HAMILTON, N.Y. — Michael Regush steered in a goal to cap off a pretty passing play by Jeff Malott and Brenden Locke as a power play was expiring midway through the third period, powering the Cornell men's hockey team to a 3-2 victory on Friday night at Class of 1965 Arena. The victory gives the Big Red solo possession of first place in ECAC Hockey.
Mitch Vanderlaan and Tristan Mullin scored first-period goals for Cornell (12-5-1, 8-2-1 ECAC Hockey), which is ranked 11th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and 12th in the USCHO.com poll. It marked the 15th time in 18 games this season that the Big Red has scored first, and gives Cornell a 20-5 advantage against its opponents in first periods this season.
But in front of its largest home crowd of the season, Colgate (6-15-2, 3-6-2) clawed its way back into the game. Bobby McMann out-battled the Cornell defense to score his team-leading sixth goal of the season in the second period, then Josh McKechney swept in a rebound of a Willie Brooks shot that was stopped by Matthew Galajda to tie the score 6:14 into the third.
That set the stage for Regush's winner, which came as the Big Red's third power play of the night was ending. It was his first goal since he scored power-play goals in each game of a Nov. 9-10 series at Northern Michigan.
The victory extends the Big Red's unbeaten streak to eight games (7-0-1), which is longest active streak in the country. But it wasn't the effort it was looking for.
"Pretty disappointed with what's going on with our guys right now," said Mike Schafer '86, the Jay R. Bloom '77 Head Coach of Men's Hockey at Cornell. "I talked to them after the game. They've risen to the challenge and they got the job done here on the road, but we need a lot better effort than that tomorrow night. We need to come ready to play a lot harder."
The teams conclude the weekend series at 7 p.m. Saturday with a rematch at Lynah Rink in Ithaca. The game will serve as the fifth annual Courage Classic, which is dedicated to the children of Camp Good Days and features honorary coaches for both Cornell and Colgate.
How The Goals Were Scored:
Cornell's 1st Goal
1st period, 1:11 • Vanderlaan 4 (Malott, Nuttle) • Cornell 1, Colgate 0
• Nuttle spun the puck out from behind the Cornell net up the right wall for Malott, who drew a defender to him before slashing a pass into the middle of the ice for Vanderlaan to create a two-on-two. Vanderlaan hesitated toward the slot before shifting into a little bit of space on the outside, and his shot from the left circle slithered through Benson's pads.
Cornell's 2nd Goal
1st period, 13:10 • Mullin 3 (Betts, Vanderlaan) • Cornell 2, Colgate 0
• After a strong shift by the Starrett line with plenty of time in the offensive zone, Mullin came off the bench and tried to gain entry on the left wall. He bulled his way through one defender and chipped the puck past another, which allowed Vanderlaan to make a pass from the wall to Betts cutting down the slot. The puck bounced off his skate and back toward the left hash, where Mullin burying a shot under the crossbar.
Colgate's 1st Goal
2nd period, 5:35 • McMann 6 (Snodgrass, Penner) • Cornell 2, Colgate 1
• From the right corner in the Cornell zone, McMann passed up to the half wall where the puck popped out of a 50/50 and McMann started toward the middle. With pressure from defenders above and below him, he regained possession entering the opposite circle before ripping a shot over Galajda's glove.
Colgate's 2nd Goal
3rd period, 6:14 • McKechney 3 (Brooks, McMann) • Cornell 2, Colgate 2
• McMann helped dig the puck out of a scrum in the left corner, setting up Brooks for an open shot from near the top of the right circle. Galajda made a quality save on it with his right arm, but the puck trickled out toward the far post and was swept in from beneath a defender by McKechney.
Cornell's 3rd Goal
3rd period, 9:13 • Regush 4 (Locke, Malott) • Cornell 3, Colgate 2
• In the dying moments of a power play, the Big Red kept play alive from the right corner in the Raiders' zone. From the high slot, Malott slid a pass to Locke in the left circle, who then one-timed another pass toward the net front for a wide-open Regush to deflect into the wide side of the net.