POTSDAM, N.Y. – Senior Mitch Vanderlaan and freshman Michael Regush scored second-period goals, sophomore Matthew Galajda made a season-high 33 saves, and the Cornell men's hockey team claimed a share of its second straight Cleary Cup with a 2-2 tie Saturday night against Clarkson at Cheel Arena.
But given that Clarkson (22-10-2, 13-7-2 ECAC Hockey) scored the equalizing goal with an extra attacker on the ice and less than 43 seconds left in regulation, it didn't feel like winning a trophy or even tying a tough game on the road – it felt like a lost opportunity.
So while Cornell (17-8-4, 13-5-4) finishes co-champions with Quinnipiac for the Cleary Cup – ECAC Hockey's regular-season winner – the Big Red loses the head-to-head tie-breaker with the Bobcats for seeding purposes, so it will be the No. 2 seed for the upcoming ECAC Hockey Championship playoffs.
Given the way Saturday's game started, even a share of the Cleary Cup seemed unlikely. The Golden Knights came out the aggressor and outshot the Big Red 14-3 in the first period, scoring the game's first goal on the power play on a one-timer by Devin Brosseau.
Cornell regrouped and tied the game on the power play with Vanderlaan's ninth goal of the season. A shade over two minutes later, Regush's third strike of the weekend and 11th of the season gave Cornell its first lead.
If not for Galajda's strong play, it's unlikely the Big Red would have even had a chance to come back. He gloved a shot from the slot by Anthony Callin shortly after Clarkson's first goal, then he stopped Juho Jokiharju's one-timer just before Vanderlaan equalized.
Josh Dunne scored the six-on-five goal to tie the game late, scooping in a rebound after a pair of shot blocks by seniors Beau Starrett and Brendan Smith.
Cornell will now enjoy a bye week through the first round of the ECAC Hockey Championship playoffs, then start its postseason with the quarterfinals. The best-of-three series will be staged March 15-17 at Lynah Rink in Ithaca against an opponent to be determined.
How The Goals Were Scored:
Clarkson's 1st Goal
1st period, 9:57 • Brosseau 10 (Jacome, Callin) (pp) • Clarkson 1, Cornell 0
• With the Golden Knights on the power play, Noah Bauld blocked a shot near the high slot that was immediately passed along to Connor McCarthy for a one-timer from the top of the left circle that Galajda stopped. The puck went to the left half wall, where Callin dug it out and from the circle, Jacome alertly noticed Brosseau open on the weak side for a one-timer past Galajda's blocker.
Cornell's 1st Goal
2nd period, 5:19 • Vanderlaan 9 (Kaldis, Mullin) (pp) • Cornell 1, Clarkson 1
• Cornell capitalized on the power play off a broken play. Tristan Mullin won a battle along the board in the right corner, and Kaldis swept in to collect the puck. He zipped a pass across the top of the crease for Vanderlaan to tap in at the back post.
Cornell's 2nd Goal
2nd period, 7:21 • Regush 11 (Murphy, Motley) • Cornell 2, Clarkson 1
• The Big Red's fourth line possessed the puck down low before setting up a shot by Regush in the slot that was blocked, with the puck popping high in the air. As it came down in the slot, a mad scramble ensued. Regush made contact, then it bounced off a Clarkson defender's skates before Regush's second whack beat Kielly to the far post.
Clarkson's 2nd Goal
3rd period, 19:17 • Dunne 12 (Sturm, Moro) (ea) • Cornell 2, Clarkson 2
• With an empty net at the other end with Clarkson opting instead for an extra attacker, the Big Red tried to break the puck out of its zone up the middle of the ice – but the effort was cut down and the Golden Knights set up shop. Greg Moro took a big shot from the center point that was blocked by Beau Starrett, then Nico Sturm found the rebound and fired it only to be blocked by Brendan Smith. But the puck deflected right to an open Dunne near the edge of the left circle, and he pushed it into the vacated wide side of the net.