March 26, 2002

Hedging My Bets

Print More

There are seven months until the Red-White hockey game. I can’t wait for next winter.

I’m done second guessing and re-running plays in my mind. Gone are the should haves, could haves, and what ifs from Sunday. I’m ready to throw in my chips for 2002-2003.

After spending last night brooding over the men’s hockey team’s loss to the University of New Hampshire, I woke up refreshed with renewed vigor. Cornell, despite losing out on a trip to the Frozen Four, had risen into the national spotlight once again. And it won’t shy away next season.

The loss to Harvard at Lake Placid left a bitter taste in every Lynah Faithful’s mouth; in part, because the Red was largely favored going into the tournament, in part because it came against the Crimson and mostly because Harvard was able to take control for much of the game.

It wasn’t that way against the Wildcats. This Cornell team kept the No. 1 team in the country to 24 shots, and tied up the most potent offense in the country for over three quarters of the game. It wasn’t UNH’s big guns that were discussed in the following press conference, it was the legitimacy of Cornell’s defense.

And even with the loss of the ECAC’s Defensive Defenseman of the Year, Brian McMeekin, the blue-liners will be back, along with the five top scorers, who coincidentally are all on that nationally ranked power play. Add to that, freshman David LeNeveu — statistically the best goalie in the nation this year — and you should be making arrangements for the hockey ticket line right now.

Seniors, when you leave for greener pastures this spring, make sure to take a look at every once in a while next year because Cornell might just be on the front page.

This team hates to lose and with one NCAA Tournament appearance under its belt, a search for an elusive ECAC Championship underway, and a trip to the Frozen Four in the future, don’t count on this team to drop too many games.

Undoubtedly, some of the usual suspects will be gone. The Underhill song will be retired, Krzysztof Wieckowski’s cheering section disbanded and David Francis’ fan club moved off the Hill, but their legacy will live on.

This senior class was the first to stay in Ithaca and train through the summer. Their work ethic will be emulated through the rest of the classes.

The juniors, perhaps the best class Cornell has seen in recent years, has only seen the team improve every successive season. Three years ago the Red finished with an 12-15-4 record. The following season, the team returned to Lake Placid. Last year it was one goal away from the ECAC Championship. This year it was one goal away from St. Paul.

The team has gone one step further ever since Doug Murray, Stephen B