Three first-period goals were more than enough for Cornell and goalie Hayden Stewart as they cruised past Brown 4-0 on Saturday night at Lynah Rink.
Joel Lowry, Dwyer Tschantz and Christian Hilbrich were the goal-scorers for the Big Red in the opening frame. It was the first time that Cornell had scored three goals in a period since January 25, 2014, when they scored three in the second period against Clarkson en route to a 3-2 victory in Ithaca.
The Big Red needed only 4:30 to light the lamp in the early going, as it was their leading scorer that got Cornell going. Holden Anderson retrieved the puck at the right point and then quickly whipped a shot toward the cage. Lowry, who was positioned right in front of Brown starting goalie Tyler Steel, was able to get a stick to it and deflected it past the low blocker side.
Six minutes later, the Big Red struck again, as the power-play unit converted for the third time on the weekend. Jeff Kubiak started the scoring play when he fed Ryan Bliss at the top of the left faceoff circle. Weidner took a low wrist shot that was deftly deflected by the 6-foot-5-inch forward Tschantz between his legs and on the backhand past Steel. The tally was Tschantz’s first of his career, in just his second collegiate game.
“I planted myself in front and tried to screen the goalie,” said Tschantz. “I got my stick on the shot; it’s the type of goal that I like to score.”
Cornell coach Mike Schafer also spoke on the tremendous finish of Tschantz, saying, “He’s scored a lot of goals like that; for a big kid, he has a knack for getting his stick on pucks around the net.”
The Big Red’s first period onslaught continued four minutes later when one of college hockey’s tallest men, Hilbrich, notched his second of the weekend.
Cole Bardreau set up Jake Weidner for a one-timer at the top of the left faceoff circle. Hilbrich, positioned to the left of Steel, got the brunt of the blast when the shot banged off his right shin pad and into the back of the net.
The Hilbrich marker spelled the end for Steel, who gave way to fellow sophomore Tim Ernst.
“It’s really hard containing those big bodies of Cornell,” said Brown coach Brendan Whittet. “They do things a certain way and they go to the net hard and we were unwilling to get in any type of shot lane or win any type of battle.”
The trend of not winning battles continued in the second period for the Bears, as a grueling penalty kill put the dagger in the heart for Brown when the Big Red converted their fourth power-play chance of the weekend.
After winning the draw following a slashing call to the Bears, Cornell held the puck in the attacking zone for 1:39 before Matt Buckles finally put one away to the top shelf, extending the Big Red advantage to four.
The total of four was plenty for the freshman Stewart, who made his second career start on Saturday evening. He stopped all 26 shots for the Big Red, making him the first Cornel freshman to earn a shutout since December 2, 2006, when Ben Scrivens made 22 stops against Union to earn the feat.
The freshman was complimentary of his teammates after the game.
“To play as well of a game as we played tonight with that group of guys in there that have worked hard every day and deserved it is an unbelievable feeling,” said Stewart.
While Cornell has now earned two straight conference victories, Brown is searching for answers, as Whittet summed up the evening best when he said, “We got manhandled by a much better hockey team.”