Quick strikes propel Cornell past Northern Michigan

Quick strikes propel Cornell past Northern Michigan

MARQUETTE, Mich. – Michael Regush scored on the power play in the second period, then Beau Starrett steered in his first goal of the season 75 seconds later to help the Cornell men's hockey team break through for a 3-1 victory over Northern Michigan on Friday night at Berry Events Center.
 
Cam Donaldson also a goal and an assist for 17th-ranked Cornell (3-2), which enters Saturday's rematch with Northern Michigan (3-6) on a three-game winning streak. Matthew Galajda needed to make just 12 saves to earn the victory.
 
"From start to finish, our forwards were relentless and played with speed and possession all night long," said Mike Schafer '86, the Jay R. Bloom '77 Head Coach of Men's Hockey at Cornell. "They did a tremendous job on backside pressure all night long. It was a good team effort. We blocked shots and kept things simple. I'm very happy with our performance."
 
The pivotal spurt started on the Big Red's third power play of the period, with Mitch Vanderlaan making a feed from the outside left hash mark to Regush cutting down the slot. He turned his stick to vault the puck over the glove of Northern Michigan goalie Atte Tolvanen.
 
"That was something we've been working on in practice," Schafer said. "(Vanderlaan) did a great job, firing it down there looking for a tip-in, which is exactly what Regush did. It was good timing, because we had some great opportunities and didn't capitalize just before that."
 
A defensive breakdown then allowed Donaldson to slide a pass from the far right point to a wide-open Starrett on top of the crease for a tap-in and his first goal of the season.
 
It was part of a dominant start for the Big Red, which made the most of the room afforded by Northern Michigan's Olympic-sized sheet of ice – 15 feet wider than the standard North American rink. Cornell yielded just seven shots on goal over the first 40 minutes. At the tail end was the Big Red's successful kill of Northern Michigan's 63-second two-man advantage.
 
"I think a lot of our guys learned their lesson from last year at Lake Placid," said Schafer, referring to the team's ECAC Hockey semifinal loss to Princeton on the country's most famous Olympic-sized sheet. "So we did some ironing out on our power play, and the penalty kill was huge. Not throwing it away or passing blindly is something makes us good. And on an Olympic sheet, if you don't do that then you'll do well."
 
Donaldson got the scoring started with his third strike in five games, already matching his goal total from last season. A feed from linemate Vanderlaan freed Donaldson up from in tight, and he lifted a shot over Tolvanen's glove to give the visitors a lead just 3:13 in.
 
While the Wildcats didn't generate much in terms of scoring chances in the opening stanza, a Cornell defensive miscue allowed the hosts to even the score. Galajda attempted to play the puck from outside the right post to a defender in the corner, but Mitchel Slattery intercepted and quickly whipped the puck from along the goal line toward the crease, where it clattered off Galajda's skate and into the net.
 
The Big Red concludes the program's first regular-season trip to the Upper Peninsula with a rematch against Northern Michigan at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at Berry Events Center.