PRINCETON, N.J. — Senior goaltender Eric Leroux made 35 saves to post his second shutout of the season as Princeton shut out No. 7 Cornell, 3-0, on Saturday night at Baker Rink. The win was Princeton’s first over Cornell in 11 tries and snapped the Big Red’s nations-best nine-game unbeaten streak. The win also completed Princeton’s first sweep of a league weekend since the final series of the 2001-02 season.
Princeton climbed to 7-12-1 overall and 4-9-1 in the ECAC Hockey League with the win, while Cornell fell to 11-4-2 overall and 6-3-1 in the league.
The Tigers played their best period in the first, outshooting Cornell, 13-8, and taking a 1-0 lead at the 15:02 mark when junior Darroll Powe’s centering pass from behind the net bounced off a Cornell defender’s shin pads and into the Big Red goal. Powe’s third of the year was assisted by senior Patrick Neundorfer.
That bounce, stellar penalty killing and Leroux’s 35 saves were all the Tigers needed in picking up their first shutout over the Big Red since a 1-0 win on Jan. 18, 1964, almost 42 years ago.
Down by a goal entering the second, Cornell came out of the locker room gunning to even the score and threw everything at the net early in the frame as Leroux made 14 saves in the period. Cornell had three power-play chances in the period but was unable to crack the Tiger goal as the Tiger penalty-killing unit limited Cornell to just three shots on the power play, all from the perimeter.
Cornell continued to pressure into the third period, this time taking 13 shots on the Tiger goal. Again, the Tiger penalty kill came up big as the period wore on. With Cornell pressuring late in the period, a blocked Cornell shot by freshman Lee Jubinville sprung junior Grant Goeckner-Zoeller on a breakaway. Goeckner-Zoeller skated into the Cornell end and beat goaltender David McKee high on the blocker side to give Princeton a 2-0 lead with 4:03 remaining.
Cornell pulled McKee looking to even get on the board, but was unable to crack Leroux and the Tigers. Powe added his second goal of the game with nine seconds remaining in regulation when he scored into the empty net from senior Seamus Young and Neundorfer.
Leroux finished the night with 35 saves for his second shutout of the season and the sixth of his career. McKee finished the night with 21 saves for Cornell.
Coupled with Friday’s win against Colgate, the Tigers picked up their first sweep of a league weekend since downing Harvard and Brown at home on the final weekend of the 2001-02 regular season. It was the first time Princeton has swept the two Central New York opponents since December of 1999. That sweep also occurred at Baker Rink.
The win was Princeton’s third this season against a ranked team, and all three have come in the last six games, as Princeton won at No. 12 Denver two weekends ago, then defeated No. 16 Colgate and No. 7 Cornell this weekend.