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Cornell Takes Game 1 in ECAC First-Round Hockey Series, 4-0

Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications                                                                      Release: 03/08/2013
Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications
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PRINCETON, N.J. (3/8/13) - The  Cornell men's hockey team earned its first win of the season against Princeton, 4-0, taking game one of a best-of-three ECAC Hockey first-round series in a battle between the No. 8 and 9 seeds on Friday, March 8 at Hobey Baker Rink.

"It was a good hockey game," head coach Bob Prier said. "I thought our guys played relatively well. The difference in the game was that Cornell capitalized on its opportunities at the point of execution and we didn't. Other than that it was a pretty good effort by the guys."

After a scoreless first period Cornell scored twice in the second period and added two more in the third period.

"We did get the chances we just weren't hungry enough around the net to score some goals," senior Rob Kleebaum said after the game. "Tomorrow we need just be hungry around the net. Everything is a life or death chance."

The win was Cornell's first over Princeton in three games, as the Tigers swept the regular season 5-4 at Hobey Baker Rink and 1-0 on the road. Princeton will have an uphill battle, needing to win the next two games to advance to the quarterfinals.

"We have confidence to beat this team, but it's tough to beat a team every time you play them," Kleebaum said when asked about beating Cornell twice during the regular season. "We know what we need to do. We just need to go out there and do it."

It was a tight first period with shots being nearly even 11-10 in favor of the Tigers.  Cornell capitalized in the second period, outshooting Princeton 13-3 and taking a 2-0 lead.

Sophomore defender Joakim Ryan scored his third goal of the year when he got the puck from Brian Ferlin from behind the Princeton net. Ferlin passed through the crease inside to Ryan inside the right circle and he shot left on Princeton goalie Mike Condon for what would be the eventual game winner at 8:51.

Senior John Esposito and freshman Reece Willcox teamed up for the second goal that came with 27 seconds left in the second period. Willcox sent a breakout pass to Esposito and he skated down and fired from inside the left circle.

Less than six minutes into the third period Christian Hilbrich put the game further out of reach when he picked up a Ryan pass and made a run, wrapping the puck around the right side of Condon to give the Big Red a 3-0 lead.

With two minutes remaining Princeton pulled Condon for the extra skater and senior Michael Sdao fired a shot on Cornell's Andy Iles. Iles hung on for a face off but looked a bit shaken. Early in the period he had signaled to the athletic trainer to come out on the ice, with what appeared to be a complaint in his lower half.

The Tigers called timeout and kept Condon on the bench. Iles made two more saves and Cornell blocked two shots before John McCarron intercepted the puck and slipped the puck into the empty net for the fourth Big Red goal with 12 seconds left on the clock.

Condon finished the game with 24 saves, while Iles stopped 26, including 12 in the third period as Princeton outshot Cornell 12-5 in the final frame.

Princeton was 0 for 1 on the power play, and Cornell was 0 for 3.

It's a must-win situation for the Tigers tomorrow, Saturday, March 9 as the teams face off at 7 p.m., at Hobey Baker Rink.


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