Cornell wins first Ivy League title since ’05 with win over YaleFebruary 11, 2012 —
Photo by Patrick Shanahan
The Cornell men’s ice hockey team flipped the switch in a 4-2 victory over Yale Saturday night at Lynah Rink, winning their first Ivy League Championship since 2005 in the process.
The Big Red (13-6-6, 10-5-3 ECAC) re-staked their claim on the Bulldogs (10-3-2, 7-10-1), a team that won the 2011 Ivy League Championship and embarrassed the Big Red 6-0 in last year’s ECAC Championship game.
It was revenge at its finest and a bit personal according to senior forward Sean Collins, who had two goals and an assist on the night.
“I don’t think we really like them as a whole,” Collins said. “We haven’t had a lot of success against them in the past so it was nice to get two wins (this season), and I don’t think they were happy losing.”
The Big Red are 2-0 against the Bulldogs this season, a far cry from a 0-3 record against them last season.
The Big Red struck first on a goal from Collins, who slapped the puck past the outstretched arm of Yale freshman goalie Connor Wilson to give the Big Red a 1-0 lead four minutes into the first period.
Up 2-0 in the second period, a roughing penalty on Cornell forward Armand de Swardt gave the Bulldogs a one-man advantage. However, an interception at center ice led to a two-on-one breakaway, as forward Locke Jillson skated past a defenseman and slapped the puck top shelf for the short hand goal and 3-0 advantage.
“To get a (short-hand goal) was big,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “I thought they were just going to dump it and change (lines) but Locke (Jillson) kept on going and took the shot.”
The Cornell penalty kill unit played well, holding off six of the Bulldogs’ seven power plays.
Although a majority of the penalties were from skirmishes after the whistle, Schafer does not mind the roughing penalties.
“The penalty minutes (are) all because of scrums…I’m not concerned,” he said. “I like our attitude as far as sticking up (for each other). Being the least penalized team in the country hasn’t helped us…showing up and taking care of ourselves will.”
The Bulldogs only goal on the power play was from Brian O’Neill on a five-on-three advantage with the game well out of reach.
The Big Red received contributions from all four lines, which included goals from not only Collins, but also Jillson and freshman forward John McCarron, something Collins believe will help the team down the stretch.
“I think we’re tough to match up with when we’ve got four lines firing, and that’s going to be huge for us going into ECAC playoffs, and going into the ECAC Tournament and into the NCAA Tournament,” said Collins. “We got four lines that can match up really well against any other team in the country.”
The Big Red have four games remaining in the regular season, starting with two road games next weekend against Clarkson and St. Lawrence, and followed by a two-game home stand against first-place Union and RPI.
With the Ivy League title already clinched, the next goal is to hoist the ECAC Championship trophy and book a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010.
“We had a lot of practice in 2010 winning the ECAC,” said Collins. “It’d be nice to get another one come the middle of March.”