Tonawanda News — Niagara University scored two goals just 2:12 apart to erase a deficit, but the host Cornell Big Red — ranked 14th in the nation — regained its lead late in the second period and ultimately handed the Purple Eagles a 4-2 loss at Lynah Rink in Ithaca, NY Tuesday night.
The Big Red's final goal of the game came courtesy of their freshman goaltender, Mitch Gillam, who took advantage of an emptied Niagara net and fired the puck down the ice and over the goal line.
The hosts took a 1-0 lead on Reece Willcox's second goal of the season, coming at the 15:55 mark of the first period. Cornell then jumped to a 2-0 lead at the 5:14 mark of the second with Brian Ferlin's seventh goal of the season, this one coming on the power play.
The Purple Eagles staged a valiant rally later in the period. Sophomore Dan Kolenda got his first goal of the season at the 15:01 mark, assisted by fellow sophomore Rocky Gruttadauria and freshman Brock Edwards.
Niagara then got a power play opportunity and cashed in at the 17:13 mark when TJ Sarcona netted his third goal of the season, assisted by Edwards and Issac Kohls.
Cornell responded two minutes and 42 seconds later, with just five seconds remaining in the middle period. Patrick McCarron scored his first goal of the season, the goal that proved to be the game-winner.
The game remained close, with Cornell outshooting Niagara by a 27-26 margin. The Big Red got its needed insurance goal with Gillam's shot from in front of his own net into the Purple Eagles' unprotected net, sending the fans at Lynah Rink into a frenzy.
Goaltender Adrian Ignagni took the loss for Niagara, who fell to 3-9-1 on the season. Cornell improved to 7-3-1.
Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the Purple Eagles will return to game action at the University of Connecticut, against whom they'll play two games December 6 and 7.