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Bancroft lifts #14 Cornell to overtime victory over #3 Quinnipiac

Sophomore Dalton Bancroft scored two goals, including the game-winning marker 3:11 into overtime, to lift the No. 14-ranked Cornell men’s hockey team to a 3-2 victory over No. 3-ranked Quinnipiac before a sold-out crowd of 4,361 at Lynah Rink on Saturday night.

Junior forward Ondrej Psenicka joined Bancroft in registering a multi-point night as he logged a goal and an assist, aiding the Big Red to extend its unbeaten streak to six games (4-0-2) and improving its overall mark on the year to 10-4-3 and 5-4-1 in ECAC Hockey play.

Fellow junior Ian Shane continued his strong play between the pipes, stopping 22 shots in the victory. Across six career appearances against the Bobcats, Shane has compiled a 4-1-0 record with a 1.33 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage (150 saves on 157 shots faced).

Quinnipiac graduate student Zach Tupker — a familiar face for many Cornell hockey fans — and Alex Power found the back of the net for the Bobcats (15-6-2, 9-2-1 ECAC), who have lost consecutive games for the first time since losing a pair of overtime contests against New Hampshire (Oct. 21) and Maine (Oct. 28).

Vinny Duplessis shoved aside 14 Cornell shots in the setback for the Bobcats.

The opening 10 minutes of the game featured continual back-and-forth action that featured a seven-and-a-half-minute stretch without a faceoff. During the span, only six shots were attempted, with the lone attempt on target coming from sophomore Nick DeSantis.

Cornell eventually broke the deadlock late in the opening period when Bancroft redirected a shot by freshman defenseman Hoyt Stanley from the right point that trickled past Duplessis.

An early penalty to Quinnipiac in the second period enabled the Big Red to pepper Duplessis with the first seven shot attempts in the frame, five of which came during the power play.

Tupker evened the game with a short-handed goal after Mason Marcellus was tagged for a holding penalty near the period’s halfway point.

Just 29 seconds following Tupker’s tally, Psenicka deflected a shot taken by freshman defenseman George Fegaraswith two seconds left on Marcellus’ penalty to give Cornell the lead back.

Quinnipiac brought the contest back level at 2-all as junior defenseman Hank Kempf closed his hand on the puck inside the crease, which led to a penalty shot converted by Power.

It was the first penalty shot goal allowed by the Big Red in 261 games, dating back to Jan. 24, 2015 (Dartmouth’s Eric Neiley), and was the first penalty shot attempt faced by Cornell since North Dakota’s Mark Senden on Jan. 8, 2022.

In the late stages of the second period, Shane made a pair of key saves to keep the contest tied, including a sprawling stop to deny Christophe Fillion while the Bobcats were on the power play.

Neither team could find the back of the net in the third period as the Big Red had a 9-3 edge in shots on goal.

Freshman Ryan Walsh had a scoring chance in the mid-slot late in the third, but his shot rang off the right post.

In overtime, Shane continued his strong play in the net, making a trio of saves before Bancroft deposited the game-winning goal on a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle.

GAME NOTES
• Saturday was the 51st meeting between Cornell and Quinnipiac, as the Big Red improved its overall mark against the Bobcats to 27-20-4. Cornell has dominated on home ice against Quinnipiac, winning each of the last four games and seven of the last eight (7-0-1). The Big Red is also unbeaten in 11 of the previous 15 against its ECAC Hockey rival (10-4-1).

• Bancroft’s game-winner was the first time Cornell had won in overtime on home ice since Ben Berard, also against Quinnipiac, on Jan. 22, 2022.

• With the win, Cornell is 10-1-1 over its last 12 games against opponents ranked within the top five of the USCHO.com poll and is 4-0-1 over its last five against Quinnipiac when it has been ranked in the top five of the USCHO.com poll.

• Against ranked opponents this season, Cornell improved to 6-1-2 when squaring off against a ranked opponent. The Big Red has won each of its last three and is 4-0-2 in the previous six contests versus a ranked foe.

• Cornell’s unbeaten streak was extended to six games (4-0-2), marking the program’s longest streak without a loss since going 7-0-1 from Nov. 6 to Dec. 4, 2021.

• The Big Red improved to 8-1-3 on the year when scoring the game’s first goal and 9-1-0 when scoring at least three goals. Cornell is also 9-1-3 when allowing two goals or less this season.

• Following his assist on Bancroft’s game-winning goal, freshman defenseman Ben Robertson entered a three-way tie with Brendon Nash (2-12—14 in 2006-07) and Yanni Kaldis (1-13—14 in 2016-17) for the 13th-most points by a first-year blueliner. The assist increased his season total to 12, placing him in a tie with Brendon Nash (2006-07), Alec McCrae (2015-16), and Sam Malinski (2019-20) for the ninth-most assists by a freshman defenseman, dating back to 1975-76 when first-year students were first eligible to play on the Big Red’s varsity team.

• Quinnipiac out-shot Cornell, 24-17, marking just the fourth time the Big Red has been on the wrong side of the shot differential this season. In those games, Cornell has a 3-1-0 record.

UP NEXT

No. 14-ranked Cornell will head on the road next weekend for a pair of ECAC Hockey and Ivy League contests, where it will square off against Harvard (3-11-3, 3-6-3 ECAC) next Friday, Jan. 26, before heading north to Dartmouth (5-7-6, 3-4-4 ECAC) the following night. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. puck drops and will be broadcast on ESPN+ and over the airwaves on WHCU (870 AM, 97.7 FM, whcuradio.com).