Home College Locke’s 3-Point Effort Helps Cornell Men’s Hockey Top RPI

Locke’s 3-Point Effort Helps Cornell Men’s Hockey Top RPI

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ITHACA, N.Y. — Junior forward Brenden Locke helped set up a pair of goals during the Cornell men’s hockey team’s three-goal first period, then clinched Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Rensselaer with an empty-net goal in front of a sold-out crowd at Lynah Rink. The victory is Cornell’s fifth straight, and it clinched a first-round bye through the first round of the ECAC Hockey Championship playoffs.

With the win, Cornell (19-2-4, 14-2-2 ECAC Hockey) — ranked second in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls — keeps pace with Clarkson for first place in the league with four games left in the regular season. Regardless of how the last two weekends of league play pan out, the Big Red now knows it will host a best-of-three quarterfinal series against an opponent to be determined March 13-15 at Lynah Rink.

For a fifth straight game, Cornell built a two-goal lead in the first period. Senior forward Noah Bauld swept in a rebound of a shot originally off the stick of sophomore defenseman Joe Leahy, then junior defenseman Alex Green doubled the lead just 18 seconds later to give the Big Red a 2-0 lead inside four minutes.

The Big Red’s power play stayed hot with senior defenseman Yanni Kaldis’ goal with 2:57 left in the opening frame. It was his third goal on the weekend and fifth of the season, giving Cornell nine goals on the power play during its current five-game winning streak.

Rensselaer (13-15-2, 9-8-1) would eventually chip away at its deficit, getting goals from Ture Linden early in the second period and Todd Burgess early in the third to make the score 3-2. Junior goaltender Matthew Galajda made some of his biggest saves after that to keep Cornell in front. Tristan Ashbrook set up Mike Gornall for a quality chance in front with 10 minutes to play, but Galajda slid to his left to make the save. His last of 18 stops came on Burgess’ snapshot from the high slot with 37 seconds left. Locke’s empty-net goal came 12 seconds later.

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