February 26, 2011

Hobart Has No Answer for Pannell, Cornell

from press release

Ben DeLuca pumps his fist in celebration Saturday. Cornell delivered a 14-9 win over Hobart in his first game as the Big Red's head coach.

© Greg Wall

ITHACA, N.Y. – After yesterday's severe weather threatened to delay the start of the 2011 Cornell men's lacrosse season, the game was played as scheduled and the result was what Big Red fans hoped for as Cornell defeated Hobart, 14-9, on Schoellkopf Field to give head coach Ben DeLuca his first career victory. The Big Red jumped out to an 11-2 lead and then held off a late surge by the Statesmen to pick up its eighth straight win over Hobart and move to 1-0 on the year.

Nine different players found the scoring column for Cornell, led by junior Rob Pannell, who finished with two goals and four assists. Midfielders Roy Lang (two goals, assist) and Mitch McMichael (goal, two assists) tallied three points, while attackman Cody Bremner, midfielder David Lau and defenseman Mike Bronzino all added two goals. JJ Gilbane, Mike O'Neil and Steve Mock had one goal each and Chris Langton tallied an assist.

Hobart (1-1) also had nine different players score, with Alex Love adding an assist for a team-high two-point day. Chris Pedersen was kept out of the scoring column by Cornell senior defenseman Max Feely.

Cornell held the edge in shots (45-31), and ground balls (31-29), but the Statesmen dominated the face-off circle, with Bobby Dattilo winning 18-of-24 restarts. The Big Red cleared the ball 21-of-25 times and converted 3-of-7 extra-man opportunities, while Hobart cleared 17-of-19 and scored on 1-of-4 man-up chances.

In cage, AJ Fiore made 11 saves to pick up the win, while Evan Kirk stopped 10 in the loss.

The Big Red won the opening faceoff on a procedure call and got off three shots before Pannell spun away from his defender and shot over the goalkeeper's left shoulder to put Cornell on the board for the first time in 2011 at the 13:25 mark. Hobart won the ensuing face-off, but despite a Cornell penalty, could not got a shot on goal before Cornell backed up an errant shot to regain possession.

The Big Red capitalized once it went back to full strength when Gilbane's low shot found the back of the net with 10:05 remaining. Cornell won the ensuing face-off and Bronzino scooped the ground ball and went the rest of the way untouched for his first goal of the season just 13 seconds later, making it 3-0 with 9:52 remaining in the period.

A failed clear after a save by Fiore turned into a quick score by Love, his first of the season, at the 8:12 mark. That goal cut the Statesman's deficit to 3-1.

The Big Red got the goal right back up when Lau buried a close shot on a feed from Lang with 2:16 on the clock. Cornell was holding the ball after a caused turnover at midfield by Shane O'Neill and the score nullified the upcoming Hobart penalty.

Cornell used a three-minute unreleasable penalty by Hobart for use of an illegal stick to score two times and make it 6-1 early in the second. Hobart finally struck back with a score, but a save by Fiore on one end led to a goal by Lang on the other. Pannell assisted on the goal for his fourth point of the day to bolster the lead to 7-2. Pannell then found O'Neil for the team's eighth goal with 2:06 left in the half to give the home team a six-goal lead (8-2) that would hold until the intermission.

Pannell had five points (two goals, three assists) in the first half, while McMichael and Lang each had a goal and an assist. Cornell held a commanding 31-12 edge in shots and went 2-for-4 on the extra man. Fiore made four saves for the Big Red, while Hobart's Kirk made seven stops.

The Big Red scored the first three goals of the third period before Ryan Korn took a pass from Jake Eisenhard in an unsettled situation and beat Fiore to make it 11-3 with 3:38 left.

Hobart was able to score a pair of goals in a span of seven seconds in the final minute of the third, giving the visitors a 3-0 run and cut Cornell's lead to 11-5 thanks to its dominance at the face-off "x". Another win for Hobart and a one-minute slashing penalty by the Big Red let the visitors get another shot, but Fiore picked up a save and the Big Red ran out the final 20 seconds on the clock.

Hobart opened the fourth period with a goal at the 13:43 mark to extend its run to 4-0 and cut the deficit to 11-6. A save by Kirk continued to build momentum for the visitors, and despite having a disallowed goal due to a crease violation, the Statesmen were able to get within four when Sam Miller found the back of the net on a feed from Love with 11:10 remaining.

Cornell finally ended the run when Bronzino scooped up a ground ball in the Hobart offensive end and went coast-to-coast for his second goal of the day, making it 12-7 with over 10 minutes left.

A turnover on a failed clear after a save by Fiore ended with yet another Hobart goal. This time, Derek Akner earned a hard-fought loose ball and fired it around Fiore to make it 12-8.

Pannell, who had been quiet for much of the second half, set up Cornell's next goal, finding Mock on the doorstep with 3:19 left to essentially seal away the win, making it 13-8. A little over a minute later, Cornell capped its scoring when Bremner scored after McMichael found him all alone on the crease to push the lead back to six. The Statesmen were able to score one last time with 1:09, but it proved to be too little, too late as Cornell won its season opener.

The Big Red is back in action on Tuesday, March 1, when it travels to Binghamton to take on the Bearcats at 3:30 p.m.

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