ITHACA, N.Y. — With an improved power-play and some tremendous offensive contributions from its defensemen, Cornell was able to overcome a Quinnipiac comeback and earn a 5-3 victory over the visiting Bobcats.
Cornell came into this game looking to exact revenge for its 2006-07 playoff loss to Quinnipiac and did not disappoint, earning their first victory of the 2007-08 campaign.
“Anytime you can get revenge its sweet,” explained Cornell forward Evan Barlow, who scored tonights game-winning-goal. “We were just looking to get the first two points of the season and we were happy to do that.”
Cornell got off to a quick start, challenging Quinnipiac goalie Peter Vetri right out of the gates. The Big Red got the puck deep in the Bobcats’ zone, and after strong forechecking, Colin Greening was able to find defensemen Justin Kreuger at the point. Krueger floated a wrister by the screened Vetri, giving the Red a 1-0 lead just 2:15 into the opening period.
While on a power play, Cornell co-captain Topher Scott fed Mike Kennedy along the boards, who then relayed the puck to defenseman Mike Devin. Devin wired a slap shot from the point over Vetri’s glove for the Reds second goal of the game.
Cornell received some strong offensive play from its defensemen throughout the game, with four of the team’s five goals scored by blue-liners. Two goals also came on the power play, an area in which Cornell head coach Mike Schafer noted some significant improvement.
“We hadn’t been showing any patience on the power play in the first couple of games. Tonight, we made three, four, or five passes, got set up and capitalized,” said Schafer.
Cornell continued its explosive offensive attack on its next power play as defenseman Jordan Berk took a pass in front of the net from Colin Greening and was able to slide the puck through Vetri’s legs at 7:35 of the first, putting Cornell up 3-0.
Quinnipiac freshman goalie Pat McGann came in to replace Vetri after the goal, as coach Rand Pecknold called a timeout to try and settle his team down.
Quinnipiac was able to get on the scoreboard after Greening took a cross-checking penalty midway through the first. The Bobcats set up their power play, allowing Dan Travis to spot Brandon Wong with a pass in front of the Cornell net. Wong tidily deflected the pass over to forward David Marshall in the right circle, who then potted his third goal of the year at 11:41 of the first on the quick tic-tac-toe play.
The second frame opened with very physical play from both sides. At 9:13 in the second, Cornell’s Jordan Berk received a five minute major and a game misconduct for hitting from behind. Cornell soon found itself two men down as co-captain Raymond Sawada took a hitting from behind minor penalty at 9:49. The Bobcats took advantage quickly on a scramble in front of the Cornell goal, as Quinnipiac forward Ben Nelson batted the puck into the back of the net, cutting Cornell’s lead to one.
At 12:45 in the second, Atkinson sprung in alone on Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens. Evan Barlow dove into Atkinson’s skates to knock the puck away, but Atkinson was awarded a penalty shot.
Scrivens came out to challenge, but Atkinson made a couple of quick fakes to his left, then snapped a shot in between Scrivens’ legs that squeaked into the net, tying the game at 3-3.
“He made a good move,” said Scrivens. “I thought I out-waited him pretty well, but he stuck it through that little hole… in between my legs. I’ll give credit to him, it was a nice goal.”
Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold was happy with the tenacity his team showed in coming back from the 3-0 deficit.
“I’m proud of the way my guys battled back. We certainly saw some adversity in the first period. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have enough gas to carry it into the third.”
Right off the third-period faceoff, Greening exploded up the left side along the boards, carried the puck around the net and quickly passed it out in front to linemate Barlow streaking in from the right side. Barlow buried a snap shot low stick-side on McGann, giving Cornell a 4-3 lead just 13 seconds into the third period.
Coach Schafer noted Greening’s speed and determination, as well as the importance of getting the go-ahead goal at the start of the third.
“Greening came out and was not going to be denied going around into the zone. Evan Barlow stopped at the net. It was great to come out and get it right away.”
Freshman Mike Devin scored his second goal of the night as he wired a point shot past a screened McGann, giving the Red a two-goal lead at 10:48 in the third that would hold up for the 5-3 win.