Penn's Zack Losco scores four in fourth, Quakers stun Cornell in Ivy semis
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Cardiac Quakers are back to their old tricks.
Tenth-ranked Penn entered the fourth quarter of Friday night’s Ivy League tournament semifinal with No. 11 Cornell down 10-7. At that point, the Quakers had gone nearly 17 minutes without a goal, and the Big Red had taken advantage with consecutive scores -- a run similar to their run on March 22 at Penn Park, when they dismantled Penn in the middle quarters en route to a 17-9 win.
Unlike that regular-season game, Penn had an answer on Friday night at Harvard Stadium: Zack Losco. Penn scored four goals in the final quarter; he had all of them. The final one came with about 49 seconds left and was the final blow as the Quakers stunned the Big Red 11-10.
With the win, Penn (10-3) moves on to Sunday’s Ivy League tournament final, which will start at noon at the Stadium and air live on ESPNU. The Quakers will face either Harvard or Yale, who are meeting in Friday’s second semifinal.
The win -- Penn’s first in three appearances at the five-year-old Ivy League tournament -- was the Quakers’ seventh in a row, the program’s longest winning streak since the 1988 Ivy champion and NCAA semifinalist won eight in a row. It was also their first victory against Cornell since 2006, and just the third against the Big Red since 1998.
Penn is now 4-0 in one-goal games this season, and has won three times when trailing at the start of the fourth quarter.
Losco’s first goal in the fourth period ended Penn’s scoring drought at 17 minutes, 40 seconds; he beat his man up top, sliced deep into the Cornell defense, and put a lefty shot past Christian Knight’s left leg to make the score 10-8. A few minutes later, he made it a one-goal game in a man-up situation, taking a feed through the defense from Doktor and lasering a lefty shot past Knight. Then he tied the game up with 8:11 left, beating a defender out top and bouncing a shot that Knight couldn’t pick up until it was too late.
The final goal was another individual effort. With Penn on a stall warning, Losco sailed across the front of Cornell’s defense before pulling the trigger from about 12 yards out. The ball beat Knight past his left leg, snuck inside the far post, and set off pandemonium.
Cornell won the ensuing faceoff, but a Big Red turnover on offense gave the ball back the Quakers and the defense was able to run out the clock.
Losco -- a first-team All-Ivy midfielder for the second consecutive season -- finished the night with five goals and six points, both career highs. Pat Berkery, who missed last Friday's game against St. John's due to injury, announced his return to the lineup with two goals, while Nick Doktor scored once and assisted two others.
Cornell (11-4) got on the board first Friday night, Dan Lintner scoring unassisted. Penn responded almost immediately, taking advantage of a Big Red penalty as Losco took a feed from Drew Belinsky and fired home a shot from distance.
Shortly after that, Berkery beat his defender out front and firing home a left-handed shot over Cornell goalkeeper Christian Knight’s left shoulder.
Penn had a big chance to up its lead midway through the quarter, as Cornell was called for a pair of fouls on the same play to give the Quakers a two-man advantage. Instead, Isaac Bock missed a feed in front, then compounded the turnover by pushing on Knight at the end line. The penalty was called, Bock went into the box, Cornell got the ball at midfield, and the Big Red’s Connor Buczek immediately made Penn pay by pushing the ball to John Edmonds who was alone on the right side. From his knees, Edmonds faked Feeney out and pushed a shot past his right leg to tie the game.
The goal was pretty, but it actually might have hurt the Big Red. Penn faced off, still up two men, and with the 3-on-1 advantage in the middle the Quakers easily won. They quickly moved the ball down the field, and Doktor found Kevin Brown in his favorite spot, on the right side. Brown’s left-handed, underhand shot ripped the bottom corner of the goal to put Penn up 3-2.
The teams got back to even strength, but Penn won the faceoff and Losco found Berkery who fired home his second of the night. That made it 4-2.
Matt Donovan cut the lead in half, taking his man from behind the goal to the right side and pushing a spin shot past Brian Feeney’s left leg.
Belinsky found Jeff Puckette across the front of the goal, and Puckette quick-sticked it into the goal to make the score 5-3 almost exactly midway through the second period. More than three minutes later, Doktor made it 6-3 when he took his defender on from behind the goal and sent an underhanded shot along the ground that snuck inside the far post.
Cornell made it 6-4 with 1:44 left before halftime when Donovan fed a cutting Joe Paoletta and Paoletta one-timed it past Feeney’s left shoulder. However, the other half of the twin duo, Danny Feeney, quickly got it back, winning the ensuing faceoff and driving down the chute to finish with a shot past Knight’s left side.
Cornell turned it over late in the half, but Penn’s zeal to get it down the field caused them to turn it right back over to the Red. They took advantage. Donovan again fed the goal, this time Lintner getting the pass and finishing with a nifty behind-the-back shot from in front. The score was 7-5 Penn at the break.
Buczek immediately made it a one-goal game in the third quarter, taking his man on the right side and firing a shot past Feeney’s right leg. Just a few minutes later, Paoletta also scored from distance, his shot rocketing over Feeney’s right shoulder to tie the game at 7-7.
Donovan gave the Big Red its first lead since 1-0 when he came from behind and slid a shot underneath Feeney from just outside the crease. Shortly after that, he scored again in a man-up situation, beating the defense to the spot near the right post and sent a shot over Feeney.
Penn had a chance to get the goals back almost immediately after Donovan’s second goal, with two Cornell penalties giving the Quakers a two-man advantage. However, Losco forced a shot from distance that Knight easily saved, and the Big Red came down and scored as Lintner hit another behind-the-back shot from a Donovan pass.
That’s when Losco took over.