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Cornell falls to Minnesota Duluth in season opener 

Derek Daschke’s goal with 1:41 left in regulation proved to be the game-winning goal for No. 19-ranked Minnesota Duluth as the Bulldogs handed No. 20-ranked Cornell a loss in its regular-season opener at Amsoil Arena on Friday night.

Wyatt Kaiser and Ben Steeves joined Daschke in the scoring column for the Bulldogs (3-4-0), who snapped its four-game losing skid. Zach Stejskal made 34 saves for Minnesota Duluth.

Sophomore Jack O’Leary and freshman Winter Wallace scored for Cornell (0-1-0) in its season opener. Fellow sophomore Ian Shane made 29 saves between the pipes for the Big Red (0-1-0).

“Being our first game of the year, on the road, the first shot that went in on us was kind of a seeing-eye shot through from the blue line and then our guys did a good job and had to kill off a couple penalties,” said Mike Schafer ’86, the Jay R. Bloom ’77 Head Coach of Men’s Hockey.

“I thought we played a really solid [second] period. It was unfortunate right near the end of the second that we end up getting scored on because we kind of wasted a tremendous period. Then again, bounced back early in the third and made it 2-2. It seemed like we were gassed and they took it to us pretty good for the second half of the third period.”

Kaiser opened the scoring with a wrist shot from the point that found its way through traffic in front of the net, putting Minnesota Duluth ahead 1-0 just over three minutes into the contest.

O’Leary evened the game with 9:01 left in the second period, quickly wrapping around Minnesota Duluth’s net and ripped a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle in a small gap on the short side of the net. Ondrej Psenicka and Kyle Penney were credited with assists on O’Leary’s goal.

Steeves put an end to a dominant period for Cornell as his wrist shot from the left faceoff circle found twine with 73 seconds left in the period, giving the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead heading into the locker room.

Cornell ended up outshooting Minnesota Duluth in the second period by a 20-11 margin.

A turnover by Minnesota Duluth proved to be costly, aiding the Big Red to tie the game early in the third period. Zach Tupker chipped the puck off the glass in the Big Red’s defensive zone leading to Daschke misplaying the puck. Bancroft pounced on the turnover, setting up Winter Wallace with a one-timer for his first collegiate goal. The assist was also Bancroft’s first collegiate point.

Daschke avenged his turnover by scoring the game-winning goal on a wrist shot from the mid-slot with 1:41 remaining.

Game Notes

• Friday was the third all-time meeting between Cornell and Minnesota Duluth, but the first to have taken place at either team’s home rink. The previous two meetings happened at neutral sites (1968 in Syracuse, N.Y.; 2005 in Estero, Fla.). With the win, Minnesota Duluth evened the series at 1-1-1.

• O’Leary’s goal was the second of his collegiate career and his first since logging his first-ever tally against North Dakota on Jan. 7, 2022.

• Psenicka increased his point streak to a career-long four games with his assist on O’Leary’s goal. The Praha, Czechia, native has an assist in each of his last four games and has seven assists in his last 10 games, dating back to last season.

• O’Leary, Travis Mitchell, and Max Andreev each blocked three shots on the night, aiding Cornell to doubling up Minnesota Duluth in blocked shots, 16-8.

• Cornell outshot Minnesota Duluth by a 36-32 margin, highlighted by the 20-11 advantage in the second period.

Looking Ahead

Cornell and Minnesota Duluth will square off at Amsoil Arena on Saturday as the Big Red looks to split the two-game series. Puck drop between the Big Red and Bulldogs is set for 8 p.m. ET. Game action will be broadcast on NCHC.tv.

“I expect our guys to come back and play better tomorrow, play more patient, and be a better hockey team,” Schafer said.



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