November 24, 2012

Cornell Takes Bite Out of Michigan at Frozen Apple

NEW YORK – The first Frozen Apple proved a night to remember for the Cornell men's hockey team as it recorded its highest scoring effort of the season and got its first ever victory at Madison Square Garden with a 5-1 win against Michigan on Saturday night.
 
In front of a largely pro-Cornell crowd of 18,200, the Big Red offense got a goal in the first period from Joel Lowry, two goals and an assist from Greg Miller and a 22-save effort from junior Andy Iles. No. 13/13 Cornell (4-3-2) had not won in its three previous contests at Madison Square Garden, but the team knocked off No. 19 Michigan (5-7-1) by bettering the 3-2 win it put forth in the NCAA Tournament against the Wolverines in March.
 
Besides Miller and Lowry, Big Red freshman Teemu Tittinen also struck for his first career goal in his second career game. The Big Red's other goal came from senior center Erik Axell, and Michigan's lone goal in the third period came too late to threaten a Cornell team that was already ahead by four at that point.
 
While the Big Red offense was in top form, its defense played exceptionally, holding Michigan to 23 shot and only three in a stifling first period. The team played disciplined hockey, taking just two penalties and killing both off.
 
The Big Red had the first two power play opportunities early in the first period but was unable to break through and score. With a 5-1 advantage in shots on goal early, Cornell finally struck with its sixth shot on its third power play. Lowry was the goal scorer, taking a perfect feed from Brian Ferlin, hesitating for a moment and then going five-hole on Michigan goalie Steve Racine to put Cornell up 1-0 with 4:23 left in the frame. The Big Red had just finished killing off a Michigan penalty and spent 30 seconds with a four-on-four before Joakim Ryan emerged from the box and added the secondary assist on the goal.
 
Cornell also earned a power play in the last two minutes of the period as Michigan's Jacob Trouba committed a boarding penalty, setting up a power play that extended into the first 18 seconds of the second period. Cornell held a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal after the first 20 minutes.
 
The Big Red exploded in the second period, scoring two goals while wearing camoflauge jerseys to honor the Wounded Warrior Project. Tiitinen got things going thanks to a great pass from behind the net by Greg Miller. Tiitinen, standing at the edge of the right circle and unguarded, banged his stick on the ice to call for the puck. Miller obeyed, finding Tiitinen for the 2-0 lead.
 
Less than three minutes later, Miller struck to make it 3-0. The Wolverines tried to clear the puck out of the zone around the boards, but Reece Willcox was at the right point to keep the puck in. From there, Willcox took a shot that was blocked in front by a Michigan player and ricocheted perfectly to Miller in front of the net for the tap-in.
 
Despite the three goal lead, Cornell and Michigan were tied at 14-14 in shots on goal through two periods and Iles was in the middle of pitching a shutout. When the teams emerged from the locker room for the third period, the Big Red kept the defensive pressure up and added another strike to seal the contest. Axell was the goal scorer this time, setting himself up in the right place for a rebound of a Braden Birch shot. Dustin Mowrey started the play at the left point, dishing to Birch down low on the left boards. Birch's shot was saved by Racine but kicked right into the slot where Axell was waiting.
 
After Michigan's goal 9:25 into the period, the Big Red clampe down agn and did not allow another goal. After failing to score on a power play late, Cornell capped its night right after ending the man advantage. Ferlin started with the puck, moving up the ice swiftly in a three-on-two with Lowry and Miller. He found Lowry to his left, pulling Racine to that side of the net. Lowry hit Ferlin with a pass on the opposite side of goal, and the sophomoreh easily added a goal to his night.
 
The Big Red returns to Lynah Rink next weekend, taking on ECAC Hockey foes Clarkson and St. Lawrence. The Knights are first, dropping the puck at 7 p.m. on Friday. Cornell then takes on the Saints at 7 p.m. on Saturday.