May 9, 2009

Courtesy of Cornell

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Freshman Rob Panell had three goals and two assists and junior Michael Howe gave Cornell a big lift in the face-off  circle during the decisive third quarter run as the Big Red advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals with an 11-8 victory over Hofstra on Saturday evening at Schoellkopf Field. Cornell, which improved to 11-3 with the victory, will play on Hofstra's home field in Hempstead, N.Y. next Saturday at noon against the winner of the Princeton/Massachusetts game. The Pride ended their season with an 11-4 record.

Pannell had a goal and an assist during Cornell's 5-1 third period run, while Howe, who had taken just three face-offs all season, won three straight to open the quarter and took 8-of-12 on the afternoon. Senior goalkeeper Jake Myers added nine big saves, including eight in the final three periods. Chris Finn had a goal and two assists, while Max Seibald (two goals) and Ryan Hurley (one goal, one assist) each had multi-point games. For Hurley, the goal was his 40th of the season, hitting that milestone for the second straight year and becoming just the fifth Cornell player to reach 40 goals in back-to-back seasons.  All-America senior defender Matt Moyer, who wasn't expected to play due to injury, gave the Big Red a huge momentum boast by not only making the start, but scoring his first career goal to open the game just 1:08 into the contest. Moyer also added three ground balls and one caused turnover.

Hofstra fell despite an outstanding effort by freshman goalkeeper Andrew Gvozden, who made 15 saves, including seven in the first quarter to keep the Pride in the contest early on. Michael Colleluori had two goals and an assist, Anthony Mascarella notched two scores and Ryan Carter was credited with a goal and an assist in the defeat.
Cornell held a significant advantage in shots (45-27) and ground balls (38-26), while the Pride held the slim edge in face-offs, winning 12-of-23. The Big Red registered 16-of-19 clears and turned the ball over just 10 times. Hofstra cleared the ball successfully 17-of-20 times, but had 14 turnovers. The Pride scored 1-of-2 extra-man goals, while holding Cornell scoreless on four attempts.  
After Moyer’s huge goal, off a pass by Finn, to start the game, Finn registered a goal of his own off a pass from Hurley just four minutes later.
Reigning CAA Player of the Year Jay Card got Hofstra on the board with 9:21 remaining in the first period, beating Myers up high from five-yards out, but Seibald returned a two-goal advantage to the Big Red as he bulldozed his way through two Hofstra defenders and beat Gvozden down low. Pannell then pushed the lead to 4-1 as he wrapped around the goal, rolled inside and sent a shot through Gvozden’s legs with just over one minute to play in the opening stanza.
An unassisted goal by Carter with six ticks showing on the clock sent Hofstra into the first intermission trailing, 4-2.
Colleluori struck for the Pride just 50 seconds into the second quarter as he slipped through the Cornell defense a scored from point-blank range, before Muscarella knotted the game, 4-4, at the 11:25 mark.  
 A spectacular goal by Pannell ended a 14-minute Cornell scoring drought and returned the slim one-goal lead to the Big Red, but just 40 seconds later Muscarella tied the game again at 5-5 with 1:21 to play in the half.
The Big Red won the ensuing face-off but a last second shot by Seibald went high and the teams entered the intermission deadlocked at 5-5.
The teams traded possessions to open the third quarter before a save by Myers led to a fast break the other way. Roy Lang, a short-stick defensive midfielder, carried the ball the length of the field, ran into a Hofstra defender, spun back to his left, double-clutched and beat Gvozden down low.
Pannell then returned a two-goal cushion to the Big Red, scoring from in close on a near-impossible angle, but a man-up goal from Stephen Bentz, off a laser-like cross-crease pass from Colleluori, brought the visitors back within one goal just one minute later.
A sensational defensive effort by Andrew MacDonald, who caused a turnover, picked up the ground ball and streaked into the offensive end, gave the Big Red a much-needed extended possession. The play resulted in Finn sending a cross-field pass to George Calvert, who converted from 10 yards out to make it an 8-6 game with 2:39 to play in the quarter.
Hofstra won the restart and carried back into its defensive end, where a tenacious Cornell ride forced the Pride into a turnover and the Big Red made them pay as Pannell found Seibald cutting towards the cage and the senior midfielder scored from point-blank range to put the home team up, 9-6.
A defensive stop by Moyer, as he forced a turnover, gave the Big Red one final possession in the quarter and Romero converted on the run with a ball that just managed to break the plane of the goal before hitting the underside of the cross bar and bouncing out. Romero’s goal made it a 10-6 game with 11 seconds to play in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter opened as a back and forth battle before Card, who had been held scoreless for 50:51, found the back of the net with 4:00 to play in the game, but Hurley scored on an open cage just 1:20 later for his 40th goal of the season.   
Less than one minute later, Colleluori tallied an unassisted goal, but the Big Red used a Hofstra penalty to run out the final 1:42 on the clock and claim the 11-8 victory.