ITHACA, N.Y. – The Cornell men's hockey team extended its unbeaten streak to seven games and moved into a tie for first place in ECAC Hockey thanks to a 5-1 victory over Dartmouth on Saturday evening at Lynah Rink.
Five different players scored goals, and Matt Nuttle and Morgan Barron had two assists apiece for Cornell (11-5-1, 7-2-1), which now sits alongside Quinnipiac with 15 points in the conference – though the Big Red has two games in hand. And Cornell kept its winning ways going on Saturday despite not even having enough healthy skaters to fill the lineup.
"We had a (defenseman) playing forward and guys playing in all kinds of different positions," said Mike Schafer '86, the Jay R. Bloom '77 Head Coach of Men's Hockey at Cornell. "We didn't play great off the bat, but we got a big goal from Connor Murphy."
After playing just 11 games in his first two seasons on East Hill, Murphy has was playing his 12th game of this season. By sliding in his own rebound, he scored his second goal of the year and gave Cornell the game's first goal for the 14th time in 17 contests.
"He brings a lot of energy," Schafer said. "Even if you just look at the penalty he drew in the third period. His feet never stopped moving all the way down to the ice. He just wouldn't be denied."
After Dartmouth (7-9-2, 6-4-1) tied the game at 1 early in the second, Cam Donaldson and Mitch Vanderlaanscored on Cornell's first two power plays of the night to give the hosts a two-goal lead after 40 minutes. Since Dec. 1, the Big Red's power play has been clicking at a 40 percent success rate – which leads the nation.
Brenden Locke then cashed in his fourth goal over the last six games after highlight-reel moves and a set-up from Matt Nuttle, then Beau Starrett sewed up the game with an empty-netter. It was his sixth goal of the season.
With his two assists, Barron has points in seven straight – which matches a career high – and multiple points in each of his last five games. Donaldson now has points in five consecutive games.
Behind it all was a 22-save effort from Austin McGrath, who is now 4-1-1 through his first six collegiate starts. Matthew Galajda had started the Big Red's two previous games, including a 25-save shutout of Harvard on Friday.
"To give up just one goal on the weekend, it's a credit to the whole team – but also to the goaltending," Schafer added.
The victory also gives Cornell a sizable lead in the Ivy League standings. The defending champions are now 7-1 in the Ancient Eight, and the only scenario in which it wouldn't claim at least a share of the title would be if Yale wins its final six Ivy League games.
Cornell returns to action next weekend with a home-and-home series against Colgate. The teams meet first in Hamilton at 7 p.m. Friday before shifting over to Ithaca for a 7 p.m. Saturday clash at Lynah Rink.
How The Goals Were Scored:
Cornell's 1st Goal
1st period, 6:27 • Murphy 2 (Smith, Bauld) • Cornell 1, Dartmouth 0
• With multiple players from each team engaged in a scrum in Dartmouth's left corner, Bauld gained possession and stepped back into space before sliding a pass to Smith at the left point. Smith alertly one-timed the puck toward goal, because Murphy beat his defender to the net and was open for the deflection. Clark made the initial save, but Murphy found the rebound and converted.
Dartmouth's 1st Goal
2nd period, 3:02 • Demler 1 (Markell, Jasiek) • Cornell 1, Dartmouth 1
• With a delayed penalty on the Big Red, the Big Green won a battle in the right corner of the Cornell zone to keep play going as Clark started to come to the bench in favor of an extra attacker. Jasiek fed Markell for a shot from the point that made its way past three shot-block attempts, and Demler scooped in the rebound.
Cornell's 2nd Goal
2nd period, 10:20 • Donaldson 10 (Starrett, Barron) (pp) • Cornell 2, Dartmouth 1
• With Cornell on the power play, Dartmouth attempted to use the wall to clear, but the puck kicked out toward the center point for Vanderlaan to keep in. Barron passed from the left half wall to Starrett behind the net. He faked a pass out the other side, then turned back to find Donaldson crashing from the left circle to shovel in the puck past a confused Clark.
Cornell's 3rd Goal
2nd period, 17:12 • Vanderlaan 3 (Kaldis, Barron) (pp) • Cornell 3, Dartmouth 1
• Dartmouth gained possession in the corner of its zone and looked poised to clear, but Barron made a diving effort to poke the puck away and up toward Kaldis at the point. He passed across to Vanderlaan in the top of the right circle, and he ripped a shot that hit Clark in the right arm before popping over his blocker and sliding inside the far post.
Cornell's 4th Goal
3rd period, 7:55 • Locke 4 (Nuttle, Donaldson) • Cornell 4, Dartmouth 1
• Barron charged through the left circle in the Dartmouth zone only to have the play broken up and a Big Green defenseman flip the puck off the glass. Stationed at the blue line, Nuttle jumped to keep the puck in the zone. Donaldson yielded to Nuttle cutting toward the middle, then Nuttle toe-dragged around one defender before drawing the attention of the remaining defenders before curling a pass back to his left for Locke to pop into the empty net.
Cornell's 5th Goal
3rd period, 19:30 • Starrett 6 (Nuttle, Haiskanen) (en) • Cornell 5, Dartmouth 1
• Cornell gained control in its own zone with Haiskanen shoveling the puck toward the right corner for Nuttle. With Dartmouth effectively sealing the wall with the extra attacker, Nuttle slipped the puck back toward the middlle. Starrett swooped into open ice and fired from long distance into the empty net.