PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Cornell men's hockey team followed the recipe to continue its winning ways for about 44 minutes on Friday night, but Brown countered for three goals in a span of 53 seconds in the third period to leave the teams in a 3-3 deadlock at Meehan Auditorium.
"We came ready to play in the first, but we obviously didn't come ready to play in the third," said Mike Schafer '86, the Jay R. Bloom '77 Head Coach of Men's Hockey at Cornell. "We wasted two good periods of hockey here tonight."
The tie bumps Cornell (15-6-3, 11-3-3 ECAC Hockey) up to 25 points, which is still good for a three-point cushion on first place in the standings with five games remaining in the regular season league-wide. Quinnipiac, which also had a tie on the road Friday night at Union, and Harvard now share second place at 22 points.
Tristan Mullin led the characteristic early onslaught for Cornell, scoring just 22 seconds into the game – the fastest goal off the hop for the Big Red this season. Mullin's forecheck and deft pass set up Mitch Vanderlaan'sgoal a shade over seven minutes later, and Cornell seemed to be off to the races again.
It's hardly the first time this year. Cornell – ranked eighth in both major national polls – has now scored first in 21 of its 24 games, and it's outscored its opposition by a whopping 30-6 in first periods alone. The Big Red hasn't surrendered a goal in the opening 20 minutes of a Friday night game since a Nov. 9 tilt at Northern Michigan.
The deficit could have been worse early for Brown (10-11-3, 7-7-3) if not for some strong saves from Luke Kania. He turned aside Morgan Barron's breakaway chance with his left should with 3:25 left in the first period, then Yanni Kaldis' open one-timer from the slot on a three-on-one three minutes later.
Sophomore defenseman Matt Cairns then pushed the Big Red's to three goals at the 11:48 mark of the middle frame with his second strike of the season.
But it all came crashing down early in the third period against a resurgent Bears team that is 8-3-1 in its last 12 contests – now including three of four points in consecutive games against front-running Quinnipiac and Cornell. Chris Berger got the rally started, then Colin Burston cashed in a rebound to make it 3-2.
Schafer, coaching his 800th career game, opted to call the team's timeout to settle his troops. It didn't work – Tommy Marchin knotted the score just 13 seconds later.
"It was disappointing that we got out there and give up (two) quick goals, call a timeout to get our guys situated, and then we go right back out with our supposedly our best defensive pair and our best defensive line, and they go right back out and give up another one," Schafer said.
Both teams had a handful of chances down the stretch, with Brown enjoying a couple of power plays inside the final four minutes of regulation and overtime. Cornell's best chance for a dramatic winner in the extra frame came on Mullin's shot from the right circle with 2:21 remaining that Kania got a piece of with his blocker.
"We'll go back and look at it (on video), but it's tough to swallow," Schafer said.
The Big Red wraps up the weekend at 7 p.m. Saturday with a visit to Yale in its final Ivy League contest of the year.
How The Goals Were Scored:
Cornell's 1st Goal
1st period, :22 • Mullin 4 (Vanderlaan, Kaldis) • Cornell 1, Brown 0
• After a pass between the Big Red defensemen in their own zone, Kaldis sent a puck to Vanderlaan with space in the neutral zone. He weaved up the middle before entering the offensive zone and leading Mullin up the left wing. With a defender close by, Mullin skated deep into the left circle before ripping a shot high to the short side over Kania's right shoulder.
Cornell's 2nd Goal
1st period, 7:35 • Vanderlaan 7 (Mullin) • Cornell 2, Brown 0
• The Bears had possession in the neutral zone near their own bench, but a forward half-fanned on a pass back to his own defenseman. That allowed Mullin to pounce on the play, and the defender's wave at the puck missed. After speeding around the defender on the outside to set up a quick two-on-one, Mullin maneuvered through the right circle before sending a pass across the top of the crease for Vanderlaan to tap in.
Cornell's 3rd Goal
2nd period, 11:48 • Cairns 2 (Murphy, Nuttle) • Cornell 3, Brown 0
• The Big Red defensemen connected on passes, then Cairns sent Murphy up the left wing for entry into the Brown zone. Murphy peeled off when he got to the circle, then worked a pass back to the point to hit Cairns in stride. He ripped a one-timer that beat Kania cleanly on the glove side, low and inside the far post.
Brown's 1st Goal
3rd period, 4:21 • Berger 5 (Dawson, Marchin) • Cornell 3, Brown 1
• The Bears came up ice on what appeared to be an innocuous two-on-two, but a Big Red forward headed to the bench to change on the backcheck to give Brown's third forward a step up ice. As Cornell scrambled to recover defensively, Berger trailed the played and cashed in a rebound.
Brown's 2nd Goal
3rd period, 5:01 • Burston 4 (Taylor) • Cornell 3, Brown 2
• After a Bears charge into the Big Red zone was neutralized, Cornell's defense had the puck behind its own net and looked to break out up the left wing. But the pass toward the forward was knifed down by Burston and allowed Taylor to get off a backhand from the slot. Galajda couldn't corral the rebound, and Burston beat his defender to the net from the bottom of the circle to smack in the rebound.
Brown's 3rd Goal
3rd period, 5:14 • Marchin 7 (Berger, Crozier) • Cornell 3, Brown 3
• Brown dumped the puck into the Cornell zone and it was retrieved by a defenseman that was stapled to the wall by Berger. Crozier took possession in the corner and waited for Marchin to work free from a defender in the low slot before hitting him with a pass. Marchin labeled a shot high to the stick side to tie the game.