No. 2 Cornell Tops Engineers

No. 2 Cornell Tops Engineers

TROY, N.Y. – The second-ranked Cornell University men's hockey team scored three unanswered goals en route to a 4-2 victory over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) on Friday night at the Houston Field House. With the win, the Big Red improve to 23-3-2 overall (17-2-2 ECAC Hockey) and clinch the Cleary Cup as the league's top team in the regular season. The Engineers drop to 5-24-4 (4-15-2 ECAC Hockey).

After a scoreless first period in which RPI enjoyed a 12-7 edge in shots, it was Cornell junior defenseman Brendan Smith (Centennial, CO/Omaha Lancers) who netted the game's first goal, just 1:33 into the second. Freshman Kyle Betts (Flesherton, ON/Powell River Kings) won an offensive zone draw back to Smith, who ripped a shot inside the left post for his fifth goal of the season.

RPI answered just 18 seconds later, as sophomore Todd Burgess (Phoenix, AZ/Fairbanks Ice Dogs) found classmate Jacob Hayhurst (Mississauga, ON/Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) streaking through the neutral zone. Hayhurst gathered the puck and beat Cornell freshman netminder Matthew Galajda (Aurora, ON/Victoria Grizzlies) glove side for his team-leading 10th goal of the year. Sophomore TJ Samec (St. Paul, MN/Brookings Blizzard) picked up the secondary assist.

Junior Anthony Angello (Manlius, NY/Omaha Lancers) gave the visitors the lead back for good at 12:07 of the second, burying a one-timer in front of the RPI net for his 13th tally of the campaign. Sophomore blueliner Yanni Kaldis (Montreal, PQ/Nanaimo Clippers) delivered the centering pass onto Angello's tape for the easy finish. Freshman Brenden Locke (Iroquois Falls, ON/Cobourg Cougars) also claimed a helper on the play.

The Big Red netted the eventual game-winning goal at 1:24 of the third, as freshman Morgan Barron (Halifax, NS/St. Andrew's College) beat Rensselaer freshman goaltender Lindon Marshall (Victoria, BC/Trail Smoke Eaters) five-hole from the low right circle. Senior Trevor Yates (Beaconsfield, PQ/Deerfield Academy) and freshman Cam Donaldson (Pittsboro, NC/Powell River Kings) had the assists on Barron's fifth of the year.

Freshman Cody Haiskanen (Fargo, ND/Fargo Force) walked in from the left point and netted his first collegiate goal at 11:26 of the third, giving Cornell a 4-1 advantage. Yates and Barron were credited with the assists.

RPI pulled to within 4-2 at 16:17, when sophomore Patrick Polino (Buffalo, NY/Lincoln Stars) took advantage of a screen in front of Galajda to register his second goal of the season. Samec dropped a pass off to Polino at the top of the zone, before he skated to left wall and threw a shot on net. Junior Evan Tironese (Qualicum Beach, BC/Alberni Valley Bulldogs) provided the disruption in front of the Cornell net and the puck found its way home. Hayhurst picked up the second assist.

Galajda (19-3-2) finished with 27 saves, including 12 in the first period and 13 in the third. Marshall (4-17-2) also had 27 stops with 20 coming in the final two stanzas. Both teams wound up 0 for 2 on the power play. Rensselaer hit three posts on the night.

The Engineers are back in action tomorrow night, when they host Colgate University in the 41st Annual Big Red Freakout! Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm. Cornell visits Union College tomorrow night (7pm).