Men’s hockey demolished by Cornell in game one of quarterfinals, 9-1

Juliana Nikac

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Photo: Emma Robertson

Photo: Emma Robertson

At Quinnipiac men’s hockey media day on Monday, assistant captain Scott Davidson was full of energy and excitement. He talked about the thrill of playing in a packed house like Lynah Rink in Ithaca, New York this coming weekend.

Davidson was right. The home of the No. 1 Cornell Big Red was absolutely on fire.

But so was the opposition.

The second best team in the country used an onslaught of six goals in the second period (part of eight unanswered) to send the No. 9 Quinnipiac Bobcats out of Lynah Rink with a whimper.

Cornell flexed their muscles as one of the best teams in all of college hockey by defeating Quinnipiac 9-1 in game one of the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals.

This has been a special season for the Cornell Big Red. Mike Schafer’s men are 14-2 at home and have earned a point in all but three games since the start of December. Their defense, anchored by one of the premier goaltenders in the country in freshman Matthew Galajda, have given up 45 goals in 30 games. That statistic leads the nation by 22 goals (Clarkson is second with 67 goals conceded).

But even Cornell co-captain Mitch Vanderlaan, who returned from a six-game injury layoff to bag two goals, was surprised by tonight’s action.

“You expect every game to be really tight, a really tough game,” Vanderlaan said. “We’re all anticipating that tomorrow because that’s going to be one of those games that comes down to the wire… they’re going to come back and have an edge.”

The Big Red led the charge with a potent scoring attack that featured all four lines. Defenseman Alec McCrea, who was announced today as the best “Defensive Defenseman” in ECAC Hockey in a vote by all 12 coaches in the conference, tallied his first multi-point game of the season. Both of his points, a goal and an assist, were supplied on Cornell’s first two goals.

In total, 13 different players registered a point for the Big Red. Vanderlaan was one of three Cornell players, along with Beau Starrett and Alex Rauter, that lit the lamp twice. He alluded to the success of his team’s strategy and believes tonight was not just a one-time ordeal.

“We want to get pucks to the net,” Vanderlaan said. “We want to make sure we have a good net presence… moving our feet down low and making plays. And we’ll do that tomorrow (too).”

Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold tried to flip back and forth from starter Keith Petruzzelli (six goals allowed on 24 shots) to Josh Mayanja (3 goals allowed on 8 shots) to develop some defensive stability. Neither netminder was able to stifle a Cornell offense that scored 9 goals for the first time since Nov. 20, 1999.

The Bobcats will look to bounce back tomorrow night to push this best-of-three series to three games when they take on the Big Red at 7 p.m.

On the other side, Mitch Vanderlaan and his Cornell teammates have their eyes locked in on something else- pouncing on a vulnerable Quinnipiac team to get an extra day of rest before Lake Placid for the ECAC Hockey semifinals.

“If [we] can get an extra day of rest, that’d be huge. We’re going to definitely look to finish the series tomorrow.”

No Quinnipiac players or coaches were available for comment after the game.