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Seger’s four-point night Spurs #15 Cornell to sweep over Harvard

  • / Updated:
  • Kyle Evans 

Senior forward Gabriel Seger factored in all four goals scored by the No. 15-ranked Cornell men’s hockey team, spurring the Big Red to a series sweep of Harvard in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals before a sold-out crowd of 4,267 at Lynah Rink on Saturday night.

Seger recorded two goals and two assists in the Big Red’s (19-6-6) victory, while freshman defenseman Ben Robertson (two goals) and junior forwards Ondrej Psenicka and Kyle Penney (two assists apiece) also joined in having multi-point nights. Junior goaltender Ian Shane stopped 21 of the 22 Harvard shots he faced.

Ian Moore netted the lone tally for Harvard (7-19-6), which also had a 21-save outing from goaltending Derek Mullahy.

“We had better attention to detail for 60 minutes,” said Mike Schafer ’86, the Jay R. Bloom ’77 Head Coach of Cornell Men’s Ice Hockey. “I thought we were hard to play against, patient, and disciplined. I told the guys I’m really proud of how they came back, were ready to play, excute, compete, and do all the little things that makes a difference in a hockey game.”

Cornell had a chance to open the scoring when it had a five-minute power play following a challenge from the Big Red’s coaching staff, resulting in Marek Hejduk being handed a five-minute major for cross checking and a game misconduct. During the man advantage, Cornell mustered 10 shot attempts, only two of which were on goal.

Robertson gave the Big Red the lead late in the first period, benefiting from crisp tape-to-tape passes by Seger and sophomore forward Dalton Bancroft, leading to Robertson’s back-handed shot into the top-left corner of the goal past a sprawling Mullahy.

The Big Red doubled its lead in the second when Seger notched his second point of the night on a goalmouth scramble. An aggressive forecheck by Penney kept the puck inside Cornell’s offensive zone, leading Seger to deposit a loose rebound after Penney had his shot saved.

Harvard cut the deficit in half with a goal while skating with an extra attacker, while Cornell had a delayed penalty for high sticking.

In the final minute of regulation, Cornell tacked on a pair of empty-net goals in 15 seconds to solidify the victory. Robertson scored the first empty-net goal on a 100-foot shot following a center-ice faceoff win by Seger. The latter open-net marker came off Seger’s stick as he picked the puck out between the skates of a Harvard and Cornell player during a tie-up in open ice in Cornell’s offensive zone.

GAME NOTES
• Saturday marked the 166th meeting between Cornell and Harvard. The Big Red improved its lead in the all-time series to 82-71-13 and has won each of the last three games against the Crimson for the first time since stringing three wins together from Dec. 1, 2018, and Dec. 6, 2019.

• The Big Red has scored four-plus goals in consecutive games against Harvard for the first time since posting 5-2 and 4-3 victories over the Crimson on Nov. 22, 2002, and Feb. 15, 2003.

• Cornell has now swept each of its last two quarterfinal series, dating back to last year’s two-game sweep of Clarkson. It is the Big Red’s first time winning consecutive quarterfinal series in two games since defeating Clarkson in the 2005 and 2006 quarterfinals.

• Shane’s victory was the 46th of his collegiate career, breaking his tie with Jason Elliott for the 10th-most wins by a Cornell goaltender.

MOST GOALTENDER WINS
Cornell Program History
1. Ken Dryden (1966-69) — 76
T2. David McKee (2003-06) — 65
T2. Ben Scrivens (2006-10) — 65
4. Matthew Galajda (2017-20) — 60
5. Andy Iles (2010-14) — 58
6. Brian Cropper (1968-71) — 50
T7. Dave Elenbaas (1970-73) — 48
T7. Corrie D’Alessio (1987-91) — 48
9. Mitch Gillam (2013-17) — 47
10. Ian Shane (2021-Present) — 46

• Robertson’s two-goal night was his first multi-goal performance of his collegiate career and upped his season total in points to 22, which stands as the second-most points by a freshman defenseman in program history. He is one point shy of matching Chris Norton (4-19—23 in 1984-85) for the most points by a first-year blueliner.

MOST POINTS BY A FRESHMAN DEFENSEMAN
Cornell Program History
1. Chris Norton (1984-85) — 23 points (4 goals, 19 assists)
2. Ben Robertson (2023-24) — 22 points (5 goals, 17 assists)

• With his four-point night, Seger now has 39 points on the season (14 goals, 25 assists), the most by a Cornell player since Matt Moulson had 42 points (22 goals, 20 assists) as a junior in 2004-05. Seger’s point total is the sixth-most by a Big Red player under Mike Schafer ’86.

MOST POINTS IN A SINGLE SEASON
Mike Schafer ’86 Era (Since 1995-96)
1. Ryan Vesce (2002-03) — 45 points (19 goals, 26 assists)
2. Brad Chartrand (1995-96) — 43 points (24 goals, 19 assists)
T3. Kyle Knopp (1998-99) — 42 points (10 goals, 32 assists)
T3. Matt Moulson (2004-05) — 42 points (22 goals, 20 assists)
5. Stephen Bâby (2002-03) — 41 points (8 goals, 33 assists)
6. Gabriel Seger (2023-24) — 39 points (14 goals, 25 assists)

• Seger is the first Cornell player to reach 39 points in either of his first two seasons with the Big Red since Ryan Hughes (18-34—52) as a sophomore in 1990-91.

UP NEXT

Cornell will face Dartmouth in the ECAC Hockey semifinals at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Friday, March 22. Puck drop between the Big Red and Big Green is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Game action will be broadcast on ESPN+ and over the airwaves on WHCU (870 AM, 97.7 FM, whcuradio.com). Ticketing information for championship weekend in Lake Placid can be viewed here.

Next Friday will be the first postseason meeting between the Big Red and Big Green since Cornell swept a best-of-three quarterfinal series at Lynah Rink during the 2011-12 season. It will be the first meeting between the Ancient Eight programs during championship weekend since Cornell shutout Dartmouth, 3-0, in the 2011 semifinals at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.