March 16, 2013

Cornell's Mock-Pannell Connection Works Again in Yale Win

by Stephen Bailey | | Live Blog Replay

Steve Mock (6) scored six goals, three in the fourth quarter, and Rob Pannell finished with two goals and three assists — all to Mock — in Cornell's 12-10 win over Yale.
© Greg Wall

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Matt Donovan wrapped his right arm around Steve Mock, pulling his teammate close while rubbing the top of his white helmet with his left fist.

The Cornell attackmen were celebrating Mock's six-goal performance as the second-ranked Big Red lined up on a snowy Reese Stadium field to salute their fans after a 12-10 win against No. 15 Yale.

"Steve Mock does a great job of getting open inside," Cornell fifty-year senior attackman Rob Pannell said. "He was able to get open and we were able to find him ... we were able to answer their goals, and when we got one goal, we got right to two and we didn't step off the gas."

The host Bulldogs gave Cornell (5-0, 1-0 Ivy) a tremendous battle, but the Big Red rode Mock to their 14th consecutive Ivy League-opening win. After Yale (3-2, 0-1) survived a 19-minute scoring drought and came back from a three-goal deficit in the fourth quarter, two savvy connections from Pannell to Mock in the final 4:11 pushed the Big Red to victory.

Three of Mock's six goals came in the fourth quarter and five came in the second half. Pannell finished with two goals and three assists — all to Mock — while AJ Fiore finished with eight saves for Cornell, including two point-blank, lead-saving denials in the final 10 minutes.

"I just thought we shot the ball very well," Cornell coach Ben DeLuca said. "We were able to give our seniors chances and they made good plays when we needed them to."

Conrad Oberbeck led Yale with a hat trick while Brandon Mangan finished with a goal and three assists. Dylan Levings dominated on faceoffs for the Bulldogs, who won 22 of 25.

An Oberbeck goal completed a 3-1 Bulldogs run to give them a 6-5 lead with 1:49 left in the first half before Cornell defender Jason Noble stripped Mangan with 22 seconds to go. Noble flipped to Pannell, who raced downfield, turned on the left doorstep and whipped an overhead shot past Yale goalie Eric Natate to tie the game at 6 entering halftime.

The Big Red blanked Yale in the third quarter, as two Mock goals and an O'Neil tally gave Cornell a 9-6 lead heading into the final frame. While Mock celebrated, chest-bumping Max Van Bourgondien after his second tally, Natale turned away in frustration.

"We really emphasized the faceoffs at halftime," Pannell said. "Yale has a great faceoff guy. We needed to make it a free man battle there at the faceoff X, get the wings involved, and I think that's really what turned the momentum in the second half and third quarter specifically."

The Bulldogs' offensive struggles were multiplied by a slew of errors. Kirby Zdrill bobbled his third pass in front of the net midway through the frame, and two bad passes from Natale led directly to Cornell goals. The result was a 19-minute scoring drought

"We've got to do a better job with turnovers," Yale coach Andy Shay said. "We've got to do a better job man-up. We've done a good job with man up through the first four (games), but 1-of-6 isn't good enough."

The Bulldogs came back to life in the fourth quarter, challenging a Cornell team that had outscored opponents 27-9 in the final period of its first four games. Mangan found Oberbeck on an over-the-net lob to pull Yale within 9-7 with 12:11 left before Colin Flaherty scored on a wraparound 55 seconds later.

After Bulldogs defender Michael McCormack scooped up the ensuing faceoff, Oberbeck used a split-dodge to get an open look from 8 yards. But Fiore turned him away and Mock scored from the left doorstep to make it 10-8 Cornell with 8:55 left. Michael Lipin answered for Yale with 6:11 to go before Pannell showcased incredible awareness on the Big Red's next possession.

As an O'Neil shot zoomed over the crossbar, the Yale defenders turned and took steps toward the back line, assuming the ball was rolling out of bounds. But Pannell snared the shot from behind the crease and flipped it to a cutting Mock, who finished it off easily.

"I saw Rob catch it behind the goal, a one-handed grab, and look inside," Mock said. "He always has his head up and has a knack for finding me inside so I flash-dodged toward the net and he found me."

Said Pannell: "It's a good way to catch a defense off-guard and that's exactly what happened there. I'm sure a lot of guys on their defense thought that went out."

McCormack scored 14 seconds later to give Yale one last chance, but Jason Noble beat Levings on the next faceoff and Pannell hit a cutting Mock from the left wing to make it 12-10 with 3:06 remaining and seal the win for Cornell.

Before the game, Pannell tweeted out a picture of the team's new white HeadWrapz helmets. Standing on the field after the game, he said the superstitious squad decided against wearing them against Virginia. Mock thought it would be more fitting to break them out to start conference play.

"I get in a fight with Steve Mock about what we wear every week," Pannell joked while signing autographs for a group of kids. "... I wasn't taking no for an answer on Monday."

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