By Russ Cohen
Atlantic City, N.J. – Cornell goaltender Mike Garman turned aside all 37 shots, while Sean Whitney had the game-winner and a game-saving play as “Big Red” beat “Big Green” 3-0 to advance to the ECAC Finals against Yale Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall.
“They do a great job of blocking shots and you have to get your head up and file it into the net and Sean did that on the first one," said Mike Schafer, Cornell's head coach for the past 16 seasons.
"Obviously we ran into penalty problems in the second period and took a lot of our guys, and our penalty killers did a tremendous job. I always say your best penalty killer is your goaltender and Mike made big saves when he had to and held on in the third."
Cornell got the first power play of the game at 5:46 of the first period and they had a few chances but Dartmouth goalie James Mello did a nice job of keeping “Big Red” off the scoreboard.
Cornell was getting hot towards the end of the period and that’s when Sean Whitney wristed in a rebound past Mello to give his team the 1-0 lead at 18:05 of the opening period.
Just 24 seconds later Mello was unable to handle a sure glove save and that’s when Armand de Swardt swooped in and gave them a 2-0 lead.
Cornell was being outshot by Dartmouth 12-10 after one period.
At the 2:44 mark Cornell committed their second penalty of the game but their PK held off the Dartmouth attack.
Cornell got their first power play of the game at 5:46 of the middle period. Cornell had a lot of movement on their power play but the Dartmouth PK kept them off the board keeping the score the same.
With 7:17 to go in the second period Dartmouth had a flurry of shots on Garman. It looked as if Whitney -- Oilers d-man Ryan Whitney's younger sibling -- cleared it from the goal line and then the whistle blew for the delayed penalty. Whitney got an interference call at 12:43 as a result but Cornell’s PK stood tall again.
Despite having a number of quality chances and holding a 24-14 edge in shots, the second period ended with them Dartmouth trailing 2-0.
Cornell had a great 2-on-1 shorthanded opportunity with 14:02 left in the final period but Mello made that save but Dartmouth was soon to be 0-4 on the power play.
Dartmouthdefenseman Connor Goggin had the hit of the tournament so far when he checked Cornell’s Kirill Gotovets almost lifting him off his skates before he hit the ice. It was a clean hit and that seemed to wake up Cornell.
Garman was absolutely getting peppered at times in this game. His team was being severely outshot for most of the contest yet the Cornell netminder stood tall.
Dartmouthpulled their goalie with 2:26 to go in the game, a gutsy move that hoped to pay some dividends as Cornell’s John Esposito got the empty netter to ice the game 3-0.
“Our guys played really hard,” said Dartmouth head coach, Bob Gaudet, whose dreams of a National Championship have dimmed. “I don’t think it’s quite over yet….We are going to play to win tomorrow... this is a very proud program... We are going to play like everything is at stake tomorrow. We are playing to win.”
This was the first time in ECAC history that there were two shutouts on the same night.