GREEN BAY, Wis. — Jon Gleed can take credit for having two pretty important shots on goal Saturday.
The first was Cornell’s first and only shot of the first period, coming almost 16 minutes into the game. The second capped a rally and put the Big Red one victory away from the Frozen Four.
Gleed scored his first goal of the season in the third period, giving Cornell a spot opposite Wisconsin in the Midwest Regional final with a 3-2 victory over Colorado College at the Resch Center.
The Big Red had only Gleed’s shorthanded shot on goal to show for a vacant offensive effort in the first period, but they rebounded nicely in the second and third behind a more disciplined approach.
And Gleed picked a great time for a breakthrough goal.
“I didn’t really know when it was going to come,” Gleed said. “I saved it up for the right time. It’s been a while, almost since the first game of last season since I scored. Hopefully there’s maybe a couple more to come down the road here.”
Topher Scott and Matt Moulson also scored for Cornell, which fell behind 2-0 in the first period on CC power-play goals by Brian Salcido and Jack Hillen. Moulson’s 18th goal of the season tied the game with 15 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the third period.
Gleed was the beneficiary of teammate Tyler Mugford’s stick being tied up on the rebound of a shot off the boards behind the goal. Tigers goaltender Matt Zaba appeared to be playing for a shot by Mugford low in the left circle but the puck instead continued back to Gleed, who beat the goaltender to the glove side for a 3-2 lead.
From there, the Cornell defense sealed the deal. After allowing 11 shots on goal in the first period, the Big Red allowed only 11 the rest of the way.
That wasn’t all that changed after the first period. Big Red coach Mike Schafer said that all his team has been to talk about since Friday was the tour of Lambeau Field they took, and he joked maybe that was still going on in the first 20 minutes.
They gave CC three power plays in the first period and allowed goals on two of them. But after the first intermission, the Tigers didn’t get another power play.
Schafer said it was too much of a flashback to last Saturday’s ECACHL championship game, when the Big Red took five first-period penalties, leading to three Harvard power-play goals and a 6-2 loss.
The Cornell players were at a crossroads between playing with pride and playing selfishly, Schafer said.
“It was loud and clear to them between the first and second that the game was in their hands,” Schafer said. “If they wanted to continue to play that way, it was going to be a long night.”
Cornell responded with a more energetic second period and cut the Tigers’ lead to one goal when Scott scored a power-play goal late in the period. The Big Red also turned things around in the shot department, getting 12 to CC’s five.
And the Big Red pushed things further in the third period, tying the game when Moulson wrapped the puck in off a Salcido turnover behind the CC net.
Colorado College, which won only one of its last six games of the season (1-4-1), was powerless after the first period.
“We needed a power play,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “We needed something to get it going there.”
Hobey Baker Award finalists Brett Sterling and Marty Sertich had only one shot on goal apiece. Sertich had a pair of assists; Sterling had one.
“To have that lead and let it slip away, and that’s the way we end our season, it’s rough,” Sterling said. “We played well in the first; we just didn’t keep it up all game and it cost us.”
Cornell goaltender David McKee, the other third of the Hobey Hat Trick last season that included Sertich and Sterling, stopped all 11 shots he saw over the last 40 minutes and had 20 saves for the game.
The Tigers attempted only 22 shots in the final two periods and the Big Red defense made sure the few Tigers chances were perimeter ones.
“I don’t think I really saw a good, quality scoring chance after [the first period],” McKee said. “The guys really picked up their play and it led to a win.”