Defense dominated the Red’s first game of the 2012-13 campaign. In Cornell’s 2-0 win over Colorado College on Friday night, the men’s hockey team did not allow a single shot by the Tigers on a power play, as junior goaltender Andy Iles recorded 19 saves in his first shutout of the year.
Senior forward John Esposito was the offensive standout of the game, notching two goals in his first contest after coming back from an injury that sidelined him most of last season. Both of Esposito’s goals came on the power play as the Red (1-0-0, 0-0-0 ECAC) went two-for-six with the extra man with eight total shots. Sophomore forward Cole Bardreau had two assists while sophomore forward John McCarron and sophomore defenseman Joakim Ryan both had one.
“I am obviously pleased with the first game of the year, especially against a team that’s great in the transition,” said head coach Mike Schafer. “It is great to see John Esposito come out there after an injury and get off to a good start.”
Cornell scored its first goal with six seconds left in the second period on a five-on-three advantage, after Colorado (2-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) earned a costly too many players on the ice penalty and went down two men with under two minutes in the second period. Esposito’s goal resulted from a rebound after the Tigers’ goaltender left the net wide open for the Red forward.
“I was at the right place at the right time on the first goal,” Esposito said. “Both teams definitely came out physical and we played hard enough to get what we wanted to get done.”
After another penalty by the Tigers in the third period on a slashing minor, Esposito received a swift pass from Bardreau and maneuvered the puck beyond Colorado’s blockers.
However, according to Schafer, one of the key plays of the game was senior defenseman and tri-captain Nick D’Agostino. The 6-2 Ontario native came through on the defensive side, when he blocked a shot in the middle of the second period.
“[D’Agostino] got right in the shot lane and sacrificed his body and laid out for it,” Schafer said. “I thought we did a great job overall putting the pressure on their offense. Our clears on the penalty kill were pretty good today and we were able to limit their second chances.”
In net, Iles recorded his seventh career shutout on Friday with 19 saves. After the game, he emphasized that the Red cannot get too far ahead of itself..
“It is a 120 minute game,” Iles said in reference to the weekend’s two-game series against Colorado. “We made penalty kill an emphasis today and it was amazing tonight. We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do and did a pretty good job of implementing in practice this week.”