The win is Cornell’s third straight, improving the Big Red’s overall record to 5-4-0.
“Tough start. I thought [Sacred Heart] came out and played very well,” said Mike Schafer ’86, the Jay R. Bloom ’77 Head Coach of Men’s Hockey. “We talked to our guys about it all day, showing them clips of how well they play, and still didn’t buy into it. I thought we didn’t play physical, we didn’t win battles. They outworked us. Then we got it going.”
Aidan Connolly opened the scoring for Sacred Heart (6-6-1) when Julian Kislin and Braeden Tuck used quick passes in succession to set-up Connolly for his one-time goal.
Despite the shots on goal in the first period being even, 7-7, Cornell struggled to gain any offensive pressure in the opening 20 minutes.
Coming out of the locker room, Cornell peppered Sacred Heart in the second period, posting 29 shot attempts compared to the Pioneers’ six. The Big Red had a 17-4 advantage in shots on goal – including numerous grade-A scoring chances – but Sacred Heart goaltender Luke Lush stopped all 17 shots to keep Sacred Heart ahead.
Lush concluded the night with a game-high 30 saves, while his counterpart, Ian Shane, improved to 4-4-0 on the year behind his 17-save performance.
Just over two minutes into the third period, Sean Donaldson drove to the net and allowed Penney to deposit a loose puck past Lush to even the game.
Beyond halfway through the third period, Jack Lagerstrom sent a stretch pass from behind Cornell’s goal to freshman Dalton Bancroft at the blue line, ultimately leading the Big Red’s go-ahead goal. Lagerstrom’s pass led to Bancroft using a deke to set up Mack for the eventual game-winning goal.
“Outstanding play to not only beat the guy, I think everyone anticipated he was going to shoot it,” Schafer said. “He’s got great hockey sense and awareness. Just having that poise to make that play was huge for us.”
Sacred Heart threatened late in the period when it had an empty net, but a pair of blocked shots by Ben Berard helped Cornell solidify the victory.
• Tuesday was the fourth all-time meeting between Cornell and Sacred Heart, and the first since Jan. 6, 2007. The Big Red evened the series with the victory, 2-2, claiming its first victory over the Pioneers since a 7-1 triumph on Oct. 30, 2004.
• It was the first time Cornell played on a Tuesday since facing ECAC Hockey and Ivy League rival Brown at Meehan Auditorium this past Feb. 1. Tuesday was the first instance of Cornell playing a Tuesday game at Lynah Rink since posting a 5-4 victory over Niagara on Nov. 21, 2017.
• Tuesday’s win marked the 14th time in program history that Cornell played on the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving. The Big Red is 9-4-1 all-time on the Tuesday leading up to the holiday. Under Mike Schafer ’86, the Big Red is 6-2-1 and unbeaten in its last six games under the circumstances (5-0-1).
• Jack O’Leary, Donaldson, Bancroft, and Mack each extended their point streaks to a career-long three games on Tuesday. Lagerstrom, along with his goal against Brown, registered his first career point streak on Tuesday following his assist on Mack’s game-winning goal.
• Zach Tupker was dominant at the faceoff circle on Tuesday, winning half of Cornell’s faceoffs on the night. Tupker finished the night winning all but one of his draws taken (16-of-17).
Cornell will return to action on Saturday when the Big Red travels to New York City to play nationally-ranked UConn at Madison Square Garden in the Frozen Apple. Puck drop between the No. 6 Huskies and Big Red is scheduled for 8 p.m. from the World’s Most Famous Arena. Game action will be broadcast on ESPN+, as well as WHCU (870 AM, 97.7 FM) with Jason Weinstein and Tony Eisenhut on the call.