Cornell Can't Find Magic Touch This Time
Frozen Four Big Slips Through Big Red's Grasp in Rough Third Period
by Jared Shafran/CHN Reporter
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. After Saturday night’s heroics against Northeastern, Cornell couldn’t find the magic to make another third-period comeback against Bemidji State in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Grand Rapids.
This wasn't necessarily a year where fans were expecting a Frozen Four run. But after a classic Cornell win against Northeastern, the Big Red had it right there for the taking. Sure, Bemidji State just throttled Notre Dame, and proved it was no slouch. But this was different than playing Regional Finals at Wisconsin and at Minnesota, as Cornell had to do in 2006 and 2005, respectively, when it lost both games in overtime.
This time, all of a sudden, it was right there, and Cornell was a "favorite."
But for most of the year, the team struggled to find offense and Sunday was no exception. That didn't go away just because it was Bemidji State on the other bench.
Nevertheless, the game seemed in its control after Sean Collins scored the first goal of the game, 12 minutes into the second period. A 1-0 Cornell lead, playing its game, not allowing BSU to gain any speed through center — this was a textbook effort to that point.
“One thing we strive for is getting the first goal,” said Cornell forward Colin Greening. “We felt we were controlling the play and taking it to them. We felt like we had them on their heels and then they tied it and the rest was history.”
Although Cornell was not shy with shooting the puck (it attempted 57 shots in the game as opposed to Bemidji State’s 26), it wasn't able to set up much after that first one. And suddenly, Cornell seemed sluggish and sloppy, and once Bemidji State tied the game, the Big Red lost all of their momentum.
It was also a tale of two halves for goalie Ben Scrivens. He did not see much action for most of the game, only making 17 saves. But when Cornell needed to mount a comeback, he couldn’t keep the Beavers off the board.
“That was a big goal for them in the third with their top line,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer. “We know that they are a great team when they get the lead.”
Unlike last night, when the Big Red controlled the play when they were down, they couldn’t seem to replicate that, and Bemidji State played well enough defensively to keep them at bay.
“We tried our hardest and they just didn’t get the back of the net,” said Schafer.
Cornell finishes the season with a record of 22-10-4 and advancing past the opening round of the tournament says something. But given how they started the season, it probably felt it could achieve more.
With Scrivens and Riley Nash returning for next season, theoretically, Cornell has a good base, but they need to find some more scoring if they want to make it back to the tournament next year.
“We put ourselves in an opportunity to get to the Frozen Four – it’s what you dream about as a team,” said Schafer. “It just wasn’t meant to be.”