ALBANY, NY – Seventh-ranked Cornell (20-8-4, 14-5-3) opened a 0-0 game with what would prove to be the game-winner with 5:25 remaining in the second period and then added a pair of third-period goals to earn a 3-0 victory over the 11th-seeded Brown men’s hockey team (12-20-4, 7-12-4) in the ECAC semifinals on Friday afternoon at the Times Union Center.
The two teams were even on the scoreboard through the first period, with Brown holding an 11-6 advantage in shots during the opening 20 minutes. Things were relatively quiet during the first 15 minutes of the period, but the Bears started to pick up the intensity towards the latter part of the period, earning a pair of solid scoring chances.
The first came with just over five minutes left in the period when Brown had possession for nearly a minute inside the Cornell zone. Senior captain Jordan Pietrus (Winnipeg, MAN), back in the lineup after missing the past two months with an injury, had two shots from in close that Ben Scrivens was able to save to keep the game scoreless.
After a brief shift by the Big Red, freshman Chris Zaires (Aberdeen, NJ) worked into the zone and got around his defenseman, and had a partially open net to shoot at. However, his wrist shot from the left faceoff circle went wide of the net, as the game remained scoreless.
Brown opened the second period with 43 seconds remaining on a power play, but couldn’t gain any momentum off the man-advantage. Cornell thoroughly dominated the frame, outshooting Brown, 12-3, and taking a 1-0 lead on a goal by Locke Jillson with 4:25 left in the period.
The Big Red extended their lead to 2-0 6:40 into the third period when John Esposito’s shot from the left faceoff circle beat sophomore Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) near-side with the two teams each skating four players.
Less than a minute after the goal, and with Cornell on the power play, sophomore Bobby Farnham (North Andover, MA) had a short-handed breakaway chance, but Scrivens came out of the net to take away the angle and Farnham’s shot from the slot hit the senior goalie in his chest.
With just about seven minutes remaining in the game, junior Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT) fed sophomore Jack Maclellan (Calgary, ALB) in the slot for a one-on-one, but the puck was just ahead of Maclellan and he couldn’t get the shot off before Scrivens recovered.
Cornell raced down the other way and with Brown at the end of its shift, Colin Greening dropped the puck for Riley Nash in the neutral zone and the junior center wristed a shot from the right side that beat Clemente glove-side at 13:40.
The Bears pulled Clemente in favor of the extra attacker with 45 seconds left, and held the puck in the zone for the remainder of the game, but Cornell held on for the win, advancing to tomorrow’s Championship game. Brown will face the loser of the Union/St. Lawrence game in tomorrow’s consolation game, set to begin at 4:00 p.m.
Clemente finished with 24 saves, while Scrivens made 22 saves
for the Big Red, as Brown was outshot, 27-22.
CORNELL 0 1 2 x - 3
First Period – No Scoring. Penalties
–B, 1-2; C, 3-6.
Second Period – C, Jillson (Esposito), 15:35. Penalties – B, 1-2; C, 0-0.
Third Period – C, Esposito (Krueger), 4x4, 6:40; C, R. Nash (Greening), 13:40. Penalties – B, 2-4; C, 1-2.
B, Mike Clemente (59:15) – 6-11-7-x – 24; C, Ben Scrivens (60:00) – 11-3-8-x – 22.
Pictured: Jordan Pietrus ’10. Photo by DSPics.net.