ITHACA, N.Y. — Third-ranked Cornell needed to wait an extra three days to play its first game of the season, and apparently Rob Pannell bottled up all that energy. The reigning national player of the year exploded for a career-high 10 points and led the Big Red to a 17-12 shootout victory against Binghamton on Tuesday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field.
Pannell scored a career-high six goals and assisted on four others, surpassing the nine points he scored in a game against Dartmouth last season. His previous career high for goals was four, a mark he reached four times. In the process, Pannell extended his national-leading point scoring streak to 53 games, boosted his goal scoring streak to 18 contests and became the sixth Big Red player to reach 100 career goals. He ended the night with 102. Pannell also moved within 10 points of matching Eamon McEneaney ’77 for second on the school’s career scoring list, ending the season opener with 246 points.
While Pannell scored early and often, he also scored quickly. The senior netted a pair of goals in the span of six seconds late in the first quarter, the fastest a player has scored consecutive goals in program history. Ryan Hurley netted a pair of goals in the span of seven seconds against Canisius in 2008.
Cornell extended its streak of wins in the home opener to 14, but it didn’t come easy. The Bearcats led as late as the final five minutes of the third quarter, and only a 6-0 Big Red run spanning more than 13 minutes of the third and fourth separated the teams.
Pannell wasn’t a one-man show in the team win, as Steve Mock scored four times, Connor English netted two goals and both Matt Donovan and Max Van Bourgondien were credited with a goal and an assist defensively. Doug Tesoriero won 17-of-27 face-offs after the Big Red got off to a slow start in the x, including winning nine ground balls himself. Jason Noble chipped in five ground balls and had one of five Big Red caused turnovers defensively.
The Big Red used three goalkeepers in the win, as the group combined for 13 saves. Brian O’Donnell got the start and made seven saves while surrendering 10 goals in 40:49 before giving way to AJ Fiore, who made one stop in picking up the win for his 4:11 played. Andrew West played the fourth quarter and made five saves while allowing two goals.
Tyler Perrelle had an outstanding game for the Bearcats, tallying three goals and three assists for six points. Michael Antinozzi chipped in with four scores and Brandon Planck had two goals and an assist. John Clark also scored twice. Tewaaraton Trophy candidate Ben Waldron caused three turnovers and was also credited with an assist to lead the defense. Jordan Marra got the start between the pipes, but was pulled early in the second quarter in favor of Colin Nesdale, who made 12 saves and allowed 12 goals. He was peppered with 42 shots in his nearly three quarters of action.
The Big Red was never able to run away from the Bearcats in the first half despite taking leads of 2-0, 5-2 and 7-4. Each time, Binghamton roared back. Cornell got its season started on the right foot when Pannell, as he has done so many times before, found Mock on the doorstep for a quick-stick goal 3:32 into the game. Pannell then called his own number three minutes later to make it 2-0.
Binghamton knotted the score at 2-2 before Cornell extended it out to 5-2 with the highlight coming on Pannell’s consecutive goals just seconds apart. After Pannell scored for the second time with 2:25 left on the first quarter clock, Tesoriero won the face-off cleanly, found a streaking Pannell and the senior recorded the hat trick six seconds later and just 12:41 into the season.
After Binghamton scored twice in a row to get within one, Cornell answered with two more of its own to make it 7-4. With the score 8-5, Binghamton went into the break with momentum, getting within two goals on a score by Kelly Donigan with 25 seconds left, followed by a face-off win and a two-minute unreleasable penalty 13 seconds later to enter the second half with a man-up situation.
Binghamton capitalized on the penalty 15 seconds into the third to make it 8-7, but Cornell killed off the final 1:32 of the extra-man and English came out of it with his first career goal to seize the momentum back briefly. Less than a minute later, the visitors grabbed it right back.
Brandon Planck scored the first of three consecutive Bearcat goals, with Antinozzi finding the back of the net twice in the span of 41 seconds to give Binghamton a 10-9 lead with 4:45 remaining in the third. But like champions, Cornell immediately responded.
The Big Red answered 34 seconds later, with Pannell scoring his fifth goal of the game to knot the score at 10-10. He then sent the home team into the fourth quarter ridinig high, breaking the tie with five ticks left on the clock.
Cornell broke it open in the fourth, scoring three times in the first five minutes of the fourth and four times overall to bring its run to 6-0 and an eventual 15-10 lead. Binghamton clawed back to 15-12 after John Clark scored twice, but Mock’s fourth goal of the night and a Matt Donovan insurance score with 26 seconds left, both assisted by Pannell, ended the upset bid and gave Cornell its first victory of the season.