DENVER — Larkin Jacobson picked an ideal time to get his first collegiate goal.
With the score tied midway through the third period, David Makowski skated up the left side boards, and just before he circled behind the net, he threw the puck through the crease to Jacobson, who buried it for his first collegiate goal at 7:45. The goal proved the game-winner as No. 11 Denver swept No. 12 Cornell.
“That’s huge; it couldn’t have come at a better moment,” said Jacobson. “It’s something we do in practice all the time. We work on that sort of stuff, three-on-two rushes, and I saw him go wide and I just had to get my big body to the net. Sure enough, he drove wide and I stopped in front of the net and it came out. I couldn’t ask for a better pass there; all I had to do was put it away.”
After Friday’s game, Cornell coach Mike Schafer had lamented the inability of the Cornell forwards to convert their chances. On Saturday, the Big Red came out with fire and converted on their first opportunity when Joel Lowry deflected Nick D’Agostino’s blast from the left point past Juho Olkinuora at just 45 seconds in.
“There goes the shutout,” laughed Olkinuora, starting back-to-back games for the first time this season. “I had confidence in the team and we bounced back pretty quickly, so it wasn’t a big deal. Obviously you feel bad to give such a bad start for the team on the first shot, but you just got to get over it I guess.”
However, when Teemu Titinen got called for contact to the head, resulting in a five-minute major, just three minutes later, it seemed Denver was in good position, as the power play had scored three times Friday. Their best chance came when Chris Knowlton rang a shot off the crossbar, but Andy Iles made several excellent stops. Denver got another power-play chance shortly after the five-minute major ended, and again couldn’t convert.
At the other end, Olkinuora was kept busy, first on a breakaway by Brian Ferlin, and then on a Cornell power play when the Big Red failed to convert on a mad scramble in front.
It appeared the one-goal lead would stand up, but in the final minute of the period, Zac Larraza sped down the left-side boards and fired a sharply angled shot that Iles stopped with his left pad. The rebound came to a streaking Daniel Doremus, who fired a quick shot that beat Iles high stick side at 19:11.
Despite numerous power plays, neither team could score in the second. Cornell rang a shot off the post early in the period, and Denver couldn’t capitalize on a five-minute major. The Pioneers also had a goal disallowed right before the major when the net was dislodged before the puck went in.
“Our guys I thought did a tremendous job (on the penalty kill),” said Cornell coach Mike Schafer.
Cornell hit its third post early in the third period, and had several chances to tie it in the final minute, including one scramble that left all the players piled up by the Denver net right after Nick Shore missed a change to seal the game on a breakaway when he shot it wide.
“To be able to win a two-game series against a quality opponent like Cornell is a huge confidence builder for us,” said Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky. “Certainly Mike Schafer and his staff have a done a great job. They’re one of the top teams in the East. It’s interesting because I thought at times we played better tonight than we did last night.
At the final buzzer, both teams ended up with benches emptied and gesturing to each other, which led to Cornell being penalized as a team for abuse of official and a game misconduct. John McCarron also got a disqualification. The calls left Schafer visibly upset.
“I’m looking at the sheet now, and we’re the ones that were assessed all the penalties,” said Schafer. “You’re supposed to hold your guys at the end of the game. That obviously didn’t happen. It’s just really disappointing on the calls. … It’s disgusting. That’s all you can say. I won’t come back to the WCHA.”