Cornell outlasts Loyola in 3 OTs

11-10 loss in NCAA tournament first round ends Greyhounds' season

May 15, 2010|By Donna Ditota | The Post-Standard

ITHACA, N.Y. — When Loyola roared back from a seven-goal deficit Saturday to tie its first-round NCAA tournament game with the Big Red, Cornell goalie A.J. Fiore's thoughts drifted to recent heartbreakers against Princeton and Syracuse.

In both of those contests, the Big Red lost in numbing last-second fashion. "The thoughts creep in," Fiore said, "but you gotta get them out right away."

It took three overtime periods, but Cornell exorcised the ghosts of those two critical May losses, defeating Loyola, 11-10.

Max Feely, the Big Red close defender, galloped into the Loyola end of the field, noticed that Greyhounds defenders were glued to the Cornell attack, and proceeded to launch a shot at goalie Alex Peaty with 2:05 remaining.

The ball pocked the back of the net, allowing Cornell (11-5) to advance to the quarterfinals, where it will meet the winner of today's Syracuse-Army game.

"It was truly a tale of two halves," Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. "When the chips were down, we challenged our guys at halftime, and we came out and played like Greyhounds. We put ourselves in a position to win."

Loyola (9-5) had trailed 9-2 in the third quarter, but Stephen Murray gave the Greyhounds a chance to play in overtime.

Murray scored from in front of the Cornell goal with 7 seconds left in regulation after catching a delicately threaded pass from Cooper MacDonnell.

That Cornell needed the extra sessions would have seemed ludicrous at halftime.

Cornell built an 8-2 lead at the half, largely because it controlled faceoffs and attacked the defense with precision cuts and passes. After Rob Pannell buried a relatively weak shot from about 12 yards at 7:09 of the second quarter, Loyola goalie Jake Hagelin was lifted for Peaty, his backup.

But the real difference, for Loyola, came at the faceoff X. After losing eight of 10 draws in the first half, Greyhounds faceoff man John Schiavone suddenly solved the Cornell unit. Schiavone won six of seven in the third quarter, which allowed Loyola to get back into the game.

Loyola scored five goals during a six-minute span of the third quarter. One came in an unsettled situation, another when a Loyola player essentially golfed a loose ball into the net. When Collin Finnerty drilled a shot past Fiore at 2:47 of the third, the Greyhounds trailed just 9-7.

Schiavone won every faceoff during that rally and was a dominant 12-for-15 in the second half. Those second-half possessions allowed Loyola to outshoot Cornell 39-11 after intermission.

"I think I just settled down a little bit," he said. "I got more confident in myself and was able to settle down and get it to my team. I'm better when my team's better. When we're scoring more goals, it's giving me more chances and getting me into a rhythm.

With time ticking down in the third overtime, the Greyhounds owned the ball in their offensive end. MacDonnell attempted an outside shot that somehow went awry. The ball skittered to Roy Lang, who sprinted toward the Loyola end and passed to Feely. When he was about 10 feet in front of the goal, he choked up on his 6-foot stick and fired the ball past Peaty.

"It was a long pole -- typically not a situation you see very often," Peaty said. "At that point it was just who had more guts. The Cornell player came bearing down and I just don't think we made the right decisions to make that stop."

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