Cornell squeaks by Quinnipiac in overtime

Cornell squeaks by Quinnipiac in overtime
by Seth Rothman
February 22, 2008

HAMDEN — Michael Kennedy scored on a rebound with 19.6 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Cornell University (13-10-3, 11-7-1 ECAC) to a 3-2 overtime win over Quinnipiac (17-10-4, 9-6-4 ECAC) in front of 3,387 snowed in patrons at the TD Banknorth Sports Center in Hamden.

Quinnipiac got off to a hard-hitting start on Friday, but Cornell was the first team on the scoreboard. After Quinnipiac sophomore Eric Lampe took a minor for boarding, Cornell’s Raymond Sawada deflected a Mike Devlin shot from the point through Quinnipiac goaltender Bud Fisher’s five hole to give Cornell the early lead.

Cornell struck again early in the second when Jared Seminoff found Patrick Kennedy all alone right in front for the tap-in.

But it was then when Quinnipiac started to fight back. 3:35 after Kennedy’s goal, David Marshall came into the zone before stopping on a dime. He fed Mike Atkinson driving to the net for the goal with 13:22 left in the middle stanza.

For Quinnipiac, the tally settled them down.

“I think it was huge. Our bench gets excited when we score goals,” Bobcats assistant coach Ben Syer said. “I thought that was a great goal. We talk about driving the net all the time and Mike Atkinson did a great job of that. Marshall did a great job of holding up and finding him in front of the net, but ‘Mookie’ did a great job driving the net.”

After a defensive-minded Cornell team kept the Bobcats off the scoreboard for the next 32 minutes, Quinnipiac was forced to pull Fisher with 1:51 remaining.

The move paid off for the home team when David Marshall found the puck on his stick and sent a shot high glove side towards Cornell goaltender Ben Scrivens. The puck went off Scrivens’ glove, popped into the air, and fell behind the goal line with 1:13 left to send the crowd into delirium.

“We had that great chance out front, but Scrivens made a great save at first,” Marshall said. “Travis made a great play forcing [a turnover], and the puck bounced onto my stick. I got lucky, and the puck found my stick.”

“Whenever you can score a 6 on 5 goal, that’s a positive,” Syer said. “We spent a lot of time working on that, so it’s an opportunity for our guys to see that practice helps out.”

But Cornell was able to capitalize. After Quinnipiac’s Dan Travis had a glorious chance gloved by Scrivens 45 seconds into overtime, Cornell ruffled the twine with 19.4 seconds remaining when Michael Kennedy scored on a scrum in front of the net.

For Quinnipiac, despite the excitement of their late goal, the final score indicates no points but lots of disappointment.

“It was a hit and miss game. I thought there were time when we were very good, there were other times when we lost a lot of battles,” Syer said. “At the end of the day, I think we were resilient to score late in the third period. That was something that we really needed. At the end of the day, I think we’re rather disappointed to not get at least one point out of this because I thought we fought hard and battled, especially late in the game.”

Cornell’s Scrivens, a sophomore from Alberta, Canada, has been sensational in goal for the Big Red all season, stopping nearly 93% of the shots he faces. On Friday, he was no different.

“He’s the type of kid, once he gets going and sees a lot of rubber, he comes into his own,” Syer said of Cornell’s net-minder. “That’s what you saw tonight. We were out-shooting them, we had some power play opportunities, but we just weren’t able to capitalize and he gained some confidence as the game went along.”

“We wanted to get on him right away,” Marshall said. “We know he’s a great goalie, a big goalie, so anytime we can get on him right away, we build a little confidence and keep his down a little bit. He played well tonight, obviously made some big-time saves.”

So now, Quinnipiac is forced to scoreboard watch. What they saw on Friday night might make them regret the loss of these two points even more. The three teams chasing the Bobcats for the 4th and final bye didn’t fare too well. Harvard defeated Yale, Union tied Clarkson, and Colgate was dismantled by Princeton.

That means Cornell jumps over Quinnipiac for third, Harvard moves into a tie for 4th with the Bobcats, Union stands one point behind the Bobcats for 6th, and Yale trails Quinnipiac by 2 points in 7th place.

So now Quinnipiac has to regroup for Sunday’s senior day. They get the day off, but they’re forced to play at the relatively early hour of 12:30pm. It will be a challenge for a team that will most certainly need a win to help keep their chances of a first round bye alive.

“We need to be more consistent,” Syer said. “We were a little bit hit and miss, we didn’t win a lot of loose pucks early on, we didn’t get a lot of pucks deep. We’re at our best when we get pucks deep and the other team has to come a full 200 feet to the other end. I don’t think, especially in the first period, we did a very good job of that.”

“I wish we got a win, but it’s good for us to build on especially at the end of the year here,” Marshall said. “We struggled last year at the end. To come in and see with a minute left we can still score, we’d rather have the bad bounce happen tonight than in a couple weeks when we’re in the playoffs. I wish we would have gotten the win tonight.”

“I don’t think there’s any debate whether we can [bounce back] or we can’t — we’re in a dogfight,” Syer said. “I don’t know how the other teams did this evening, but we were four points out of eighth and four points out of first [coming into play on Friday]. We want that first round bye, and we have to bounce back. Our guys don’t want to play that opening weekend.”

NOTES: Bobcats head coach Rand Pecknold was not made available to the media after the game. … Friday’s contest is the first game Quinnipiac has lost in overtime since a defeat at St. Lawrence on November 18, 2005. … Including tonight’s game, Quinnipiac is 3-1-10 in overtime games since that contest. … Sunday’s battle with Colgate will be televised by NESN.

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