Sophomore defenseman Dante Fabbro was on the ice for all four of No. 7 Cornell University’s goals against the No. 19 Boston University men’s hockey team, and emerged with one goal and two assists on the night.
Fabbro’s play paralleled the Terriers’ (6-8-1, 4-4-1 Hockey East) performance on Saturday night against the Big Red (9-1) in the sixth installment of Red Hot Hockey at Madison Square Garden.
The Terriers were able to dig themselves out of two separate three-goal deficits and put up three goals in the third period from Fabbro, sophomore defenseman Chad Krys and sophomore forward Patrick Harper. However, Cornell hung on for the 4-3 win as BU was unable to overcome its second period woes.
Entering the matchup, the Terriers knew the Big Red would pose a large challenge, but found themselves with a 3-0 scoreline favoring Cornell midway through the second period.
“I give our guys a lot of credit,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “I thought we showed a lot of resolve, a lot of mental toughness. I thought once we got down 3-0, we started playing and we saw what we were capable of doing.”
Poor play in the second period has not been uncharacteristic for the Terriers this season as they entered the matchup having been outscored 17 to 12, despite putting up the highest amount of shots compared to any other period.
BU outshot the Big Red 13-6 in the second period after Cornell had a 15-6 shot advantage in the opening frame, but the Terriers were unable to capitalize on their opportunities.
“I’d love to shoot the puck more,” Quinn said. “I think we passed up shooting the puck way too much.”
BU’s offense was able to get into gear in the latter portion of the period, but the team lacked defensive coherence.
The Terriers, whose lineup had seven defensemen, were unable to maintain possession in its offensive and neutral zone as pucks couldn’t connect to sticks, which the Big Red took advantage of. Subsequently sophomore goaltender Jake Oettinger had to make 26 saves over the night.
Fabbro remained dismayed by the fact that he was on the ice for the four goals allowed, but said he thought the team played much better in the latter portion of the matchup.
“I know there’s a lot of breakdowns and a lot of things happen out there, but I thought, like coach said, the last 28 minutes there we really gave it to them and unfortunately we fell short,” Fabbro said.
Although the goals in the second period hemmed BU in early and its play improved, the game-winning goal by freshman forward Tristan Mullin came from in front of the net near the right face-off circle after he got past Fabbro and freshman defenseman David Farrance.
While the most goals BU has let up in the middle frame is three — against Minnesota State University on Oct. 13 and Providence College on Oct. 28 — the Terriers’ three goals in the final period were not enough to compensate for the two goals let in the second period.
The Big Red’s senior forward Trevor Yates backhanded Cornell’s second tally of the night at 6:51 in the second period. Freshman forward Morgan Barron was able to feed the puck to Yates from the left face-off circle after beating BU Fabbro and freshman defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo to the puck.
The second goal of the frame came two minutes and 51 seconds afterward as the Terriers were unable to kill off their third penalty of the night. Barron got his second assist of the night after passing the puck to junior defenseman Alec McCrea who’s shot went off Oettinger’s left pad.
“It’s frustrating because it seems like we continue to give up goals too easy and we can’t get them,” Quinn said. “There are a couple of things we have to clean up and I’ve been talking about this for a while, it’s going to happen. We just got to get ready [and] go home to get ready to play a big league game on Friday night.”