Rare Slip-Up Ends Cornell ECAC Run; Big Red Await NCAA Fate
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. Looking at the box score of Friday night’s ECAC semifinal against Harvard, one would think the game favored Cornell. The low shot count is usually indicative of a Cornell team playing well and playing to its strengths.
But unfortunately for the Big Red, its opponent, Harvard, has also become good in those games. And after playing nearly flawless throughout a tight scoreless battle, one minor slip up was the opening Harvard needed to get a 1-0 win overtime win. It was Cornell’s third loss to Harvard this season, twice in OT.
“It was a very defensive night and it started really early on,” Cornell coach Mike Schafer said. “We had some great chances, but failed to capitalize on any of them and the one power play we had. It was unfortunate we had a defenseman fall down on the game-winning play. It was really one of the few chances we gave them and they scored.”
The Big Red now have to sweat a championship Saturday, with its NCAA Tournament fate in the balance. The loss took the control out of their hands. Cornell needs any one of Merrimack, Colorado College or Colgate to lose their championship game, and it will get in.
“We just have to have faith, now, that everything falls our way,” said Schafer. “Probably 99 percent of our lives are out of our own hands. We will go back to Ithaca tomorrow, take the day off and see what happens. That is all we can do. If it is meant to be, it is meant to be. If it isn’t, it isn’t.”
Cornell had to be pleased, really, with how the game went, other than how its offense struggled mightily to get going. The usual stars, like Ben Berard, Gabriel Seger, Max Andreev and others were held to whimpers. The Big Red had some chances to open the scoring, but those chances went by the wayside quickly as the Crimson blocked shots and Mitchell Gibson stoned them.
“I don’t think there was a whole lot of offense in the game, at all,” Schafer said. “We didn’t really draw it up to be a 0-0 game, we just drew it up to make sure we controlled the (Sean) Farrell/(Matthew) Coronato line. That line killed us earlier in the year and we were determined they weren’t going to do that again. The goal they scored was a tremendous play by the way and they made the extra pass.”
The Crimson defeated the Big Red a couple of months ago, 6-2, and its…