ITHACA — Friday night’s ECAC Hockey contest at Cornell’s Lynah Rink was one of the strangest games in the history of the Clarkson University men’s hockey program.
The Big Red came away with a 3-1 win before 4,267 fans, but the second period left everyone in the building perplexed.
Clarkson (2-6-5 overall, 2-2-1 ECAC Hockey) was trailing 1-0 with 8 minutes, 47 seconds left in the second period when Cornell’s Kirill Gotovets was injured on a hit which did not result in any penalties for Clarkson.
Some Big Red players took exception to the play and a fight ensued. Clarkson’s Allan McPherson was knocked to the ice by Cornell’s John McCarron and after the initial scrum was over the officials gave McPherson, McCarron and Cornell’s Joakim Ryan major penalties and game disqualifications, meaning they would not have been eligible for today’s games.
Clarkson started its major penalty and then noticed that Cornell’s Ryan was still on the ice, even though it had been announced he was ejected. After 52 seconds, which included a shorthanded shot by Ryan, Clarkson’s bench called the officials over to ask why Ryan was playing and that’s when things got strange.
After a talk that lasted almost 15 minutes the officials took Ryan’s penalty away, changed McPherson’s penalty to a game misconduct, which means he can play in today’s 4 p.m. game at Colgate, but also wiped away Clarkson’s major power play.
“It was a huge swing, a big impact, and never an explanation for it,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “It affected us. They initiated all the contact and we end up with three guys in the penalty box, one guy gone and two guys with (10-minute penalties). It was unbelievable.”
To make matters worse, Clarkson’s Jeff DiNallo was called for slashing a little more than two minutes later and Cornell (5-3-1, 2-3-2) scored a power-play goal on a shot by John Esposito to take a 2-0 lead.
Clarkson got back in the back when Joe Zarbo scored a power-play goal at 3:28 of the third period but Cornell clinched the win with an empty-net goal from John Esposito at 19:18.
“We showed up ready to play from the get-go,” Jones said. “In terms of a young team in that environment, I thought we handled it well.”
Clarkson outshot Cornell 9-5 in the first period and had two power plays but couldn’t get anything past Cornell goalie Andy Iles, who finished with 22 saves.