ECAC-leading Cornell rose to No. 2 in the national rankings released Feb. 17, then proved its merit with a pair of victories. With only one more weekend remaining on the ECAC schedule, nationally-ranked No. 15 Harvard solidified its second-place position with two wins. But Dartmouth’s last-minute victory over Brown kept fourth-place uncertain: the Bears and Big Green remained tied.
Cornell 5, Rensselaer 0
Cornell goalie Dave LeNeveu earned his sixth shutout of the season Friday night, facing only 12 shots against a hapless RPI squad. With the shutout, LeNeveu tied the Big Red’s single season shutout record with NHL legend Ken Dryden (Cornell class of 1969).
In front of a sellout crowd at Ithaca, N.Y.’s Lynah Rink, Cornell dominated the Engineers. Mark McRae scored two goals, and Matt McRae, Mark’s twin brother, added a goal and an assist.
The win allowed Cornell to maintain its three-point lead over Harvard for the ECAC’s top position. RPI remains in place 11.
Harvard 4, Dartmouth 1
Playing its first game after losing to Cornell Feb. 15, the Crimson took the ice motivated for a win Friday night. Within 10 minutes, the Cantabs scored enough goals to earn a win over fourth-place Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H.
Harvard captain Dominic Moore scored first, 7:27 into the first period, and assisted on Tyler Kolarik’s goal two minutes later. Dartmouth pulled to within one point in the second period, but Tom Cavanagh scored two goals to keep the Crimson’s lead safe. Facing 30 shots, Cantab goalie Dov Grumet-Morris gave up only one goal.
The game pitted nationally-ranked No. 15 Harvard against Dartmouth, one of only four ECAC teams to earn votes in the national poll.
Cornell 3, Union 1
Like every team that has visited Lynah Rink this season, Union left with a loss. The Big Red completed a perfect regular season at home for the first time since 1970-71 with its 3-1 win.
Although Cornell coach Mike Schafer was disappointed with the Red’s first period performance, the team was able to overcome a one-goal deficit and control play during the final two periods. LeNeveu made 17 saves, surrendering only a first period goal to Union’s Joel Beal.
Despite the loss, Union clinched a home playoff series in the ECAC hockey playoffs during the weekend of March 7-9. Cornell, assured of a first-round bye, can clinch its second consecutive regular season championship with a win at Princeton Feb. 28. A day later, the team will visit Ingalls Rink in the final regular season game for Cornell and Yale.
Harvard 5, Vermont 2
On Saturday night in Burlington, Vt., Harvard again scored two goals in the first 10 minutes of a game. Despite taking several early penalties, the Crimson attacked the Catamounts and won 5-2.
While Harvard was shorthanded, Aaron Kim scored the Cantabs’ first goal. The Crimson made it 3-0 before Vermont responded. Two goals in the second period kept the Catamounts’ home fans hopeful.
Vermont coach Mike Gilligan pulled the Cats’ goalie with just under two minutes left in the game. With the net empty, the Cantabs added two goals to ensure their win.
Harvard clinched second-place in the ECAC Saturday, when third-place Yale lost at St. Lawrence. The Crimson will have a bye in the first-round of the league playoffs. Vermont now shares ninth-place with St. Lawrence.
Dartmouth 3, Brown 2
The Big Green rallied for two goals against Brown in the last five minutes of Saturday night’s game, earning them a win and a tie with the Bears for the ECAC’s fourth-place position.
Yann Danis, Brown’s All-American goaltender, stopped 45 shots for the Bears and helped keep Brown ahead most of the game. But after Lee Stempniak tied the game for the Big Green, Mike Oullette knocked a Hugh Jessiman pass past Danis with 58 seconds remaining to net the win for Dartmouth.
Brown and Dartmouth now share the ECAC’s fourth-place position. The top four teams earn byes through the first round of the league playoffs, so the Bears and Green remain uncertain of their fates.