March 20, 2005
Charlie Cook scored two power play goals and the defense limited Harvard to just 18 shots on net as the Cornell Big Red captured the 43rd annual ECAC Men's Hockey League Championship with a 3-1 victory over Harvard on Saturday evening in Albany.
"I'd like to say that I am very proud of our guys - I really thought that we battled tonight" mused head coach Ted Donato at the conclusion of the game. "Do I think we played our first game? Not by a longshot. But I think that ultimately, you have to give Cornell a lot of credit. I think we were outplayed. I think they deserved to win - and they are a great team. I wish them luck in the NCAA Tournament."
With two Hobey finalists manning the creases, the affair expected to be low-scoring, and each goal precious. The Crimson managed the first strike late in the opening frame. With Cornell defender Sasha Pokuluk in the box on a cross-check, the Ctimson set up in the zone. Dan Murphy had the puck low and moved it to Tom Cavanagh at the half-wall. Cavanagh then moved it to Dylan Reese at the point, whose slapper eluded each of the bodies in front of the net and beat McKee glove-side.
While the first period was relatively even, the second clearly was dominated by Cornell, evidenced in part by its 14-2 edge in shots. The Big Red got the goal back midway through the middle frame. As a Crimson power play was expiring, Noah Welch shot was blocked, and the rebound was pushed out to Pegoraro, who rejoined the action from the penalty box. He went in one-on-one with Welch, and slowed up the play as he carried it over the blue line. He waited for a streaking Paul Varteressian, who crashed on the near side and beat Grumet-Morris stick-side at 9:35. Cornell pulled ahead with a power play tally less than a minute later. Cook was fed the the puck in the high slot, and he whistled it past a screened Grumet-Morris for his eighth goal of the season.
Another power play goal allowed the Red to pad their lead 6:35 into the final frame. The Crimson managed to kill 35 seconds of a five-on-three, and killed another 30 seconds before a clearing attempt was kept in the zone. The puck was worked down low by Mike Knoepli. Matt Moulson fed it out to Cook at the point, and a screen in front allowed his slapper to find the back of the net.
The Crimson pressed in the final 2:30, pulling Grumet-Morris for an extra skater. The Cornell defense held strong as the seconds ticked away, denying Harvard a chance to inch closer and securing the title for the Big Red.
Harvard is all but guaranteed an NCAA bid when the field is announced on Sunday morning at 11 am. The selection show will air live on ESPN2.
NOTES: Kevin Du was named to the All-Tournament Team. The Crimson seniors wrap up their ECACHL Tournament careers with an impressive 16-2-0 record and two titles ... Harvard is the first team since the 1974-77 Boston University Terriers to appear in four straight ECAC Championship games ... Harvard has allowed the fewest first-period goals in the country (11), and has allowed just one opening-frame tally in its last 11 games ...
FIRST PERIOD: Scoring: (H) Dylan Reese 7 (Tom Cavanagh, Dan Murphy) 18:23 ppg; Penalties: (H) Mike Taylor, boarding, 4:20 ; (C) Sasha Pokuluk, cross checking, 18:01. SECOND PERIOD: Scoring: (C) Paul Varteressian 4 (Daniel Pegoraro, Mitch Carefoot) 9:35; (C) Charlie Cook 7 (Matt Moulson, Topher Scott) 10:30, ppg Penalties: (H) Steve Mandes, high sticking, 1:25; (C) Daniel Pegoraro, holding, 7:21; (H) Tyler Magura, hooking, 10:02THIRD PERIOD: Scoring: (C) Cook 8 ( Moulson, Knoepfli) 6:35; Penalties: (H) Noah Welch, tripping, 4:03; (H) Ryan Lannon, tripping, 5:31; (C) Knoepfli, boarding, 12:23 Goaltending: Dov Grumet-Morris, Harvard, 58:07; 29 svs., 3 GA. David McKee, Cornell, 60:00, 17 saves, 1 GA. Shots : Harvard 8-2-8--xx Cornell 12-14-6--32; Penalties : Harvard 5 for 10 minutes; Cornell 3 for 6 minutes. Power Plays : Harvard 1/3; Cornell 2/5. Officials: Peter Feola (R), Scott Whittemore (AR1), Chip MacDonald (AR2). Attendance: 8,606
Dylan Reese scored the lone goal for Harvard