ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens and UMass netminder Paul Dainton both played superbly in blanking each others squad in a scoreless draw Friday evening in Ithaca.
After a frustrating 6-3 loss against BU last Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, Cornell returned home and it didnt get any easier, as they faced off against the No. 11 Massachusetts.
After BU at Madison Square Garden, we didnt feel that we had our best effort there. We wanted to come out and give a good solid effort and get something to build on before the break, said Scrivens.
The UMass offensive attack wasted no time out of the gates as the Minutemen put the pressure on early, testing the sophomore Scrivens with nine shots before the Red were able to register a shot of their own. Scrivens was up to the test, showing good form and making some sprawling saves to keep UMass off the board early.
UMass continued to outplay Cornell throughout the opening period, maintaining their relentless fore-checking and offensive drive. With less than 30 seconds remaining in the first, Minutemen forward James Marcou came streaking along the boards and fired a wrister from the circle high blocker side, but Scrivens displayed his quick reflexes, as he punched the shot out of harms way.
With strong rebound control and impressive positioning, Scrivens was able to steer aside all 19 first period UMass shots. Freshman Paul Dainton was easily able to stop the five first period Big Red attempts on net, as the first frame came to a close as a scoreless tie. Cornell coach Mike Schafer was very impressed with the play of his young goaltender.
Ben did a great job controlling rebounds, and when he did give up some rebounds…around the net, the guys were up to the task, explained Schafer.
The Minutemen handed Cornell two power plays early on in the second period, but the Red failed to gain any substantial momentum and were unable to muster any real scoring chances.
Cornell forward Dan Nicholls tripping penalty at 11:12 in the second gave the Minutemen a chance to set up their power-play attack. With the penalty coming to a close, the Minutemen were still putting on pressure.
UMass cycled the puck around the Cornell zone, eventually finding forward Chase Langeraap in front of the net, who quickly snapped the puck blocker-side. Scrivens swiftly came sliding across the crease, finding the puck just before it crossed the goal-line to keep the score knotted at 0-0.
As time wore on, the level of intensity grew and tempers flared, resulting in six second period penalties. Cornell forward Colin Greening was pleased with his teams physicality.
We knew they were a smaller team. It was important for us to go out and be physical right away. I think it showed, as the game wore on they started to get more tired, Greening explained. Thats part of our game, we realized that to be successful we have to be physical.
The UMass offensive barrage persisted during the second frame, forcing Scrivens to make 13 saves. Dainton answered with seven of his own to keep the game notched at zeroes at the end of the second.
At 2:24 in the third, Cornell forward Patrick Kennedy was sent off for boarding, giving UMass another power-play opportunity. The Minutemen once again set up their offense, and cycled the puck in the Cornell end. UMass defenseman Michael Kostka took a pass at the top of the circle and fired a snap shot glove-side through traffic.
Scrivens flashed the leather as he made the save to keep the shutout alive. Scrivens was happy with the play of his defense in front of him and thought they deserved credit for the shutout as well.
A lot of the shots were from the outside… All the shots were clear and I was seeing everything. I was able to control the rebounds and that makes [my teams] lives easier and my life easier, said Scrivens.
The Red mounted some pressure with eight minutes to go in the third, as some hard fore checking by Cornell co-captain Topher Scott enabled the Red to keep their attack alive. With 4:39 remaining the third, UMass assistant captain David Leaderer took an elbowing penalty, giving Cornell an excellent opportunity to break the tie.
UMass was able to withstand the pressure with the continued stellar play of Dainton. Schafer thought that his team really turned it around after some early struggles.
We turned the puck over a bit and thats one thing you cant do against this hockey team. They use their speed very well . . . defensively and they stay above people, said Schafer. Early on, the turnovers were causing transitional chances for them, and I thought as the game wore on we became smarter with the puck and played with a little more poise coming through the neutral zone. We kept it simple, got it deep and went to work.
Cornell got another man-advantage with 31 seconds remaining and coach Schafer took a timeout to organize the power-play. Cornell was unable to beat Dainton, as regulation time finished with a 0-0 tie.
In overtime, each team had several scoring chances. Cornells Mike Kennedy had a chance to net the game-winner with a quick snap shot from the slot, but Dainton was up to the test, as the game ended with a 0-0 tie.
On the night, Scrivens made 45 saves to earn the shutout, bringing the crowd to its feet multiple times. At the other, Dainton stopped all 24 Cornell shots to post a shutout of his own.