No. 9 Cornell Downs No. 6 Union, 4-1 in ECAC Hockey Semifinals

LAKE PLACID, NY --  Noah Bauld and Jake Weidner scored second period goals to lead #9 Cornell University to a 4-1 victory over #6 Union College in an ECAC Hockey Semifinal Game at 1980 Rink at Herb Brooks Arena Friday night. Cornell, now 21-7-5, will place #5 Harvard Saturday night for the championship after the Crimson defeated Quinnipiac, 4-1 in the earlier semifinal.

Union, 25-9-3, had a seven game undefeated streak snapped. The Dutchmen will await the announcement of a possible selection to the NCAA Playoffs, which will be announced Sunday on ESPN U at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time.

On the ice prior to the game, Union senior Mike Vecchione was presented the Player of the Year Award from ECAC Hockey Commissioner Steve Hagwell. Head Coach Rick Bennett received the Tim Taylor Coach of the Year Award also on the ice prior to the contest. Vecchione entered the game with 22 points in 15 career playoff games, and 13 points and a +7 in 12 career games against Cornell.

The first few minutes on the big Olympic ice sheet produced some good scoring chances. Union had a two-on-one but a Ryan Scarfo drive from the right circle was deflected by the defender just 1:39 in. A shot from the left side by Sebastian Vidmar after a Cornell defensive giveaway at 2:41 was stopped by Coon. At the four minute mark, Cornell's Trevor Yates was alone on the doorstep but Sakellaropoulos made the stop. Cornell got the first power play at 6:01 and Sakellaropoulos made four stops during the man down, including back-to-back drives from 47 second in. Later, at 10:47, a flurry in the Union zone created a shot at the point and was stopped and then saved again off a close rebound. Weidner took a shot from the mid point at 12:33 that was saved, and in the final minute, Cornell's Mitch Vanderlaan got a wrister off between the circles that was the 20th save of the period for the Union netminder. Union had a chance for the first goal of the night with seven seconds left but a Maier shot was saved high by Coon.

The Big Red had a 21-7 shot advantage for the period, which was tied for the most shots allowed by Union in a period this season. Sakellaropoulos also made 20 saves in the third period of a 5-2 win at Quinnipiac on December 3 this season.

Cornell took the 1-0 lead at 3:23 of the second. Dwyer Tschantz took a wrap around shot from the left of the Union net that hit the right post. But the rebound came directly out in front where Noah Bauld was there to bang it in for his third of the season for the Big Red. At 12:55 the Big Red took a 2-0 lead on a power play goal by Weidner. The sophomore took a one-timer from the left circle after a cross ice pass in the zone from Patrick McCarron. Jeff Kubiak also got an assist after feeding it up from the back line. The Dutchmen had their chances to light the lamp in the final six minutes, including a drive from the left point from J.C. Brassard and a slapper from Brett Supinski between the circles. But although the Dutchmen had a 9-6 shot advantage in the period, the Big Red took a 2-0 lead into the third. Cornell had a 16-2-2 record when leading after two periods.

Union got a power play opportunity at 6:31 and converted to make it 2-1. Spencer Foo was on the right dot and hit shot rebounded in front to Cole Maier, who backhanded in his 15th of the season at 7:23. This was the third straight game with a goal for Maier, while Foo made it an eight game point streak (seven goals and seven assists in that span). It was also Foo's 36th assist of the season, as he continued to add to that Union record.

Cornell's Bauld looked to add insurance with 4:04 left in the third, and almost did so. But his drive from the right circle hit the crossbar. Cornell did add the insurance with 3:12 remaining. Eric Freschi tipped in a drive from Alex Rauter, as Freschi was in front just outside the crease to score his second of the season. The Big Red made it 4-1 with 2:10 left on a bang in rebound goal by Beau Starrett, his fourth of the winter, with an assist by Anthony Angello. Cornell improved to 2-0-1 against Union this season.

Sakellaropoulos made 29 saves while Cornell's Gillam stopped 33, as Union had a 34-33 shot advantage for the contest.