally gave Cornell a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Yale equalized early in the second, as Brad Mills swooped in on a loose rebound in the crease and roofed it over a fallen McKee. The goal energized the Bulldogs, who went on to outshoot Cornell 9-8 in the middle frame.
“That was a great second period for us,” Taylor said. “There was so much flow. I thought the second period was the hardest period of hockey I’ve seen Yale play in a long time.”
The early portion of the third period was highlighted by Sawada’s go-ahead goal, but the action of the game’s final minute sent fans home with a much different impression.
After Mark McCutcheon found the empty net with 1:11 to go to close the scoring, a scramble in front of the Cornell net with 46 seconds left degenerated into an all-out brawl, with several players from each team being sent off as a result. The most severe consequences were meted out to Cornell defenseman Sasha Pokulok and Yale defenseman Brennan Turner, both of whom will miss Saturday night’s contests for their teams.
Cornell, which improves to 2-1-0 (1-0-0 ECACHL), will go on to face Brown at Meehan Auditorium in Providence. Yale, which falls to 0-1-0 both overall and in league play, will host Colgate on Saturday at Ingalls. Both games start at 7 p.m.