SCHENECTADY — Lo and behold, the Union men’s hockey team put together some successful scoring plays against No. 2 Cornell on Saturday night:
Sean Harrison scooped the puck off the endboards, found Liam Robertson for a quick shot and Vas Kolias “slithered in,” as he said, from the point to bury the rebound.
Joseph Campolieto drilled a slap shot from the point, and Parker Foo, who has been working on tipping pucks in front, redirected it into the Cornell net.
Later, the Dutchmen swarmed the crease, and Gabriel Seger scored when Anthony Rinaldi patiently waited for a passing lane.
For the first time this season, a team scored more than two goals against the Big Red, and although the Dutchmen didn’t put together a victory out of this spirited, entertaining game, they did build an important 3-3 tie as big home underdogs at Messa Rink.
Neither team led by more than a goal, and Brenden Locke’s score at 9:47 of the third period produced the final, but not before both teams had good chances in overtime.
Kolias said his young team is “almost done with our growing pains,” and although it was just one game, head coach Rick Bennett didn’t disagree with that.
“When they’re sitting in that locker room after the game and take off that jersey, knowing that they put a tremendous effort in, I think it’s a believability, that they can play with anybody,” Bennett said. “That’s what we have to take from this. That we can play with the best teams in the country and not only play with them, but have a chance to win.”
The Dutchmen stand at 4-7-1 in ECAC Hockey and 6-15-2 overall, while handing Cornell (8-1-1, 12-1-2) it’s second tie in the last three games.
Kolias’ goal at 14:45 of the first period tied it at 1-1, and Foo gave Union a 2-1 lead at 17:09 of the second on a play almost identical to his power-play tip against Colgate on Friday.
This time, it was Campolieto’s rocket from the point that Foo redirected.
“I’m a bigger body, so it’s good for me to be planted right in front of the net,” Foo said. “I’ve been working on tips for the last week, after getting that role, and it paid off. The ‘D’ getting the puck through was huge and made it easy for me.”
Cornell’s Michael Regush scored in transition to tie it at 2-2 at 1:23 of the third, then the Dutchmen struck on the power play again, as the freshman forward Seger scored his third goal of the season at 9:09 to make it 3-2.
The Big Red wasted no time tying it, again in transition, as Brenden Locke scored just 38 seconds later.
Cornell turned up the heat in the final minutes of regulation, but couldn’t get another puck past Darion Hanson, who finished with 31 saves.
“They [Dutchmen] did a tremendous job,” Cornell head coach Mike Schafer said. “They moved pucks well and were patient through the neutral zone. And did a good job of getting pucks deep and forechecking hard. Over the last seven or eight games, they’ve been playing solid.
“It’s hard for every team [to win consistently], no matter where you’re ranked. I told our guys, as a coach, I’ll take responsibility, with certain guys, who I didn’t think brought it tonight. Just because we’re winning, I can’t stay status quo.”
“It’s a good step in the right direction, and we’ll keep building on it,” Kolias said. “I think we were four deep tonight, which was really good to see. As Parker said, it took some time for us to come around and figure it all out, but you could see it coming together.”
“Tonight showed that we can do it. … It’s funny, it’s the old Herb Brooks line: ‘Now that you showed me, now I’m going to expect it,'” Bennett said with a chuckle.
“That’s the way it goes.”
Cornell 1 0 2 0 — 3
Union 1 1 1 0 — 3
First period — 1, Cornell, Mullin 5 (Betts, Bauld), 3:19. 2, Union, Kolias 2 (Robertson, Harrison), 14:45.
Second period — 3, Union, Foo 2 (Campolieto, Robertson), 17:09 (pp). Penalties — Kolias, U (interference), 5:07; Malinski, C (slashing), 11:11; Mitchell, C (kneeing), 15:44.
Third period — 4, Cornell, Regush 6 (Mullin, Dirven), 1:23. 5, Union, Seger 3 (Anhorn, Rinaldi), 9:09 (pp). 6, Cornell, Locke 7 (Barron, Malinski), 9:47.
Shots on goal — Cornell 13-6-13-2 — 34. Union 7-10-4-1 — 22.
Power-play opportunities — Cornell 0 of 2. Union 2 of 3.
Goalies — Cornell, Galajda 12-1-2 (22 shots-19 saves). Union, Hanson 6-15-2 (34-31).
A — 2,184. T — 2:28.
Referees — Robert St. Lawrence, Douglas Place Jr. Linesmen — Matt Brady, Glen Cooke.