ESTERO, Fla. — Cornell goaltender David McKee made four of his 21 saves in overtime to seal a 1-1 tie against Minnesota-Duluth in the championship of the Florida College Classic on Wednesday night at Germain Arena.
Senior forward Cam Abbott scored the Big Red’s lone goal in regulation, then tallied the last goal of the shootout to secure the No. 8 Big Red the Ned Harkness Cup as tournament champion.
McKee earned Most Valuable Player honors after allowing just one goal in 125 minutes during the tournament.
After the Big Red and the Bulldogs dueled through 65 minutes of play, Cornell (9-3-2) jumped out to a 2-1 lead after two rounds of the five-round shootout. Matt Moulson went first for Cornell after McKee denied freshman forward Michael Gergen. Big Red junior forward Mitch Carefoot put Cornell back on top in the second round before Minnesota-Duluth (8-10-4) freshman Andrew Carroll tied it in the fourth.
Cornell’s Daniel Pegoraro then missed wide, and McKee made a save, making way for Abbott’s deciding tally.
The tie — which is how the game will officially be recorded, was preserved by McKee in the waning minutes of regulation and in overtime. He made four tough saves on breakaways and point-blank shots in the final two minutes of the period to run Cornell’s unbeaten streak to seven games.
Cornell had its chances to get on the scoreboard in the first 20 minutes. With a Bulldog in the box for elbowing in the game’s fourth minute, O’Byrne took a one-time shot from the high slot that was saved by Minnesota-Duluth goaltender Isaac Reichmuth.
The best scoring opportunity for either side came with Cornell skating shorthanded with 1:17 to play before the first intermission. Pegoraro skated onto a loose puck by the right boards in the neutral zone with a Bulldog in tow. He poked it ahead to Abbott, who got a shot on goal, but again, Reichmuth turned it away.
The persistence of the Cornell penalty-kill finally paid off at the 1:37 mark of the second period. Abbott outskated a Bulldog to a loose puck just inside the neutral zone and made a nifty move, sliding the puck under his opponent and skating around him coming out the other side. Skating in alone, Abbott faked left before sliding the puck just under Reichmuth’s left pad for his first goal since the second game of the 2004 Florida College Classic against Maine.
Cornell then successfully killed off a five-minute major with the help of a Bulldog penalty with 39 seconds remaining.
At the 6:43 mark of the second, Minnesota-Duluth freshman Jay Cascalenda picked a puck out of the air and fed it ahead to senior forward Tim Stapleton. Stapleton skated in to top of the right circle and passed the puck to classmate Justin Williams, who slid it under McKee to tie the score at 1-1.
The Big Red tried to unknot it with 6:29 to play in the second period. Not to be outdone by his twin brother, senior forward Chris Abbott started his own breakaway, but was unable to finish.
A little more than five minutes later, Cornell’s Evan Barlow came out of the penalty box and was hit with a pass behind the Bulldogs’ defense in the neutral zone. He appeared to have a free shot at Reichmuth, but Gergen made a full-length dive to poke the puck harmlessly to the end boards.
In the third period, Seminoff had two chances in the fifth minute. His first was saved on a 3-on-2 rush and the second missed wide on the rebound. Later in the period, Big Red forward Byron Bitz took a shot from a tough angle at the goal line that went behind Reichmuth, but went across the goal mouth and out the other side.
The rest of the game was similarly scoreless, leading to overtime, during which the Bulldogs outshot the Big Red 4-1, and finally the shootout.