Union coach Rick Bennett doesn’t believe his hockey team has hit the low point of the season.
But after a 5-1 ECAC Hockey loss to Cornell on Friday at Messa Rink, the Dutchmen are close to hitting rock bottom.
The Big Red (5-4 ECACH, 7-7-2 overall) scored the most goals they had all season. This from a team that scored just five goals in its last four games, and had been shut out in consecutive games for the first time since December 1963.
The Dutchmen (4-6-1, 11-9-2) managed just 21 shots on Cornell goalie Mitch Gillam. They were 13.3 seconds away from seeing their 91-game goal-scoring streak end when Ryan Scarfo got his sixth goal of the season to ruin Gillam’s shutout bid.
“It was a pretty poor effort tonight,” Dutchmen senior defenseman and team captain Charlie Vasaturo said. “We got their ‘A’ game. They played really well tonight. I feel bad for ‘Sak’ [Alex Sakellaropoulos] and Dillon [Pieri]. We left them out to dry, We have to look at the film and figure out what’s going wrong, and try and correct it.”
It was the second straight game Union had under 25 shots on goal. It had 23 in last Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Quinnipiac, a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Union trailed, 4-0 for 2 1⁄2 periods before scoring three late goals.
Bennett still believes in his team.
“We came back,” Bennett said. “It was a tough one for us. We have to keep battling here. That’s all we’re going to do.”
When asked what the most disappointing aspect of the setback was, Bennett bluntly said, “The loss.”
The lack of awareness twice cost the Dutchmen.
As an interference penalty to Christian Hilbrich was winding down past the midway point of the first period, Sakellaropoulos didn’t appear to bang his stick to alert his teammates that the penalty was ending.
John McCarron spotted Hilbrich at center ice, and hit him with a pass. Hilbrich went in alone and beat Sakellaropoulos with a wrist shot over the right shoulder at 12:14.
“We have to know the situation we’re in [and] how much time is left,” Vasaturo said. “If the guy is coming out of the box, back up a guy just to make sure we have all five in front and we don’t spring, like they did. Unfortunately, we left ‘Sak’ out to dry.”
In the final 10 seconds of the second period, Union had the puck in the Cornell zone, and was cycling the puck well. The problem was that no one realized that time was running out. The Dutchmen, trailing, 2-0, at the time after a Jacob MacDonald tally with 2:55 left in the second, never got a shot on goal.
“An error on my part,” Bennett said. “I should have been yelling.”
The Big Red put the game away with three third-period goals. Jake Weinder scored on the power play at 8:33, Madison Dias scored an empty-netter at 14:25 and Matt Buckles added a power-play goal against Pieri with 2:47 left.
When asked about the goal-scoring explosion — the five goals were the most the Big Red have scored this season — Cornell coach Mike Schafer thought a reporter was incorrect saying his team scored five. He thought Cornell had four.
“I don’t know what it’s like to score five goals,” Schafer said. “You’ve got to have a little bit of fortune. Hilbrich coming out of the penalty box gets into that little bit fortune, but he capitalized. We’ve had games this year where we’ve had five, six breakaways and we haven’t scored.”
Cornell 1 1 3 — 5
Union 0 0 1 — 1
First Period — 1, Cornell, Hilbrich 5 (McCarron), 12:14. Penalties — Light, Uni (holding), 8:43; Hilbrich, Cor (interference), 10:07; Hynes, Uni (boarding), 15:38; Dias, Cor (hooking), 18:28; Foo, Uni (hitting from behind), 19:14.
Second Period — 2, Cornell, MacDonald 2 (Yates, Bardreau), 17:05. Penalties — Freschi, Cor (charging), 10:56; Wedman, Cor (tripping), 17:36; Dias, Cor (boarding), 18:28; Ciampini, Uni (hooking), 18:40.
Third Period — 3, Cornell, Weidner 2 (Bardreau, Ryan), 8:33 (pp). 4, Cornell, Dias 1 (Bardreau, Tschantz), 14:25 (en). 5, Cornell, Buckles 5 (Willcox, Yates), 17:13. 6, Union, Scarfo 6 (Lichtenwald, Pontarelli), 19:46. Penalties — Light, Uni (holding), 7:47; Foo, Uni (boarding), 16:14; Ryan, Cor, minor-misconduct (roughing), 16:53; Hilbrich, Cor (roughing), 16:53; Hynes, Uni, minor-misconduct (roughing), 16:53; Wilkins, Uni (cross-checking), 16:53.
Shots on Goal — Cornell 5-8-5 — 18. Union 8-6-7 — 21.
Power-play opportunities — Cornell 2 of 6; Union 0 of 5.
Goalies — Cornell, Gillam 5-4-2 (21 shots-20 saves). Union, Sakellaropoulos 2-3-2 (16-13), Pieri (16:53 third, 1-0).
A — 2,123. T — 2:38.
Referees — Chip McDonald, Brad LeBlanc. Linesmen — Jamie Colacino, Jim Briggs.
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Categories: College Sports