HAMDEN, Conn. — Cornell continued its late season push with a 3-2 win over No. 1 Quinnipiac Friday.
In years gone by, it might not be surprising to see Cornell take a 1-0 game lead in the ECAC quarterfinals against Quinnipiac, but this year, things are different.
“We know having played in the position that [Quinnipiac] is in how much pressure there is to make it to Atlantic City,” Cornell coach Mike Schafer said. “We can kind of play that carefree mentality and it hasn’t happened maybe once in my coaching career. We need to use that to our advantage in tomorrow’s game.”
Andy Iles shined in the win for the Big Red posting 33 saves, while Brian Ferlin pocketed two power-play goals to provide the offense.
Entering the contest, Cornell had scored on just two of its last 29 power plays while the Bobcats, boasting the top-ranked penalty kill, had been successful on 25 straight kills.
The Bobcats had a golden opportunity in the final minute, but it was Iles who came up with the save of the game. With the extra attacker on, Zack Currie wristed a shot down in the slot that Jeremy Langlois put on net. Iles stuck out his pad and turned aside the shot.
“I felt like [Currie's] main option would be to slide it to the guy on the net-front drive and that’s just a read as a goalie,” Iles explained. “As the game went on, I felt like I could play with a bit more poise and survey the options and play to percentages a bit more.”
Iles admitted that tonight’s win was crucial for Cornell to take the next step to Atlantic City.
“It’s a little easier playing with a one-game lead,” said Iles. “You can relax a bit more and know that it is not the end of the season if it doesn’t work out. It was a huge one tonight.”
Despite the loss, Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold, while disappointed, was encouraged by the Bobcats’ effort.
“We need to be better,” said Pecknold. “We are a great hockey team and things happen. You know you run into a hot goalie and you lose games. I thought it wasn’t our best game, but I thought we played pretty well.”
The Bobcats got on the board early on a Connor Jones power-play goal. While Jones was the last to touch the puck for QU, it was Joel Lowry who tipped the puck into his own net giving the Bobcats the 1-0 lead 5:48 into the opening period.
After a penalty late in the first, the Big Red started the second period on the advantage. Just 23 seconds into the middle frame, Ferlin picked up his first of two power-play goals. Quinnipiac retook the lead just minutes later on Kellen Jones ninth goal of the season. After that, it was all Cornell in the second period.
The Big Red added two more goals in the second and limited Quinnipiac to just eight shots on net.
Madison Dias picked his spot in the top-right corner 5:34 into the second period to tie the score at 2-2.
About eight minutes later, Ferlin added his second power-play goal on a gritty play in front the net. After Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell made the first save on a shot from the outside, Ferlin drove to the net and poked the puck under Hartzell for the 3-2 lead.