ITHACA -- The Union men's hockey team was busted once for larceny, then stole into the night with the goods, anyway.
Shaking off a two-goal swing late in the second period that included Liam Morgan's score that was disallowed after video review by the officials, the Dutchmen (20-11-6) edged Cornell (17-9-4) 3-2 at Lynah Rink Friday night to take a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinals Friday night.
Senior Cole Maier tied it at 2-2 midway through the third period, and classmate Brett Supinski scored the game-winner on a long shot from the top of the left circle that deflected off a Big Red defender's shin with 4:32 left.
The Dutchmen shook off Morgan's disallowed goal -- on which it was ruled that Maier interfered with goalie Matthew Galajda -- and the apparent big momentum turnaround that followed to escape with a game in which they were outplayed for most of the night.
In a word, the Dutchmen stole one.
"That's fair to say. Yeah, that's fair to say," Union head coach Rick Bennett said. "They're not all going to be picture-perfect, are they? And tonight definitely wasn't, but these guys, between periods, I give the captains all the credit. They rallied the guys and didn't put their heads down. And we had some things to put our heads down tonight."
That included not only Morgan's disallowed goal, but a dreadful mistake by goalie Darion Hanson in the second period, after he had just about single-handedly kept Union in the game in the first.
Sebastian Vidmar gave Union a 1-0 lead at 9:37 of the second on a wraparound, then Cornell's Matt Nuttle tied it at 12:34 on a shot from the corner that found its way past Hanson despite his arm and leg pinned to the post and no traffic in front of him.
The puck thumped into Hanson's left pad, but it managed to trickle through a hole and just across the goalline as he tried to pounce on it.
"Once he gets below the circle, I have to have the jam there," Hanson said. "You're supposed to keep your arm up pressed against the post, and then you put your glove right on your kneecap, and what happens is your knee bends a little bit.
"I left a hole there and it went in. I thought I had it sealed. It's like my worst nightmare come true, because, obviously, that's a bad one. Our guys responded, and I can't tell you how happy I am."
They did so despite what could have been a crushing swing late in the second.
Maier rushed across the blueline and passed to defenseman Vas Kolias on left wing, and he took it into the corner and rifled a passed toward the crease, where Maier had put on the brakes.
The puck bounced out perfectly to Morgan skating in through the slot, and he easily buried it for a 2-1 Union lead. After a review, though, the goal was waved off.
"From what I heard -- and it's really tough to tell from the angle we have -- it looks like they said our guy [Maier], when he went to the net, he caught his [Galajda's] foot so he couldn't go side-to-side.
"But we're proud of the guys. They didn't get frustrated."
It could've been doubly frustrating when Kyle Betts scored his first goal of the season just over three minutes later, with just 1:02 left in the second.
Instead, Union took advantage of its few scoring chances in the third to tie it at 10:40 on an easy finish by Maier off a feed from Kolias on another rush, and won it on Supinski's goal, which benefitted from a screen in front by linemate Anthony Rinaldi.
"I saw a lot of bodies, put it on net, and it found its way," Supinski said.
"It was a huge turnaround [in the second period], but that's the way the game goes. You stay positive on the bench, and we didn't let anything faze us."
"It's a weird game, but it's playoff hockey," Cornell head coach Mike Schafer said. "I think they had two scoring chances in the third period, and both went in.
"Their seniors stepped forward for them tonight. That's what you need, and, honestly, ours didn't. Our guys are very prideful, and they'll come back tomorrow, and hopefully those are the guys that step forward for us."
"Anybody who was here at the game knows that we can play much better than that," Bennett said, ruefully.
Union 0 1 2 -- 3
Cornell 0 2 0 -- 2
First period -- None. Penalties -- Bauld, C (interference), 10:32; Taylor, U (interference), 12:48; Regush, C (hitting from behind), 19:37.
Second period -- 1, Union, Vidmar 10 (Rinaldi, Campbell), 9:37. 2, Cornell, Nuttle 3 (Locke, Barron), 12:34. 3, Cornell, Betts 1 (Mullin, Bauld), 18:58.
Third period -- 4, Union, Maier 9 (Kolias, Morgan), 10:40. 5, Union, Supinski 9 (Estes, Vidmar), 15:27. Penalties -- Ryan, U (hooking), :53; Emelifeonwu, U (charging), 5:53.
Shots on goal -- Union 4-7-9 -- 19. Cornell 12-7-15-34.
Power-play opportunities -- Union 0 of 2. Cornell 0 of 3.
Goaltenders -- Union, Hanson W, 13-8-5 (34 shots-32 saves). Cornell, Galajda L, 13-8-3 (19-16).
T -- 2:33. A -- 3,892.
Referees -- C.J. Hanafin, Robert St. Lawrence. Linesmen -- Dmitry Antipin, Matt Brady.