Union coach Rick Bennett didn’t sound like a man who was happy that his team had just won a game against Cornell
He saw the Dutchmen play a so-so first period, and then they let their guard down in the final seven minutes of the third.
But what the 10th-seeded Dutchmen did in between earned them a 4-2 victory over the seventh-seeded Big Red in Game 1 of the ECAC Hockey tournament at Lynah Rink.
The Dutchmen (17-16-2) take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three first-round series. They can advance to the quarterfinals with a win tonight at 7. If Cornell (11-13-6) is victorious, Game 3 will be played at 7 p.m. Sunday.
The Dutchmen scored three times in the second period after the Big Red had the better of the play in the first period, when they had Union on its heels for the majority of the opening 20 minutes. Union then chased Cornell starting goalie Mitch Gillam from the game when sophomore center Mike Vecchione scored a short-handed goal at 8:41 of the third.
“We were kind of passengers for a while, especially in the first,” Bennett said.
But Bennett didn’t like how the game ended. Union freshman right winger Spencer Foo took a hitting after the whistle penalty with 10:05 left, which negated a possible Dutchmen power play because there was a delayed call on Cornell’s Eric Freschi for cross-checking.
Nearly two minutes later, Union sophomore defenseman Jeff Taylor, playing for the first time since being injured against Yale on Feb. 13, was called for slashing, and the Big Red’s Christian Hilbrich scored on the power play at 13:07. That ended a scoreless skid of 132 minutes, 35 seconds for Cornell.
Cornell got an extra-attacker goal in the final minute by Matt Buckles.
“We’ve got to keep our heads,” Bennett said. “We draw a penalty, and then we have a foolish mistake that puts us back in the box and puts it four-on-four. We’ve got to learn, and I think that was a rookie mistake. That’s how you grow, and I think we grew tonight.”
Union was outshot, 13-3, in the third period. The last thing the Dutchmen wanted to do is give the Big Red some momentum for tonight’s game.
“We talked about it in the dressing room,” Union senior right winger Daniel Ciampini said. “It starts with the penalty, and it goes from there. We have to be a little more disciplined. Things happen. Obviously, it’s a playoff series. Emotions get the best of you. We’ll learn, watch video and move on and get ready for [tonight].”
The second period was a thing of beauty for the Dutchmen.
It started with senior center Max Novak giving Union a 1-0 lead at 7:36. A right-point shot by freshman defenseman Nick DeSimone was tipped by Ciampini and fooled Gillam. The puck got behind Gillam, and Novak jammed it home.
“It was just sitting at [Gillam’s] feet,” Novak said. “I think one of their D-men tried to push it into their goalie. I think it went back too far. I was on the other side and hit it in.”
Junior left winger Matt Wilkins, who missed last weekend’s two games with a lower-body injury, made it 2-0 with 5:53 left. Vecchione won a faceoff in the left circle and drew it to Wilkins, who quickly fired it past Gillam.
As a shift was winding down, Novak helped make it a three-goal lead when he led a two-on-one rush down the left wing. He feathered a cross-ice pass to Ciampini, who backhanded it past a helpless Gillam with 3:21 left.
“We were really tired,” Ciampini said. “We weren’t really sure what was going to happen. We were trying to make a play. Luckily, [Novak] got it over the stick. I was able to find the back of the net.”
About shooting a backhander instead of forehand, Ciampini said, “I just wanted to get it on net, to be honest. I was really exhausted.”
The three goals stunned the Big Red faithful, and it livened the Dutchmen bench.
“I thought it was very important,” Bennett said. “To come out with a three-goal lead, I’ll take that any day of the week. It’s stuff that we talk about, but you can talk about it and practice certain drills to try to get the first goal. You’ve just got to be fortunate enough to get it and work hard to get it, and I thought we did that tonight.”
Union 0 3 1 — 4
Cornell 0 0 2 — 2
First Period — None. Penalties — Light, Uni (roughing), 14:36; Freschi, Cor (roughing), 14:36.
Second Period — 1, Union, Novak 9 (DeSimone, Taylor), 7:36. 2, Union, Wilkins 10 (Vecchione), 14:07. 3, Union, Ciampini 17 (Novak, Scarfo), 16:39. Penalty — Fiegl, Cor (hooking), 18:00.
Third Period — 4, Union, Vecchione 17, 8:41 (sh). 5, Cornell, Hilbrich 10 (Bardreau), 13:07 (pp). 6, Cornell, Buckles 8 (Bliss), 19:30. Penalties — Brassard, Uni (interference), 7:12; Foo, Uni (hitting after whistle), 9:55; Freschi, Cor (cross-checking), 9:55; Taylor, Uni (slashing), 11:17.
Shots on Goal — Union 8-14-3 — 25. Cornell 8-9-13 — 30.
Power-play opportunities — Union 0 of 1; Cornell 1 of 2.
Goalies — Union, Stevens 14-13-0 (30 shots-28 saves). Cornell, Gillam 9-9-5 (23-19), Stewart (8:41 third, 2-2).
A — 3,624. T — 2:13.
Referees — Cameron Lynch, Scott Whittemore. Linesmen — Jim Briggs, Jason Shattie.
RPI 3, Clarkson 2
POTSDAM — Junior Milos Bubela scored the game-winner at 16:50 — his first game-winning goal of the season — as the ninth-seeded Engineers won Game 1 of their opening-round series with the Golden Knights.
Game 2 will be at 7 tonight at Cheel Arena.
Bubela’s first goal of the game, at 9:18 of the second period, kick-started a three-goal spurt that gave the Engineers (11-23-3) a 3-1 lead.
Jason Kasdorf finished with 36 saves, as the Engineers were outshot, 38-17.
RPI 0 1 2 — 3
Clarkson 0 1 1 — 2
First period — None. Penalties — Asselin, Clk (hooking), 1:37; Prapavessis, RPI (holding), 16:18.
Second period — 1, Clarkson, Megannety 6 (Zarbo, Amorosa), 4:30. 2, RPI, Bubela 7 (Schroeder, Curadi), 9:18. Penalties — McGowan, RPI (slashing), 12:16.
Third period — 3, RPI, Miller 5 (Bell), 1:25. 4, RPI, Bubela 8, 16:50. 5, Clarkson, Gervais 1 (DiNallo, Fossen), 19:49 (ea). Penalties — Bourbonnais, RPI (roughing), 2:35; Gervais, Clk (roughing), 2:35; Nanne, RPI (roughing), 4:36; Megannety, Clk (slashing), 4:46; Miller, RPI (delay of game), 17:30.
Shots on goal — RPI, 6-4-7 — 17; Clarkson, 12-13-13 — 38.
Power-play opportunities — RPI 0 of 1, Clarkson 0 of 3.
Goalies — RPI, Kasdorf 10-16-2 (38 shots-36 saves). Clarkson, Lewis 4-7-1 (17-13).
Referees — Joe Carusone, Kevin Graber. Linesmen — Ryan Knapp, Dan Taggart.
T — 2:10.A — 1,727.
Categories: College Sports