The Cornell men’s hockey team scored three unanswered goals over a span of less than five minutes without two of its most potent offensive players on Friday night to rally for an impressive 4-3 victory over fifth-ranked North Dakota at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Freshman forward Kyler Kovich scored the winner with 5:49 left in the third period to push Cornell (10-3-1) into the lead for good, completing an improbable rally against a North Dakota (13-7) squad that had won 47 straight games when leading after two periods and was 61-1-2 in such scenarios since 2018-19.
Sophomore forward Jack O’Leary scored his first collegiate goal to start the rally, and senior forward Max Andreev scored his eighth goal of the season to tie the game to stun a home side that had taken a two-goal lead with 14:01 to play on a goal by Jake Schmaltz.
Junior defenseman Sam Malinski had the Big Red’s first goal on the power play to momentarily draw the visitors even at 1 in the second period before the Fighting Hawks potted a pair to take a 3-1 lead into the final 14 minutes. Malinski’s goal came on the power play.
Just as he had in his first collegiate appearance Sunday at Arizona State, reigning ECAC Hockey MAC Goaltending Goalie of the Week freshman Ian Shane made 23 saves in his first collegiate start against the Fighting Hawks. That proved to be the backbone of the Big Red’s rally, which started when O’Leary alertly tucked in a rebound of a junior defenseman Sebastian Dirven shot that was tipped by freshman forward Ondrej Psenicka off the end wall. It drew the Big Red to within one goal with 10:34 to play.
A little more than three minutes later, Andreev drew the visitors even when a goal-mouth feed from sophomore forward Jack O’Leary hit traffic in front of the net and popped free for the center to convert with 7:11 on the clock.
The winner came in similar blue-collar fashion. Malinski’s point shot was blocked, but a North Dakota defenseman’s attempted clear of the rebound was sniffed out by junior forward Zach Tupker on the end wall. He quickly turned a pass toward Kovich at the post to North Dakota goaltender Sean Driscoll’s left, but it slid free all the way to the right point. Malinski turned the puck back toward goal to force a save out of Driscoll, but Kovich worked himself free to slide in the rebound with 5:49 to play, completing the comeback.
“No overtime tonight.” – @KylerKovich (probably)
(?: Midco Sports / @MidcoSports) pic.twitter.com/KqLQOB0ADX
— Cornell Men’s Ice Hockey (@CornellMHockey) January 8, 2022
Shane ended the night with 23 saves to earn his first collegiate victory.
Cornell and North Dakota conclude the two-game series on Saturday.
Kyle leads sports coverage and hosts the Concrete Jungle podcast. Have a lead or question? Send it to [email protected].