Cornell vs. Yale
May 6, 2011
The Game Story:
ITHACA, N.Y. -- Cornell shook off an early first half deficit thanks to an outstanding defensive performance, advancing to the Ivy League championship final at Schoellkopf Field for the second straight year after an 11-7 victory over Yale on Friday evening. The conference semifinal win will pit the league champion Big Red against No. 3 seed Harvard on Sunday at noon for the conference's automatic bid.

Cornell improved to 12-2 on the year, while Yale fell to 10-4. The Crimson won the earlier semifinal with a 12-8 victory over second-seeded Penn. The two teams met on April 9 in Cambridge, Mass., with the Big Red escaping with a 13-12 triumph en route to an unbeaten conference slate.

“First of all, I want to congratulate Coach Shay and the Yale Bulldogs on a wonderful season,” said head coach Ben DeLuca. “I really want to compliment our senior leadership and how they led this team through some adversity today. This was a very competitive game but we gritted it out and showed some toughness in getting this win.”

For the second game in a row, Cornell watched the visitors jump out to an early lead, but used a ferocious defense to hold the Bulldogs scoreless for a span of 29:06 from the end of the first until the tird quarter to turn a 4-1 deficit into an 8-4 lead. Despite the Bulldogs' brilliance in the faceoff circle, the home team was never threatened the rest of the way. Cornell earned credit for 15 caused turnovers, including three by Jason Noble and two apiece by Mike Bronzino and Roy Lang. Bronzino added six ground balls and three other players posted four each. AJ Fiore made 10 saves over the final three quarters and posted 11 for the game in picking up the win between the pipes.

All-American Rob Pannell had a goal and five assists to lead the offense, while Lang, Mike O'Neil and Steve Mock registered hat tricks. Lang added an assist, while David Lau had a pair of assists. Cornell held a 37-29 shot advantage, including a 20-11 edge in the middle two quarters.

For Yale, Matt Gibson's three goals made him the only multi-point scorer. Cole Yeager (10-of-14) and Dylan Levings (6-of-7) helped the visitors dominate faceoffs, winning 16-of-22 restarts on the evening. Johnathan Falcone made nine saves. Yeager and Patrick Coleman each won six ground balls, with Coleman and Peter Johnson each recording a pair of caused turnovers.

Cornell scored first after a Yale goal was waved off due to an offsides call, but the Bulldogs battled back with consecutive goals to take a 2-1 lead three minutes in. A face-of victory by Yeagher answered O'Neil's score seven seconds after the Big Red made it 1-0. A minute later, Gibson buried a shot on a feed from Brian Douglass to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.

Yale extended the run to four goals before Cornell got a great finish from O'Neil on a thread-the-needle pass from Pannell to make it 4-2. Cornell had a late flurry looking to get back within one, but the period ended with the visitors up two goals.

Pannell's feed to O'Neil made it 4-3 with 5:14 gone in the second quarter, giving the freshman a career high in scoring, and a couple of rapid-fire goals, one by Pannell and another assisted by the junior attacker made it 5-4. The equalizer was a great find of Pannell in transition by Scott Austin, and the All-American's shot riccocheted off a defender's leg and crawled over the line. Pannell's feed to Mock on the crease was cashed in to give Cornell its first lead since the opening minutes.

Cornell added to the lead when a quick pass sequence from Pannell to Lau to a wide open Mock with seven seconds left in the half made it 6-4. The Big Red defense continued to dominate after the early hiccup, holding Yale without a goal for the final 17:28 of the half to go into the break leading by two.

The top-seeded home team dominated the second quarter, out-shooting Yale 10-3 and outscoring the Bulldogs 4-0. O'Neil, who entered the game with nine scores on the year, netted the first three tallies of the day for the Big Red. Pannell had a goal and three assists at the break.

Lang got the scoring underway after halftime with an unassisted goal more than five minutes into the contest, and Pannell found JJ Gilbane with 6:59 left on the clock in the quarter. Yale finally ended a 7-0 Big Red run by scoring its first goal in 29:06 when Jack Flaherty cut the deficit to 8-5 with 3:22 left in the third.

Cornell goals closed the third quarter and opened the fourth, with Pannell picking up his fifth assist of the day on a Steve Mock score early in the final quarter to double up the visitors at 10-5. The teams traded goals in the final two minutes after Yale got back within 10-6, including a spectacular man-down goal by Lang to cap Cornell's scoring with 1:30 to play. It was the Big Red's first man down goal of the season.