Donaldson’s Power-Play Goal Helps #3 Cornell Men’s Hockey To 4-2 Road Victory Over #7 Clarkson
POTSDAM, N.Y. — The Cornell men’s hockey team got first goals on the season from three different players, and junior goaltender Matthew Galajda made 29 saves to backstop the Big Red’s 4-2 victory on the road Friday night against Clarkson at Cheel Arena.
The rematch of the 2019 ECAC Hockey Championship game was one of just two nationwide on the night between top-10 teams, and it lived up to its billing with relatively even scoring chances and solid all-around hockey. Cornell (5-0, 3-0 ECAC Hockey), which is ranked third in the nation in the USCHO.com poll and fourth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, remains one of just two undefeated teams left.
“I think it is a statement win, but of course it’s early in the season,” said junior forward Cam Donaldson, who scored the game-winning goal on a power play with 9:34 left in the third period. “It’s good to stay undefeated. But we haven’t won very many games against this team. We’ve only won one since I’ve been here. So it was huge to win get a win, especially on the road.”
A four-goal burst in a span of seven minutes late in the second period brought the teams to a 2-all tie entering the third. Seventh-ranked Clarkson (7-3-1, 2-1) had the night’s first two power plays and didn’t take a penalty of its own until midway through the third. Cornell’s power play made the most of its only chance, with Donaldson flipping in a rebound after a one-timer by freshman forward Ben Berard was stopped by Golden Knights goaltender Frank Marotte.
“We were ready to pounce on it,” Donaldson said. “If we’re given an opportunity like that only once a game, we’ve got to bear down.”
Sophomore forward Michael Regush capped the scoring with his third goal of the year, coming into an empty net just eight seconds after Galajda made a game-saving stop at the other end. Clarkson kept the puck in its offensive zone and shoveled the puck into the slot, where Grant Cooper lifted a defender’s stick to gain possession and get off a quality shot. Senior defenseman Yanni Kaldis’ diving effort deflected the puck, and then it bounded off Galajda’s left pad.
“I like how our guys played in front of him, but he was rock solid when we needed him,” said Mike Schafer ’86, the Jay R. Bloom ’77 Head Coach of Men’s Hockey at Cornell. “He made some big saves on partial breakaways where we turned pucks over.”
Freshman defenseman Travis Mitchell opened the scoring with his first collegiate strike, and senior forward Jeff Malott struck less than three minutes later to give Cornell a 2-0 lead in the second period. But Clarkson quickly countered with a power-play goal from Connor McCarthy and an even-strength goal in transition from Devin Brosseau. The Big Red was essentially leaking oil, but it turned a couple solid shifts to end the period and minimize the damage and set the stage for a strong effort in the closing frame.
“We knew why they got their opportunities – because we handed the puck to them in the neutral zone,” Schafer said. “We just talked about ‘play our game’ … and just get the job done. And they did. They came out in the third, and they were calm and played with even more poise.”
Donaldson’s goal pushed the Cornell power play to 9-for-21 for the season. The 42.9% success rate leads the country going into Saturday’s games. The strike also came against a Clarkson squad that has excelled on the penalty kill in the early going, ending a streak of 25 consecutive kills.
“Now we’ve got go back tomorrow and play St. Lawrence who – and our guys have got to understand this – took (Clarkson) on their home ice to two overtime games back-to-back (two weeks ago),” Schafer said. “So we’ll have our work cut out for us on their home ice tomorrow.”
How The Goals Were Scored:
Cornell’s 1st Goal
2nd period, 11:15 • Mitchell 1 (Barron, Donaldson) • Cornell 1, Clarkson 0
• Brenden Locke’s line had the Big Red buzzing in the offensive zone, leading to a few chances. After one was turned aside, Donaldson regained control and just flung the puck back toward the crease. Barron was there to keep the play alive as a scrum ensued. The puck eventually squirted out the far side, where Mitchell had lurked down from the point to pop it into the net.
Cornell’s 2nd Goal
2nd period, 13:47 • Malott 1 (Green) • Cornell 2, Clarkson 0
• The Golden Knights played the puck up the wall to the right point and appeared to have numbers to break out and start a counter attack. But Green read the play and held his ground, keeping the play onside while sending it back into a dangerous position in the slot. The puck hit a defenseman’s stick and went right to Malott for an open chance from in tight, and he snapped a shot by Marotte’s glove.
Clarkson’s 1st Goal
2nd period, 15:27 (pp) • McCarthy 1 (Egle, Brosseau) • Cornell 2, Clarkson 1
• With the puck in the slot, Brosseau floated a pass to the outside that was corralled by Egle in the right circle. Even though it took him away from the net, he had enough time and space to turn and wait for the play to unfold in front of him, then Egle fed a perfect pass to the far circle for McCarthy to slam inside the near post beyond a helpless Galajda.
Clarkson’s 2nd Goal
2nd period, 18:05 • Brosseau 5 (McCarthy) • Cornell 2, Clarkson 2
• A Big Red defenseman had the puck in his defensive zone and started to skate up ice toward center, but Clarkson’s McCarthy flagged down his dump-in attempt and quickly threw back up the right wall. With Cornell scrambling to get back into position, Brosseau had time to pull up at the right circle and wait for reinforcements, then picked the far top corner of the net over Galajda’s blocker.
Cornell’s 3rd Goal
3rd period, 10:26 (pp) • Donaldson 1 (Berard, Green) • Cornell 3, Clarkson 2
• On its first power play of the night, Cornell set up a one-timer for Green at the top of the left circle. Though the blast was blocked, it stunned the defender and Green was able to regain possession and bump it to Donaldson in the slot. His long backhand pass to the right circle set up a one-timer from Berard.
“Thankfully, he called for it pretty loudly on the back door,” Donaldson said. “I saw him in my peripheral (vision) and just threw a pass over there somewhere in the general area, and thankfully it went right to him.”
Berard’s shot was saved, but the all the defensive pursuit went followed that play. That left Donaldson alone on the back post to collect the rebound and flip it into the wide side of the vacated net.
Cornell’s 4th Goal
3rd period, 18:33 (en) • Regush 3 (Malott) • Cornell 4, Clarkson 2
• Galajda made a save on a shot from the slot in the Big Red zone, then Malott gathered the rebound and flipped it through the left side of the neutral zone. As a Clarkson defenseman retreated to gather the puck near the blue line, it bounced away from him enough to allow Regush to swoop in and convert into the empty net.