ITHACA, N.Y. — Riding goaltender Troy Davenport’s second career shutout, the Cornell Big Red defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats 2-0 in a physical battle at Lynah Rink. The Cornell win moves The Red into a third-place tie with the Bobcats in the ECACHL standings.
With the playoffs looming, Cornell seemed like a much improved team in its effort to avenge a 5-2 November loss at Quinnipiac. Quinnipiac, meanwhile, couldn’t find the offensive spark that propelled it to early-season success.
“It’s like an eternity since we played Quinnipiac [in November],” said Cornell head Coach Mike Schafer.
The Red came out with aggressive energy in the first period, and got all the offense they would need on a power play nine minutes into the game. Fighting for the puck in the Bobcats zone, Cornell’s Raymond Sawada got tangled up with a Quinnipiac defender in the right side circle. Forward Topher Scott collected the puck and skated across the middle, drawing defenders towards him.
Scott whipped a pass back towards the middle, finding the cutting Evan Barlow, who shot past goaltender Bud Fisher’s left side for the opening goal.
“Toph made great look to the middle,” said Barlow. “It was a pretty open net. Nice to get one.”
The second period was filled with hard hits, and emotions boiled over on many occasions. After exchanging power plays and a brief four-on-four stretch early in the period, Quinnipiac forward Jamie Bates escalated the intensity midway into the second.
Bates checked Cornell freshman Tony Romano into the boards, leaving Romano shaken up on the ice and drawing a contact to the head penalty. Bates’s hit ignited the Lynah Rink crowd, as well as player tensions. In the ensuing Big Red power play, a scuffle behind the Quinnipiac net led to unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties for Cornell’s Byron Bitz and Quinnipiac’s Eric Lampe.
Only 12 seconds after the refs dished out the initial penalties, more extracurricular pushing and shoving behind the Bobcats net resulted in matching 10-minute misconduct penalties for Cornell’s Mark McCutcheon and Quinnipiac’s Dan Henningson.
“We knew what was on the line, they knew what was on the line,” said Quinnipiac captain Reid Cashman. “Those are just two teams working hard, trying to get an edge.”
When the teams headed to the locker rooms for the second intermission, 38 minutes of penalties were on the books for the period and the game remained 1-0. But in the third period the refs had a much different agenda. They handed out only two penalties in the period, deciding to let the teams work things out for themselves, and the physical nature favored the Red.
“There was a lot of clutching and grabbing going on out there, and it slowed us down,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold.
Cornell’s defense was in prime form all night long, but their lock-down style was on full display in the third. Despite outshooting the Red 11-3 in the period, Quinnipiac failed to get on the scoreboard, and Davenport earned the shutout.
“The strength of Troy’s game tonight was controlling the rebounds; he didn’t give up many second chances,” said Schafer
Cornell also quenched the Bobcats’ comeback hopes by ways of a Colin Greening goal with three minutes remaining. After taking a pass from Byron Bitz on the right side of the Quinnipiac zone, Greening skated into the center and lifted a wrist shot over Fisher’s glove for the ninth goal of his freshman season.
“I thought Cornell played a little bit harder than us,” said Pecknold. “I thought they competed better. I thought they won more battles, and I thought they wanted it a little bit more.”