Cornell's smothering defense leads the way
– No one Cornell player ever really sticks out over the
other. Instead, the Big Red come at opponents like the well-oiled
machine they are: wave after wave of stifling team defense.
in their 2-0 ECAC semifinal victory over the Brown Bears, it was
more of the same. If they weren’t cycling the puck deep
in the Brown zone, Cornell was waiting for the Bears at center
ice. Either way, there was no escaping the patient and methodical
way in which they approached the contest.
Abbott, Chris Abbott
McRae, S. Palahicky
Yann Danis, 59:02, 27 saves, 2 GA
Dave LeNeveu, 60:00, 11 saves, 0 GA
B 9/18; C 7/14
Plays: B 0-6; C 0-8
“It was a well-played
game,” said Cornell coach Mike Schafer. “We stayed
the course and had good offensive chances.”
Both teams had a tough
time generating any sustained flow during the first two periods,
thanks to a combined 15 penalties and 13 power play opportunities.
Generally, each team
rolls all four of its lines, a game plan made more difficult to
execute when special teams are on the ice for the majority of
get into a rhythm,” said Bears coach Roger Grillo. “It
was difficult to get four lines and all the kids into the game.”
Despite the scattered
play, Cornell emerged with the stronger scoring opportunities
and completely shut down any plans for a Brown offensive attack.
“I thought we
battled hard and played well defensively,” said Grillo,
“but I was disappointed with our lack of speed and flow
up front. We’re extremely disappointed in the outcome. We
thought that if we executed well, we had a chance to win.”
The Bears managed just
one shot over the first 20 minutes of play and only five more
in the middle frame. The third period wasn’t much better,
with another five shots on goal, but they were at least of better
fired 27 shots in the game, finally scoring late in the second
period when the most energized of its four lines (Cam Abbott-Chris
Abbott-Greg Hornby) capitalized on a Brown defensive lapse.
“Our line had
a lot of good chances,” explained Hornby, who now has three
game-winning goals on the season, and six tallies in all. “We
get big goals because we play hard.”
“There was a
lot of relief,” said Schafer, “and a lot of tension
released on the bench after that first goal. It’s fitting
that our warriors scored today.”
With the win,
Cornell moves on to play Harvard in the Saturday’s championship
game. And while most of the talk around the league has been about
a potential Harvard-Cornell rematch from last year’s title
game, Schafer said the opponent doesn’t matter.
could care less if we play Florida State tomorrow,” joked
the Cornell bench boss. “We don’t care who we play.
We’ve said all season that we wanted the opportunity to
get back to the championship game. It’ll be a faceless opponent.”
Moore, K. Turano
Murray, T. Byrne
Stempniak, M. Ouellette
Nick Boucher, 27:59, 11 saves, 4 GA; Dan Yacey, 30:42, 12
saves, 0 GA
Dov Grumet-Morris, 60:00, 31 saves, 3 GA
D 5/10; H 9/18
Plays: D 0-6; H 2-2
and defense win championships. That’s not exactly breaking
news, but the Dartmouth Big Green got very little of either in
the first 30 minutes of their ECAC semifinal and it cost them
dearly in a 5-3 loss to the Harvard Crimson.
Dov Grumet-Morris and five different goal-scorers leading the
way, second-seeded Harvard managed to hold off a late Dartmouth
run, including a penalty shot goal that pulled the Big Green to
within one, and advance to Saturday’s ECAC Championship
defending ECAC champs, will play top-seeded Cornell in a match-up
fans have been drooling over since the two rivals last met at
the end of January. Harvard stunned Cornell in double-overtime
in the title game a year ago, but has lost to the Big Red twice
already this season.
into this weekend, a lot of people wanted to see Cornell-Harvard,”
said Crimson coach Mark Mazzoleni, “but we had to get by
Brown and Dartmouth. We have tremendous respect for the Dartmouth
program, they are one of the best teams in our league.”
Even so, Harvard
jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 4-1 before Dartmouth could get
“It seemed like any mistake we made,” said Dartmouth
coach Bob Gaudet, “ended up in the back of our net. That
happens sometimes. But I’m proud of our effort. A lot of
teams would have caved in, but there’s a lot of pride in
Nick Boucher, the all-time Dartmouth wins leader, was ineffective,
allowing four goals in just 27:59 of play before being replaced
by backup Dan Yacey. The Crimson also hit the post twice while
Boucher was between the pipes.
On the other
side of the ice, Grumet-Morris continued his fine, yet unheralded,
play and improved upon his already gaudy statistics – second
in the nation in save percentage and third in goals-against average.
Harvard took advantage of Dartmouth’s early uneasiness by
flexing the muscles of its deep and balanced crop of talent. Nine
Crimson forwards and 12 players in all have posted double digits
of the big names were kept off the scoreboard, four of the Crimson’s
five goals came from players that had combined for 10 all season,
including senior defenseman Dave McCulloch’s first of the
year. Three of Harvard’s four lines accounted for at least
two points each, with the Charlie Johnson-Dominic Moore-Kenny
Turano combination registering five.
The Big Green
looked like a different team in the final 30 minutes, playing
with more emotion and creating better scoring chances than it
did in the first period and a half. Their work culminated in senior
Mike Murray’s penalty shot goal that made it 4-3 with less
than four minutes to go. But that’s as close as Dartmouth
would come, their early hole too big to climb out of.
may have sat on [our lead] in the third period,” said Mazzoleni.
“Once they got the penalty shot, it was a ballgame, everyone
knew that. I told our players, it was a lesson learned. We’ll
have to be much better tomorrow night.
goes in as the favorite, but we’ll play hard. We will have
to bring out ‘A’ game and we’re capable of that.”
Tonight's Three Stars
Abbott, Abbott and Hornby, Cornell That’s
no law firm, it’s Cornell’s “energy”
line of Cam Abbott, Chris Abbott and Greg Hornby. The trio
accounted for three points including Hornby’s game-winner.
They’ve played well as a unit all season, but if they
continue to contribute on the scoreboard, there’s no
beating this team.
Dan Yacey, Dartmouth He
had played in only three games this season and seven in his
two years in Hanover, yet he jumped into the middle of a storm
and was very solid. He stabilized Dartmouth, made 11 stops
on the night and gave the Big Green every opportunity to be
close enough to win the game.
Dov Grumet-Morris, Harvard Made
32 saves, including several critical ones as Dartmouth mounted
its comeback. Despite high national rankings, he wasn’t
even an Honorable Mention on this year’s All-ECAC teams.
AND HEARD AT PEPSI ARENA
(6-foot-5) Dartmouth rookie sensation Hugh Jessiman’s heavy
hit in the corner on Crimson defenseman Peter Hafner drove the
pane of glass into the first row of stands.
Harvard and Cornell will meet for the fourth time in an ECAC Championship
game with Cornell holding a 2-1 edge. The Crimson-Big Red rematch
will mark only the second time the same two teams have met for
the title in back-to-back seasons and the first since Harvard
lost to Boston University in 1974 and 1975.
netminder David LeNeveu tied the record for fewest saves in a
period (one, in the first) in a tournament game.
Brent Robinson enters Saturday's consolation game with 13 points
against Ivy League opponents in just 11 games this year, including
both goals in a 2-2 tie vs. Cornell on Valentine’s Day.
shutout was his nation-leading ninth on the season and set the
record for most ECAC blankings in a season. LeNeveu entered the
game leading the country in save percentage (.943) and goals-against
average (1.14), and improved on both marks.
penalty shot was the seventh in ECAC tournament history.
Moore’s three assists moved him past Ted Donato and into
11th place on Harvard’s all-time points list (146).
Charlie Johnson extended his point-scoring streak to five straight
games with his third goal of the season.
Tyler Kolarik (13-11—24) missed his fourth game in the last
five with a shoulder injury.
Penalty Killers: For diving in front of every shot and pass Cornell
attempted while on eight different power plays, including a pair
of 5-on-3 opportunities. Brown shut down the Big Red advantages
to the tune of 0-for-8. Cornell had come into the game connecting
on 23.6 percent of its chances.
College: Took a blowout in the making and made a game of it. Had
the Big Green connected on any of their five power plays, we may
still be watching the two clubs going at it. The final 10 minutes
included the most exciting hockey of the night – in either
Dan Murphy: For making himself the center of attention by turning
the Cornell-Brown game into a showcase for every penalty signal
in the rulebook. Here's hoping he took some notes on Scott Hansen’s
fine job in the nightcap.
Harvard Fans: Wasn’t the move from Lake Placid to Albany
supposed to make it easier for the New England teams? Despite
having its best season in a decade, the Crimson fail to generate
much of a fan base when they travel. Harvard fans are missing
out on some excellent hockey and, heck, Albany’s only a
two-and-a-half hour drive from Cambridge!
win, and Northern Michigan’s loss, Harvard moves one step
closer to securing at least an at-large NCAA bid. The winner of
Saturday’s ECAC Championship game receives the automatic
bid, but Cornell is already assured of making it, and virtually
guaranteed a No. 1 seed, based on its success during the regular
The Big Red
will be looking to avenge last season’s ECAC title game
loss to Harvard. It’s been the talk of the season on both
campuses, with the Crimson out to prove it was no fluke –
and to gain their first win over the Big Red since capturing the
question heading into tomorrow’s late game: Which Harvard
team will come out of the locker room? An impressive club when
clicking on all cylinders, the Crimson have allowed Cornell to
dictate the pace of games this season. If that happens Saturday,
it will be Cornell hoisting the trophy.