January 22, 2012

M. HOCKEY | Fans’ Hopes Fall Short as Red Ties Harvard

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The No. 9 Cornell men’s hockey team extend its unbeaten streak to seven games, the best in the nation, Saturday night. Neither the Red (11-4-4, 8-1-3 ECAC Hockey) nor its rival the Harvard Crimson (4-6-8, 3-4-6) could claim the victory in the 2-2 tie, but the Red’s three-point weekend did help it to maintain first place in the league. While head coach Mike Schafer ’86 stressed the importance of focusing on Dartmouth before thinking about Harvard, several Red freshman expressed their excitement for playing Harvard at Lynah Rink for the first time.

“My first collegiate hockey game was watching Cornell play Harvard on a recruiting visit,” said freshman forward Cole Bardreau. “I am pretty pumped.”

Though both squads played physically, a roughing penalty on Cornell’s Armand de Swardt late in the first period set the tone that choppy play would not be tolerated.

“After that one penalty, it was hard to know what you can and can’t do without getting called,” said senior captain and defenseman Keir Ross.

As a result, players on both sides tended to be more reserved than a typical Harvard versus Cornell game.

Left wing freshman Joel Lowry put the Red on the scoreboard at 9:02 into the first period with a wrister off of a pass from Ross and freshman defender Ryan Joakim. Junior Marshall Everson, who played an extremely physical game, matched with a goal for the Crimson, assisted by power defensemen Danny Biega and Patrick McNally.

Within the first two minutes of the second period, Harvard winger Colin Blackwell clinked the post behind sophomore goalie Iles, temporarily stopping the game for video review. Fortunately for the Red, the no-goal call was not overturned. Next, an attempt by junior center Greg Miller at the 1:20 mark was denied by Harvard goaltender Steve Michalek. Cornell proceeded to kill two penalties with a series of full-ice clears, before Harvard was nailed with a bench minor for too many men on the ice. For his fifth goal of his rookie season with the Red, Ryan accepted a pass from Miller and fired gloveside on Harvard’s Michalek, putting the Red up 2-1. Miller’s assist tied him with freshman attacker Brian Ferlin at 17 points this season.

Towards the end of the second, Harvard’s senior center Alex Killorn fed Blackwell on a breakaway. Iles made a sliding save on Blackwell’s backhand and the Lynah Faithful rewarded Iles with an Ewok salute. Iles made 31 saves on the night. However, Killorn went on to score the game’s final goal for the Crimson halfway though the third, tying up the score at 3-3.

“We haven’t lost in seven games now,” Iles said. “A lot of teams would love to be in the position we’re in.”

For the third game in a row, the Red found itself in overtime, where it seemed Miller’s line seemed to come out every other shift. An icing with one minute left caused a face-off in the Harvard zone, but the Crimson was able to break out with pressure.

The Red was satisfied with the game’s final results.

“You look around the league, and it’s hard to get points now,” Schafer said. “So, to get three points out of the weekend, it’s huge for us as a team to keep stepping forward.”

After the game, Schafer could be seen walking to the Harvard side of the handshake line, preventing some fans from tossing a final fish at the visiting squad.

“The Lynah Faithful fans are pretty smart in the sense that they hold the [fans who throw fish after the game starts] accountable and talk to them,” Scahfer said. “Who the heck wants to keep that fish in their jacket for two periods?”

Unlike last year, Cornell did not receive a bench minor for delay of game due to the actions of the Lynah Faithful, a blessing given that the Crimson yields the number one power play in the nation with a 35 percent success rate. Last year, the Red lost its momentum and the game in a clash of hopes and tradition.

Original Author: Rob Moore

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