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Cornell clinches No. 2 seed with senior night victory over RPI

  • / Updated:
  • Kyle Evans 

A two-assist night from freshman forward Jonathan Castagna and a 21-save performance from junior goaltender Ian Shane lifted the No. 13-ranked Cornell men’s hockey team to a 3-1 victory over RPI in front of 3,723 on Senior Night at Lynah Rink on Saturday night.

The victory for the Big Red (17-6-6, 12-6-4 ECAC Hockey) solidified Cornell as the No. 2 seed for this year’s ECAC Hockey Championship, denoting Cornell will host the second-lowest remaining seed after next weekend’s opening-round matchups.

Junior forwards Jack O’Leary and Sullivan Mack and freshman forward Jake Kraft all scored in the victory for the Big Red.

Tyler Hotson spoiled Cornell’s bid for a shutout with a goal late in the third period. Jack Watson stopped 25 shots in the setback for the Engineers (9-21-4, 6-13-3 ECAC), who will enter the ECAC Hockey Championship as the No. 12 seed and travel to Clarkson for a 7 p.m. puck drop on Saturday, March 9.

O’Leary gave Cornell the lead almost seven minutes into the contest, depositing a loose rebound from a shot taken by Jonathan Castagna that Watson saved.

After players from both teams were battling for possession behind RPI’s cage, Kraft gained control and tucked the puck inside Watson’s left pad to put the Big Red up by two.

Mack increased Cornell’s lead to 3-0 on a quick wrap-around goal at the 11:05 mark of the second period.

Cornell appeared to have scored a goal to make it a 4-0 contest early in the third period, but an RPI challenge wiped the Big Red’s goal off the board.

Toward the mid-point of the frame, RPI found the back of the net on a rebound shot. Cornell challenged the ruling of the goal, which resulted in Engineers also having a goal overturned on video review and keeping the game in favor of the Big Red by a 3-0 margin.

With a potential shutout inching closer for Cornell, RPI’s Jimmy Goffredo ripped a shot from the right faceoff circle that Shane saved, but Hotson pounced on the rebound to trim the Big Red lead with 1:44 remaining.

RPI attempted to score with an extra attacker, but Shane was able to stop the final three shot attempts over the final seven seconds of the contest.

UP NEXT

Cornell will have next weekend off before it hosts a best-of-three quarterfinal series at Lynah Rink from March 15-17.