November 3, 2000

Hockey Opens Regular Season

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John and Susan McRae must have had several sleepless nights this week.

As the parents of Cornell sophomores Matt and Mark, and of Sacred Heart’s Peter, a junior, they have to make the obviously gut-wrenching choice whether to cheer for the Red or the Pioneers when the to schools clash tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in Lynah.

Flying in from Toronto, Ont., for the Red’s first regular season game, they must decide between rooting for their first-born or their youngest.

“I think they’re kind of split on the whole thing,” Mark said. “I think they’re going to cheer for both of us.”

Having never played each, the McRae brothers should be in for an interesting experience.

“We anticipated [the game] over the summer,” Mark added. “It’s been a big thing going on in the house. So it’s really going to be nice to play him.”

But, the McRae civil war will be just a sideshow tomorrow. The headline act should be whether Cornell can move a step closer to mid-season form and whether it can mend the special teams flaws it displayed last Saturday against Waterloo.

“We had major breakdowns in our penalty killing last weekend,” head coach Mike Schafer ’86 explained.

While the Red allowed three power-play goals, in its six man-advantage opportunities, it didn’t score once.

“We have a lot to improve on as far as penalty kill,” senior tri-captain and defenseman Danny Powell said, continuing, “And the power play can always be more successful.”

“I guess we’ve got to try to put a few more pucks in the net,” Mark noted.

Unlike Cornell, which has had an established program since the turn of the century, Sacred Heart’s team has been around for less than a decade.

While Peter McRae, a defenseman, will captain the Pioneers, they should be anchored by senior goalie Alexis Jutras-Binet. Offensively, Sacred Heart will look to Marty Pacquet and Lloyd Marksm who led the squad with 40 and 35 points respectively last season.

The Pioneers haven’t had much luck against ECAC opponents so far this year — they were smashed, 8-2, by Colgate three weekends ago.

But similar to last week, Cornell is less concerned with scouting the Pioneers than it is with fine-tuning its gameplay before the ECAC schedule opens next weekend at Union and RPI.

“We’re not really worried about what they’re done so far. Because it’s going to be our first game, we’re going to play our system,” Powell declared.

“We’re really in the early stages of learning the fundamentals of our systems,” Schafer explained. “So it’s a building process. You can’t march to the peak in one single week.”

One area of concern for the Red should very well be the injury list. After he limped off the ice against Waterloo, junior forward Denis Ladouceur joins sophomore defenseman Doug Murray — who is plagued with a groin-pull — in the trainer’s room.

While the nation’s top teams have been in action for about a month already, Cornell has seen itself drop out of the national rankings recently due to its late start.

But the wait is now officially over.

“Finally [we have] some regular season games,” Powell asserted. “It’s for points, and we have a lot to play for, like the rankings.”

Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj