ITHACA, N.Y. — In a battle of freshman goaltenders, a four goal surge in the third period gave the Brown Bears a 5-2 victory over the Cornell Big Red on Saturday night at Lynah Rink. Beginning with Sean Dersch’s shorthanded goal, Brown capitalized on transition opportunities in the third as they extended Cornell’s winless streak to six in a row.
“Our guys did what they had to do to win a big game,” said Brown head coach Roger Grillo. “It’s a big win for us. We’ve actually played some pretty good hockey recently, but haven’t gotten the bounces when we needed them, and tonight we did”
“We’ve been in kind of a rut of our own, so it was really important for us to come here and make a statement,” said Brown goaltender Dan Rosen, who stopped 27 shots on night.
Cornell struck first in the opening period. Capitalizing on a Brown penalty for cross checking, captain Byron Bitz found Raymond Sawada on a centering pass from the right side, and Sawada beat Rosen for the score.
Brown’s offense responded at the 18 minute mark. Taking a pass from Junior Chris Poli, Brown’s Jeff Prough weaved through the Cornell defenders to earn a chance vs. Cornell goaltender Ben Scrivens. Prough switched to his backhand, skating in from the right side, then lifted the puck into the Cornell net for the tying score.
Defense and goaltending won the second period, as both freshmen goaltenders stopped nine shots and kept the period scoreless. The Cornell penalty killing crew got a thorough test in the second half of the period with the Bears enjoying six minutes of power play time over an eight minute stretch, but The Red’s defenders looked sharp at home and kept the period scoreless
The low-scoring nature of the first two periods was not to be replicated in the third. Brown netted the first of the period’s five goals on a shorthanded opportunity early in the period. After intercepting a Cornell pass in the Brown zone, defenseman Sean Hurley recognized a two on one chance and carried the puck into The Red’s zone. Hurley’s centering pass deflected off the Cornell defender, but still made its way to forward Sean Dersch, who found back netting for the score.
27 seconds later, Cornell tied the game when senior Mitch Carefoot fed defensemen Brendon Nash for a one-timer score from the point. The quick response energized the Lynah faithful and appeared to be a swing in momentum, but the rest of the period was all Brown.
“We’ve been pretty resilient this year,” said coach Grillo. “Our guys came right back after that.”
Midway into the period, Brown went on the attack just as Dersch came out of the box from a tripping penalty. Skating into the Cornell zone, Sean Muncy centered a pass to Brian McNary, who had an easy tap-in for the goal.
Ryan Garbutt extended the Cornell with two minutes remaining in the period, then after a series of saves by Rosen, Muncy added the exclamation point on the victory with an empty net score.
“We had a good first period, a strong second, then in the third period it just didn’t feel like we went after it,” said Cornell assistant coach Brent Brekke. “There were bits and pieces where we were decent, but it wasn’t the effort that we had in the first period to take advantage of our opportunities.”
“I think we need short memories for this one,” said Cornell senior Mark McCutcheon.