ITHACA, N.Y. — In a game that was decided largely by special teams play, the Cornell Big Red defeated the Clarkson Knights 4-2 at Lynah Rink on Sunday night.
On a night that saw a total of twenty seven penalties, none of the six goals scored were in five-on-five action; four of the goals were generated off of the power play. The game was hard fought from the start with both teams looking to hit.
“That’s our game plan against every team. Come out hitting, try to wear down their D in the first and second periods and capitalize in the third. We did a good job of that this weekend.” said Cornell captain Matt Moulson.
Clarkson jumped out in front at 1:46 in the second period on the power play when David Cayer netted his ninth goal of the year. Jeff Genovy won the face off in the Cornell zone and then fed the puck up ice to Mike Sullivan, who shot the puck on net. Cayer picked the puck up right in front of the net and drove it past Cornell goaltender David McKee for the lead.
The Big Red answered back at 7:53 of the period when Byron Bitz beat Clarkson goaltender Kyle McNulty top shelf with a backhand shot off of a rebound from Sasha Pokulok that landed just outside of the crease.
Both teams generated plenty of scoring chances on the odd-man rush throughout the second period, but each team was able to capitalize only twice due to the fine play of both goaltenders.
Clarkson regained the lead on the power play when Steve Zalewski was able to beat McKee on his glove side by redirecting a rebound that landed right in front of McKee after a slap shot by linemate Shea Guthrie from on top of the right circle.
Cornell again scored the equalizer, this time the goal was from Mark McCutcheon. Jared Seminoff fed Pokulok from the point who found McCutcheon wide open beyond the far circle for a blistering one-timer that beat McNulty stick side.
“It was a huge goal for us. It was nice to see McCutcheon get one there. It was big to get the game tied up before going into the dressing room.” said Pokulok about the importance of the goal.
Cornell’s Abbott brothers connected for what proved to be the eventual game winner at 10:09 in the third period when Cam was able to find his brother, Chris, on a feed across the front of the crease. Chris buried the puck in the back of the net.
The final tally of the game came courtesy of Moulson on the power play at 12:16 of the third period. The goal was Moulson’s 13th of the year and his 10th on the power play.
The game was clearly decided by special teams play, and Cornell had the advantage there.
“They’re awfully good on the power play. It’s not the type of game we want to get in with them, we want it to be a five-on-five game.” said Clarkson head coach George Roll.
About Cornell’s four point weekend and his improved play this weekend, Pokulok had the following to say” “There was a lot of pressure early for the team and for myself, and we’ve tried to deal with it in a number of different ways. Now things are starting to come together and its starting to look good for the future.”
“They’re probably one of the better offensive teams we’ve played this year. It was a good battle back win for us.” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer.
With the win, Cornell moves to 13-4-2 (8-3-1 ECACHL) while the loss moves Clarkson to 12-10-2 (5-6-1) on the year.