March 7, 2002

Lynah Rink: the Ultimate Advantage

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The men’s hockey team currently sports a 12-1-1 record in Lynah Rink. That’s a better home record than New Hampshire, Denver, Minnesota, St. Cloud and Michigan. In fact, Cornell has a better mark at home than every other team in the top 15 poll — with the exception of Michigan State.

Arguably, there are 3836 reasons for why Cornell has reaped so much success at home. On a home Friday or Saturday night when school is in session, it’s a foregone conclusion that Lynah Rink will be packed with 3836 of the Red’s most rabid fans. And that’s regardless of who Cornell’s playing.

Lynah Rink — which was dedicated on April 6, 1957, and named after the Cornell Athletic Director James Lynah 1905 — is responsible for one of the most ferocious home-ice advantages in the nation. And don’t think the team doesn’t realize that.

“Our fans are awesome,” senior goalie Matt Underhill said. “I’ve played here 50-whatever games, and it’s still brand new every time.”

“It’s totally an advantage for us,” added junior assistant captain Doug Murray. “Everybody loves playing here.”

The Red’s only loss in Lynah this year was on Jan. 12, against Dartmouth. And that was during Winter Break, with polite Ithacans outnumbering rowdy Cornellians.

Even opposing players admit that they enjoying skating into Lynah.

“It’s a ball to play there,” Dartmouth goalie Nick Boucher said. “[Lynah] is in a league of its own.”

Boucher is notorious for doing his best to give the Lynah fans a taste of its own medicine and can be counted on throwing back insults their way. (In an interview, Boucher used the words “Up yours” to describe his feeling towards the Lynah Faithful during games.) In fact, two years ago as a freshman, he skated over to the side boards to taunt the crowd. And in the meantime, Cornell easily swatted a goal into his empty net.

“There’s definitely a sense of intimidation,” Boucher said.

There are certainly several other college rinks celebrated for the fiestiness — Michigan’s Yost Arena, UNH’s Whittemore Center, to name a couple. But as Murray said, “There’s no comparison. Lynah is the best.”

“It’s definitely a [rarity] in the ECAC, the way they have a religious following,” Boucher added.

Lynah is probably one of the smaller rinks in the country — Whittemore, for instance, seats 6,501. But the rink’s size allows the Faiththful to berate goaltenders from close range and launch newspapers at the opposing team during the starting line-ups.

“That’s pretty unique,” Boucher said about the Faithful’s range of antics. “You kind of laugh and snicker at it. You kind of feed off the crowd.”

“I definitely wouldn’t want to be the goalie for the opposing team,” Murray said.

Opposing teams often have to sit down with the freshmen prior to visits to Ithaca and explain Lynah traditions so that they won’t be surprised when they’re told to “Drop dead.” And that goes especially for Harvard.

“We usually give them a little idea,” Harvard captain Peter Capouch said about telling the rookies about flying fish.

The Faithful will be back in action this weekend when Cornell hosts Yale for the quarterfinals of the ECAC playoffs.

Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj