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Offense leads #18 Cornell to sweep of #11 Arizona State

  • / Updated:
  • Kyle Evans 

A two-goal first period, followed by single markers in the second and third periods, lifted the No. 18-ranked Cornell men’s hockey team to a 4-1 victory over No. 11-ranked Arizona State to sweep a two-game series at Mullett Arena on Saturday evening.

Senior forward Gabriel Seger registered the lone multi-point night for either side for the second straight night, assisting on a pair of Big Red goals. Finding the back of the net for Cornell were freshmen Ben Robertson and Ryan Walsh, along with sophomore forward Nick DeSantisand junior defenseman Hank Kempf.

Junior goaltender Ian Shane shined between the pipes for Cornell (8-4-3), stopping 19 out of the 20 shots he faced.

Matthew Kopperud tallied the lone tally on the power play for Arizona State (16-5-5), who was swept on home ice for the first time on the season and for the first time since Feb. 24-25, 2023, against Alaska.

TJ Semptimphelter started the contest in goal for the Sun Devils before being pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots in just over 21 minutes. Gibson Homer saved all 22 shots he faced in relief.

Cornell had an early power-play chance as Semptimphelter made a spectacular save on a rebound shot attempt by Walsh on the doorstep to keep the contest scoreless until a high-sticking penalty wiped out the Big Red’s man advantage.

Junior forward Sullivan Mack had a breakaway chance in the waning seconds of Arizona State’s power play, but Semptimphelter sprawled out to halt Mack’s forehand shot.

DeSantis gave the Big Red the lead when he netted his second goal of the weekend after back-handing a loose rebound into a yawning Arizona State goal following a shot from the right point by freshman defenseman Hoyt Stanley. Seger notched the first of his two assists on the night to increase his point streak to four games.

Kempf increased Cornell’s lead three minutes later when his snapshot was lasered into the goal from the top of the left faceoff circle. Junior forward Kyle Penney and Seger were credited with the assists, which was Kempf’s first goal since notching his first collegiate goal against RPI on Jan. 7, 2023, snapping a 32-game goalless drought.

Robertson opened the scoring in the second period rather quickly, depositing a wrist shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle over the near shoulder of Semptimphelter to extend the Big Red’s lead to 3-0.

The tally ultimately chased Semptimphelter out of the game as Arizona State head coach Greg Powers brought Homer off the bench.

Following a slashing penalty to junior defenseman Michael Suda, the Big Red generated two short-handed chances, but Homer stopped both shots to keep the Sun Devils’ deficit at three. Penney had his breakaway stopped by Homer’s right pad before Robertson had his wrist shot blockered aside during a 2-on-1 chance with Mack.

Just past the halfway point of the third period, Arizona State capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play as Kopperud recorded his Division I-leading 11th power-play goal of the season, where he one-timed his shot from the goal line to the right of Shane.

After Arizona State pulled its goaltender, Cornell tacked on an insurance marker as sophomore forward Dalton Bancroft chipped the puck up to Walsh, who tapped it into the open cage to increase Cornell’s lead back to three.

GAME NOTES

• Saturday was the seventh all-time meeting between Cornell and Arizona State, all of which have come since the 2018-19 season. The Big Red extended its lead in the series with its victory, 4-2-1, and is unbeaten over its last three games with the Sun Devils (2-0-1).

• Five of Cornell’s seven games against Arizona State have come when the Sun Devils were ranked in the USCHO.com poll. Following Saturday’s win, the Big Red has a 4-0-1 record when squaring off against a ranked Arizona State squad.

• Cornell’s record against opponents ranked No. 11 in the USCHO.com poll is now 11-7-7 following Saturday’s result. The Big Red is unbeaten in each of its last five games (4-0-1) and in nine of its previous 10 games (6-1-3) against opponents ranked No. 11. Additionally, the Big Red is 5-1-2 when facing ranked opponents in the USCHO.com poll this year.

• The Big Red improved to 7-1-0 on the year when scoring at least three goals and is 8-1-3 when conceding two goals or fewer. Cornell’s record when leading after the second period is now 7-0-2, and the Big Red is 404-22-29 under Mike Schafer ’86 when taking the lead into the final regulation period.

• Seger won 12 faceoff wins on Saturday to increase his streak of having 12-plus faceoff wins to seven consecutive games, which ranks as the longest active streak in Division I hockey. Seger’s current streak ranks as the second-longest in Division I hockey this season, only behind Air Force’s Clayton Cosentino, who went eight straight games from Oct. 7 to Oct. 28. It is Seger’s second time stringing at least four games with 12-plus faceoff victories.

Longest Streak With 12+ Faceoff Wins
This Season
• Clayton Cosentino (Air Force) — 8 games (Oct. 7 – Oct. 28)
• Gabriel Seger (Cornell) — 7 games (Nov. 25 – Present)
• Danny Nelson (Notre Dame) — 6 games (Oct. 20 – Nov. 5)
• Max Scott (Brown) — 5 games (Dec. 30 – Present)
• Clayton Cosentino (Air Force) — 5 games (Dec. 29 – Present)
• Justin Hryckowian (Northeastern) — 5 games (Dec. 28 – Present)
• Carter Wilkie (RIT) — 5 games (Oct. 20 – Nov. 3)

UP NEXT

Cornell will return to Lynah Rink for the first time since Dec. 2 when it welcomes Princeton and No. 5-ranked Quinnipiac to East Hill next weekend. Both night’s contests are scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+ and over the airwaves on WHCU (870 AM, 97.7 FM, whcuradio.com).