Greening, Barlow Lift Cornell to Title Game
Late Comeback Leads to Dramatic Double OT Win over Princeton
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
ALBANY, N.Y. Turnabout is fair play.
Late in the regular season, Princeton — arriving to Lynah Rink late, after its bus broke down coming from Colgate — stunned Cornell with two goals in 36 seconds, in the game's final minute, to steal a 2-1 victory.
This time, it was Cornell's turn for the dramatics.
Down 3-1 with under three minutes remaining, the Big Red scored twice to tie, getting the equalizer with 25 seconds remaining. Then, after an overtime in which it had the better of the opportunities, Cornell went into a second OT before Colin Greening roofed a shot past Hobey finalist goaltender Zane Kalemba.
For Greening, that moment was retribution for his own earlier mistakes — two third-period penalties, both of which nullified power plays. Ironically, as Greening had mentioned in a CHN article last week, his junior year has typified how far he'd come from taking bad penalties earlier in his career.
"I thought I let my team down. That's one thing I've done in the past that's really came back to bite us in the butt," Greening said. "The guys really bailed me out big time. Props to them. In the overtime, that was one of the biggest things, I wanted to make it up to the team."
Greening actually helped out long before his game winner.
After getting out of the box, Greening was on the ice for the tying goal, helping to create the play by doing what he does best — dig the puck out from the boards, behind the net. He got it to Michael Kennedy, who swept it on net, where Riley Nash was able to poke it in — after Princeton defender Taylor Fedun distracted his own goalie by dumping Cornell's Evan Barlow into Kalemba.
That was far from Barlow's only contribution. It was temporarily lost amid Greening's heroics, but it was Barlow — who now has five goals in the last three games — who scored a highlight reel goal for the ages, kickstarting the Cornell comeback. During the 4-on-4 that was created by Greening's second penalty, Barlow was sent back on defense. From there, he made a dazzling end-to-end rush, leaving three Princeton players in his dust along the way. In the end, he cut to the middle, deked Kalemba, and scored one of the prettier goals you'll ever see.
"Exactly that, we drew it up on the bench," Schafer quipped, about his intention for using Barlow on defense. "No. When we've gotten down in the past, Evan's played defense for us. He's a great skater, he plays on the point on the power play. He just brings a little extra of a guy who can do that; not so much go end to end, but he can really challenge in the neutral zone with his speed."
The comeback was further noteworthy for the amount of goals scored in the game. Cornell scored one in each of the two meetings this season with Princeton during the regular season. And the offense was struggling through the middle of this game.
"We didn't move our feet a whole lot when we came out in the second," Schafer said. "We tried to come out in the third, but that was a great goal by Cam MacIntyre, kind of took the wind out of our sails. The turnaround was Evan's goal, to come down on an individual effort like that, it really sparked us.
"Once we got it to 3-3, we really felt a lot of confidence on our bench that we were going to win it in overtime."
In a sense, Cornell can now relax, an NCAA tournament bid in hand. For all the amazing moments in Cornell hockey lore, this one ranked among them. Though the stakes were different — this was a semifinal compared to a final — it was instantly reminiscent of Cornell's 2003 championship win over Harvard, when it tied the game in the last minute and won in OT.
"I said to (Princeton coach) Guy Gadowsky after the game, that was one of the best college games I've been a part of," Schafer said. "Just a lot of character from our guys to come back. ... Now we have to re-fuel and re-hydrate and get ready for a great game against Yale."
As a result, the team that has never even been to an ECAC tournament championship game, Yale, will face the program that has won the most championships in the conference's history, Cornell (11).