Cornell Comes Back to Beat Princeton

ITHACA, N.Y. — Sophomore forward Mitch Vanderlaanscored two of the Cornell men's hockey team's three goals in the third period on Saturday night, helping the Big Red rally for a 4-2 victory over Princeton at Lynah Rink.
 
Princeton (0-6-1, 0-5-1 ECAC Hockey, 0-2-1 Ivy League) stormed out to a two-goal lead after the first period, but Cornell (3-3-1, 3-2-1, 3-1-1) scored four unanswered goals to salvage two points on the weekend.
 
After another sluggish start, the Big Red finally broke through at 13:20 of the second period on junior forward Jared Fiegl's first goal of the year. Passes by sophomore defenseman Brendan Smith and Alec McCrea opened up the center of the ice, and Fiegl whistled a shot into the net past the left ear of Princeton goaltender Colton Phinney.
 
Cornell carried the momentum into the third period and eventually equalized on junior forward Trevor Yates' power-play goal with 11:11 left. Freshman defenseman Yanni Kaldis fired a shot from the left circle that Phinney stopped, but Yates was free to jam in the rebound. The goal broke a string of 22 unsuccessful power plays for the Big Red dating back to its Nov. 5 game at Harvard.
 
Vanderlaan scored the winner with 6:20 remaining, though the goal needed to be confirmed by the officials' video review. Kaldis once again started the play by getting a shot on net from the left side, creating a rebound that senior forward Jake Weidner got to in the slot. His whack at the puck hit a defender and popped up in the air, eventually caroming into the net off the skate of Vanderlaan as he crashed the crease. Since officials deemed Vanderlaan made no distinct kicking motion, the goal was allowed to stand.
 
Vanderlaan then added an insurance goal with 2:12 to play after a Princeton turnover gave him an open shot while walking in from the right circle, and he buried a shot over Phinney's glove. That gives Vanderlaan seven goals in seven games — a Big Red first since Blake Gallagher started the 2009-10 campaign in similar fashion.
 
All of the Cornell jubilation at the end of the night seemed unlikely after the game's start — but Big Red senior goaltender Mitch Gillam kept the home side in the game. He was thrown into the fire early on as Princeton put on heavy pressure during its first power play. Gillam strung together three acrobatic saves on Jackson Cressey, Max Véronneau and Ryan Kuffner in a span of just a few seconds.
 
But the Tigers were eventually able to break through for two goals. The first came on Princeton's next power play, when the puck squirted free of a few bodies on the back wall to Eric Robinson in front, and tucked the puck around Gillam for his fifth goal in seven games this year. The visitors then doubled their lead with just 9.2 seconds left before the intermission on Joe Grabowski's shot through traffic from the left point.
 
Gillam kept the Big Red alive 1:12 into the second period when he snagged a point-blank shot from Véronneau after a feed from behind the net. He wrapped up the night with 20 saves to earn the victory.
 
The win extends Cornell's unbeaten streak against Princeton to nine games. The Big Red returns to action at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 against New Hampshire in the biennial Frozen Apple game at Madison Square Garden in New York.