The Union hockey team did everything it wanted to do against Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens on Friday night.
The Dutchmen fired plenty of pucks on Scrivens, they created traffic in front of him and they got after rebounds.
But what the Dutchmen couldn’t do was get more than one puck past Scrivens.
The senior netminder was outstanding against the Dutchmen, making 29 saves, including 25 over the final two periods, to help the ninth-ranked Big Red to a 4-1 ECAC Hockey victory over the 15th-ranked Dutchmen at Lynah Rink.
The loss dashed any hopes of a regular-season title and means Union (12-5-4 ECACH, 18-9-6 overall) will be the No. 3 seed in the ECACH tournament. They will host the best-of-three quarterfinal series starting March 12. Cornell (14-5-2, 17-8-3) clinched the No. 2 seed behind Yale.
Union outshot Cornell, 30-16 and had more power plays than the Big Red (5-1).
“Scrivens was the difference,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “He was the difference maker tonight. It’s funny, no one is talking about him for the Hobey Baker. The bottom line is, he should be in that talk. He played outstanding tonight.
“We got deflections, we got traffic, we had a couple back-door plays. We had two where we slid it to the back door wide open, and he got over there. You’ve got to give him credit.”
Scrivens made two outstanding saves in the third period to help protect Cornell’s 3-1 lead.
First, he stopped a Mike Schreiber shot from the top of the slot during a power play, but the rebound got away from him. Kelly Zajac pounced on it, and it appeared he was ready to make it a one-goal game. But Scrivens slid to his right and his pad on it.
“I tried to get my stick on it, and get in on net as quick as possible,” Zajac said. “But Scrivens made a good save. He played great all game.”
With 2:50 left, Scrivens was moving to his right on left-point shot by Schreiber. Mario Valery-Trabucco was in the left circle and deflected it. It looked like it was going into the far side. Again, Scrivens got over in time to stop it.
“It was one of those split-second reaction things,” Scrivens said. “I could see [Valery-Trabucco] going for it. It was happening so fast.”
Cornell took a 1-0 lead early in the first period on a Riley Nash power-play goal. Then a fortuitous bounce on the Dutchmen’s first power play late in the first period enabled Valery-Trabucco to score his 20th goal of the season, and 56th of his career. He tied Chris Ford’s Division I team record for goals in a season, set in 1993-94, and surpassed Jordan Webb (2001-05) as the Dutchmen’s all-time career goal-scorer in the Division I era.
Valery-Trabucco was past the left of the net when he somehow got the puck past Scrivens.
“I was too far behind the net,” Valery-Trabucco said. “I just put it in front. When I turned, it was in.”
A unfortunate bounce off Valery-Trabucco led to the go-ahead goal in the second period. He was back playing defense at the end of a Union power play when Locke Jillson came into the Dutchmen zone. Jillson looked to pass, but the puck hit Valery-Trabucco. It came right back to Jillson, who got by Valery-Trabucco and beat goalie Keith Kinkaid at 5:32.
“I was going for a change, so I was a little out of position,” Valery-Trabucco said. “I tried to play him as a ‘D.’ It hit off my stick, and it went right back to him. He just beat me wide.”
Joe Devin scored Cornell’s third goal with 7:19 left in the second. Sean Collins got an empty-netter with 31.8 seconds to go in the game. . . .
Union concludes the regular season tonight at 7 at Colgate. The Dutchmen are 1-16-1 at Starr Rink in Division I play, and have not won there since Feb. 27, 1998.
Union 1 0 0 — 1
Cornell 1 2 1 — 4
First Period — 1, Cornell, R. Nash 9 (B. Nash, Krueger), 2:52 (pp). 2, Union, Valery-Trabucco 20, 15:20 (pp). Penalties — Welsh, Uni (tripping), 2:10; Greening, Cor (hooking), 13:30.
Second Period — 3, Cornell, Jillson 6 (R. Nash), 5:32. 4, Cornell, J. Devin 8 (Roeszler, Gallagher), 12:41. Penalties — Krueger, Cor (holding), 3:22; Scali, Cor (tripping), 6:35; R. Nash, Cor (interference), 9:44.
Third Period — 5, Cornell, Collins 5 (Gallagher, Ross), 19:28 (en). Penalty — J. Devin, Cor (slashing), 13:41.
Shots on Goal — Union 5-13-12 — 30. Cornell 7-5-4 — 16.
Power-play opportunities — Union 1 of 5; Cornell 0 of 1.
Goalies — Union, Kinkaid 11-5-3 (15 shots-12 saves). Cornell, Scrivens 17-8-3 (30-29).
A — 4,267. T — 2:08.
Referees — Mike Baker, Joe Carusone. Linesmen — David Brown, Andrew Suhovic.