The Cornell Big Red Men’s Hockey team entered last weekend with a five-game unbeaten streak, having won two in a row, looking to extend its run of good fortune against Ivy league foes the Harvard Crimson and the Dartmouth Big Green. The Big Red looked to overcome an earlier road loss to Dartmouth and claim the season series with Harvard after a road win and a loss at Madison Square Garden.
The Big Red entered Friday’s game against Harvard after outscoring Arizona State 9-3 on their way to two wins the previous weekend. A big performance certainly helped motivate the Big Red and would be coupled with the increase of nearly 2,000 fans inside of the tightly quartered Lynah Rink for the rivalry matchup with the hated Crimson.
After the fish and newspaper balls were removed from the ice surface, the game got underway with both teams putting each other’s goaltender to the test. Sophomore Matt Galajda made 11 saves in the opening period and continued a strong showing after returning from injury the game prior. The 11 shots that he would turn aside would be the more than the nine turned aside by Michael Lackey in the opening frame for the Crimson.
After being outshot in the first period, the Big Red looked to add more shots in the second period and would be rewarded for its efforts just 2:07 into play. Sophomore Morgan Barron used soft hands to thread the puck underneath a falling Crimson defenseman and fed the puck into the slot where fellow sophomore Brenden Locke was waiting to net the opening goal of the game. Following the goal, the two teams would generate scoring chances that would be negated by the goaltenders until late in the second period when the Big Red would capitalize once again, this time with its tenacious power play unit.
After Harvard’s Wyllum Deveaux was sent to the penalty box for a roughing minor, Barron quickly won the offensive zone faceoff back to sophomore Cam Donaldson who relayed the puck to sophomore Yianni Kaldis. Kaldis immediately threw the puck on net, only to see the chance kicked aside by Lackey. While Lackey made the initial save, he redirected the puck to the top of the crease where Barron was heading after the initial faceoff win. Barron would sweep the puck into the net, giving Cornell the 2-0 lead, a lead they would not relinquish.
In the 2-0 win on Friday night, Galajda would go on to stop all 25 of the Harvard shots that he would face and would be given the following game off as fellow sophomore Austin McGrath would take to the net for the Big Red.Looking for another two-win weekend, the Big Red wasted little time getting on the scoreboard against Dartmouth as Brandon Smith’s rebounded shot was scored by Connor Murphy to give Cornell the early lead.
Early in the second period, the Big Green would answer and level the score at 1-1 before Cam Donaldson crashed the net and scored on the feed from Beau Starrett on a power play midway into the second frame.
About seven minutes later, the Big Red were on the board again after Mitch Vanderlaan ripped a shot from the right circle that Dartmouth goaltender Adrian Clark could not completely stop ended up in the back of the net.
In the third period, Locke would get on the scoreboard in back-to-back days with a wide-open goal after a great offensive zone move by Matt Nuttle. Starrett would go to tally the empty net goal with 30 seconds left to seal the 5-1 victory for the Big Red.
With the back-to-back wins, Cornell now moves 11-5-1 on the season, a strong position after the early stages of the season raised questions of the Big Red’s potential. A week of rest and preparations for the Big Red continues as it will take on Colgate in a home-and-home series this weekend.
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