ITHACA, N.Y. — Quinnipiac’s Dan LeFort picked a nice time for his second goal of the season, as he found back netting two minutes into overtime to beat Cornell 1-0 in Game 1 of their ECACHL quarterfinal series.
LeFort, a defenseman turned forward, jumped off the bench and immediately forced a turnover in the corner of the Cornell zone. Quinnipiac’s Eric Lampe intercepted the puck, and his deflected shot bounced its way back over to LeFort for the game-winner.
“I came off the [line] change, got out there, and knew I had to get some body on them early,” said LeFort. “I got up, and the puck was on my stick,”
Long before LeFort’s winning moment, the game was a seesaw of momentum. Taking advantage of three first period power plays, the Bobcats put pressure on Cornell early — tallying 12 shots to Cornell’s 5.
Even in five-on-five play, the Big Red found difficulty clearing the puck to tame the Quinnipiac onslaught. Cornell goaltender Troy Davenport was up for the challenge throughout the game, frustrating the Bobcats’ aggressive offense
“They did a good job in front; they’ve got a couple big boys that are just tough to move out there, and as long as I can get a sightline around them I’ll be fine,” said Davenport.
In the second period, Cornell had the power-play advantage and outshot the Bobcats 11-3. But goaltender Bud Fisher matched Davenport’s first-period prowess and set up an intense third period of back-and-forth action.
Comparing Friday’s effort to a shutout loss three weeks ago in Lynah, Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold attributed the major difference to an increase in team intensity. But in a game that both teams admitted could have gone either way, the unexpected winner from LeFort was a fitting finish.
“I give a lot of credit to Dan LeFort. He’s a defenseman that we converted and moved up front,” said Pecknold. “That’s usually how you win these things. You have one of your role guys step up and make a big play for you.”