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Locke’s three-point night helps lift Cornell over Rensselaer, 4-2

Junior forward Brenden Locke helped set up a pair of goals during the Cornell men’s hockey team’s three-goal first period, then clinched Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Rensselaer with an empty-net goal in front of a sold-out crowd at Lynah Rink. The victory is Cornell’s fifth straight, and it clinched a first-round bye through the first round of the ECAC Hockey Championship playoffs.

Alex Green watches his seventh goal of the season hit the net during the Cornell men's hockey team's ECAC Hockey game against Rensselaer on Feb. 15, 2020 at Lynah Rink in Ithaca, N.Y. (Eldon Lindsay/Cornell Athletics)

With the win, Cornell (19-2-4, 14-2-2 ECAC Hockey) — ranked second in the and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls — keeps pace with Clarkson for first place in the league with four games left in the regular season. Regardless of how the last two weekends of league play pan out, the Big Red now knows it will host a best-of-three quarterfinal series against an opponent to be determined March 13-15 at Lynah Rink.

For a fifth straight game, Cornell built a two-goal lead in the first period. Senior forward Noah Bauld swept in a rebound of a shot originally off the stick of sophomore defenseman Joe Leahy, then junior defenseman Alex Green doubled the lead just 18 seconds later to give the Big Red a 2-0 lead inside four minutes.