After going more than five years between overtime victories, the Cornell men’s hockey team turned in two within a span of 24 hours to complete a non-league sweep of Alaska this weekend at Lynah Rink. Junior forward Matt Stienburg provided the heroics on Saturday, scoring the winner 80 seconds into the extra session to punctuate a 1-0 victory. Freshman Joe Howe made 20 saves to record a shutout in his first collegiate start.
The path to the winning goal actually started with 8.4 seconds remaining in the third period, when a penalty was called when Stienburg was collided with heavily away from the play in the neutral zone. After a video review of the play, a major penalty for contact to the head was called on the offending player. While little came of the man advantage before the end of regulation, the scenario led to overtime essentially being spent on the man advantage. Furthermore, college hockey’s new overtime rules dictate three-on-three play in the extra frame — though should a power-play situation arise as it did in this case, it results in a four-on-three power play.
Cornell (2-0) took full advantage of the situation, both in exhibited patience and usage of the extra space on the ice. It was also at least some atonement of disappointing weekend on the power play, with the winner proving to be the Big Red’s lone strike on the man advantage in 10 chances over the weekend.
Senior forward Max Andreev worked the puck from high in the offensive zone to junior forward Ben Berard toward the bottom of the right circle. As the defenders shifted, Stienburg drifted away from his post near the top of the crease into the low slot to open himself up for a pass from Berard. His one-timer didn’t miss, beating Alaska goaltender Gustavs Davis Grigals to the stick side and sending the crowd of 2,864 fans into euphoric celebration.