CANTON, N.Y. – Three-point shots are common in basketball, but senior forward Jared Fiegl essentially had a 3-point goal for the Cornell men’s hockey team on Saturday.
Fiegl’s goal just shy of eight minutes into the third period gave the Big Red a 1-0 victory over St. Lawrence, helping Cornell claw out three points in the ECAC Hockey standings on the perennially-challenging trip to New York’s North Country after a scoreless tie Friday at Clarkson.
It was Fiegl’s third goal over the last four games after just four goals over the first 107 games of his collegiate career.
“I think Jared’s always worked extremely hard. He brought energy last night and he’s physical, and he brought energy again tonight,” said Mike Schafer, the Jay R. Bloom ’77 Head Coach of Men’s Hockey at Cornell. “It’s good to see him get rewarded.”
Freshman goaltender Matthew Galajda needed to make just 16 saves for his second consecutive shutout and his eighth of the season, which leads the NCAA Division I ranks. He now holds solo possession of the most shutouts in a single season in program history, trailing just David McKee’s 10 during the 2004-05 season and David LeNeveu’s nine during the 2002-03 campaign.
Much of the game’s first 40 minutes were marred by penalties, with neither team finding any traction on the power play. Cornell (20-3-2, 14-2-2 ECAC Hockey) had the better chances, but Galajda needed to make some of his biggest saves in the final two minutes of the second period. First, he turned away Joe Sullivan’s shot on a two-on-one, then he flashed his blocker out to stop Keenan Suthers’ clean, quick break after a turnover.
“I thought we dominated most of the game tonight and didn’t give them too much,” said Galajda, the reigning Hockey Commissioners’ Association National Goaltender of the Month for January. “It’s kind of tough playing in games like that where you don’t get too many shots, but you’ve just got to focus and try to make the save when you get the chance.”
While St. Lawrence (7-21-2, 3-14-1) remains in last place in the league, the Saints entered the game with a .500 record since the mid-semester break in December. The home side played with plenty of physicality and gummed up the middle of the ice any time Cornell went forward.
But the Big Red came out with a vengeance in third period. Freshman forward Tristan Mullin set up junior forward Alec McCrea’s one-timer 33 seconds into the final frame, then junior forward Anthony Angello pulled up on a semi-break with a defenseman to tee up junior forward Beau Starrett from close range just 40 seconds later, but the shot clanked off the post.
“With guys who were playing with energy, we started putting those guys together. Then maybe missing a few shifts here and there gave some of the other guys some energy,” Schafer said of the rejuvenated effort in the third. “At the same time, we started moving pucks faster and got going. I think that when you move the puck a little more quickly, you look faster. And we did that in the third.”
Fiegl’s goal came after the Big Red held possession along the wall behind the St. Lawrence goal. Senior forward Trevor Yates swept the puck toward senior forward Dwyer Tschantz who put it out front to where Fiegl had worked himself free. As St. Lawrence goalie Arthur Brey sprawled to the ice to make the first stop, Fiegl sent the rebound over his glove into the roof of the net.
Cornell continued to push the tempo, then finished out the last 4:56 of the game on a power play after a Saints defender was issued a major penalty for butt-ending. St. Lawrence still managed to pull Brey for an extra attacker for the final minute and generate a few chances on the bizarre scenario.
“They were trying to get rushes, so it was a bit nerve-racking for sure,” Galajda said. “But the boys got the job done.”
• Cornell returns to Ithaca for its final regular-season home games next weekend, first hosting Brown at 7 p.m. Friday. The Big Red then holds its annual Senior Night after the 7 p.m. Saturday game against Yale.