ITHACA, N.Y. — Coming into tonight’s game the Clarkson University Golden Knights had the nation’s tenth ranked scoring offense, averaging 3.65 goals per game, and the nation’s sixth ranked scoring margin, outscoring their opponents by an average of 1.27 goals per game.
Tonight they were held to only one goal, and had a scoring margin of minus four, as the Cornell University Big Red surged to a 5-1 victory at Lynah Rink.
“We got outplayed, simply put.” Clarkson head coach George Roll said after the game.
After earning their first victory of 2007 the previous weekend, Cornell came out lightning fast. The Big Red scored their first two goals within five minutes of the opening puck drop. The first came from sophomore Michael Kennedy on an assist from Mitch Carefoot, who finished the night with a career high three points, and the second, only a minute and a half later, came from freshman Colin Greening on a wraparound.
“I thought we came out with real good intensity. It’s the fourth of fifth game in a row we’ve come out with a strong start, but tonight we were able to get some goals out of it. That was the difference.” Cornell boss Mike Schafer said after the game.
The Big Red did not let up after taking the early lead, limiting Clarkson to outside shots and clearing rebounds quickly. Carefoot increased the lead to three later in the first, scoring another wrap around goal that had Clarkson netminder David Leggio on the wrong side of the net.
But Clarkson responded, using their potent power play offense, (ranked fourth in the nation at 22.6 percent efficiency), to get a rebound goal from junior Shawn Weller. However, it was to be the only goal they would score in the game. Freshman Ben Scrivens, who has recently claimed the top spot for the Big Red, finished the game with 26 saves.
“A lot of the shots they were getting were from the outside. It makes it a lot easier for me to control the rebounds. If there was a rebound, our defensemen and centermen were boxing out well. The guys were playing very hard in front of me.” Scrivens said after the game.
Cornell dominated the neutral zone and their own zone for much of the second and third period, as well as generating several quality opportunities on offense. The Big Red broke through again in the second period on the power play.
A shot from the point fired by Blake Gallagher was deflected wide but picked up by Greening, who took it around the net for a second wraparound goal. Up three goals, Cornell still pressured the puck all over the ice, never dropping their intensity.
“We just played the same game we did to get that lead. We didn’t sit back. We kept the same game plan and wound up with a 5-1 win.” Scrivens added.
The third period was all Cornell, limiting Clarkson to only four shots on net the entire stanza. Freshman phenom Tony Romano added the icing on the cake, sticking in a backdoor snapshot on a textbook 3-on-2 rush.
Looking to turn a corner in the season, Cornell moves to 11-8-3 overall, 7-5-3 ECAC, Cornell will attempt to gain more ground in the ECAC standings Saturday night, facing off against league-leader St. Lawrence at home.
Clarkson drops to 16-8-4, 8-5-3 ECAC, and also has a crucial league game Saturday, facing Colgate in Hamilton, NY.