HANOVER, N.H. — Sixty minutes went by without a score. So did the first four minutes of overtime. That’s when Cornell finally struck.
A thrilling defensive battle saw its first goal come with just 59 seconds remaining in overtime as Erin Barley-Maloney netted a puck past Dartmouth’s Lindsay Holdcroft for a 1-0 victory in the Big Red’s first overtime game of the season.
No. 3 Cornell (18-2, 13-1 ECAC) and No. 10 Dartmouth (12-6-2, 8-4-2) had taken a combined 54 shots between them, but it was the 55th that finally made the difference.
|TOP 25 SCORES|
|No. 1 Wisconsin 4, No. 8 Minn.-Duluth (3 OT)|
|No. 2 Minnesota 2, Bemidji State 2 (2-0 SO)|
|No. 3 Cornell 1, No. 10 Dartmouth 0 (OT)|
|No. 6 North Dakota 9, St. Cloud State 0|
|No. 9 Harvard 4, Colgate 0|
Skating the puck over the blue line on a power play with time ticking away, Laura Fortino found Barley-Maloney in the middle of the ice sneaking past her defenders. Barley-Maloney took the pass, had a brief one-on-one with Holdcroft and fired a wrist shot low and right into the net.
The goal sparked a wild celebration on the ice for the Big Red, who fell to Dartmouth 5-4 on home ice in December for its lone conference loss. Cornell’s players mobbed Barley-Maloney on the end boards and took a few moments to rejoice the senior’s fourth goal of the season before shaking hands with a tenacious Dartmouth squad at center ice.
Cornell had not been to overtime all season and had only twice before won a game by just one goal.
On the other end of the ice behind Barley-Maloney was senior goalkeeper Amanda Mazzotta, who earned her second consecutive shutout and made a spectacular 31 saves. Mazzotta went across her crease multiple times during the evening to rob Dartmouth’s players on seemingly open nets. Compared to the five goals the Big Red allowed in the teams’ first meeting this season, a shutout was particularly sweet.
“You’re always looking to never let goals in, and some games you just feel like you’re on,” Mazzotta said. “The defense was picking up sticks and clearing pucks and blocking shots. Sometimes I swear [Alyssa Gagliardi] makes more saves than I do.
“When the team is playing that well in front of you it makes it easier to focus on your own game, and pucks just didn’t go in the net.”
With the victory, the Big Red split the regular-season series with the Big Green. Cornell has now claimed eight consecutive victories this season, 17 in the month of January dating to last season, 10 consecutive victories in ECAC Hockey and five consecutive wins against Ivy League opposition.
More importantly, Cornell now holds a four-point advantage against second-place Quinnipiac in the ECAC standings and is one win away from clinching its third consecutive Ivy League championship. The Big Red could clinch the title even before its next Ivy League game if Dartmouth and Princeton lose one more league game each.
The first period saw Cornell hold a 14-7 edge in shots, but the Big Red couldn’t get one past Lindsay Holdcroft on two power plays or at even strength. Dartmouth ended the period on a five-on-three that carried over into the second period, but the Big Red held strong and didn’t allow a goal on those chances.
A tense second period mostly went the way of the Big Green as Mazzotta and the Cornell defense held strong. Multiple penalties against Cornell were killed off including a two-minute minor to Lauriane Rougeau that resulted in what was initially called a goal by Dartmouth.
On that play, a pass was made in front of the net by Dartmouth and the referee near the goal line signaled a goal after Mazzotta wound up in her own net. Taking nearly five minutes to review the play, referees determined the Big Green had not scored because Mazzotta had her glove covering the puck and before it crossed the goal line.
More furious back-and-forth play abounded in the third stanza with neither team able to get a puck into the net. Both squads had power play opportunities, but again the penalty killing units were perfect.
Until the overtime, that is. Cornell’s Catherine White was sent to the box early in the extra frame, and Dartmouth’s Erica Dobos went to the box more than a minute later to nullify the end of the Big Green’s power play chance. Then, as Cornell’s power play was ticking down, Fortino found Barley-Maloney for the game-winning score.