November 11, 2002

Defense Stifles Tigers, Vesce Scores Two Goals as Red Protects Perfect Record

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Junior forward Ryan Vesce scored two goals, and freshman Cam Abbot added a goal and an assist to give Cornell a 3-0 win over Princeton Saturday at Lynah Rink.

After experiencing a late game breakdown against Yale on Friday night during which the Elis scored two goals, the Red mended the problem and returned to the ice showcasing its defensive strength. Cornell (3-0-0, 2-0-0 ECAC) only allowed the Tigers (0-4-0, 0-2-0) 16 shots on goal to help sophomore goaltender David LeNeveu to his first shutout this season.

“That’s the third period that you want to play. We didn’t give them anything offensively. I thought we kept the pressure on them,” head coach Mike Schafer ’86 said.

The Red also had to cope with a shortened bench that caused the coach to change his lines throughout the 60 minutes. Neither freshman Dan Pegoraro nor classmate Chris Abbott suited up, leaving Cornell depleted of centers — senior Travis Bell, who is usually in the defensive corps, was listed at the position. However, much of the responsibility fell on junior Ryan Vesce, who responded with two scores.

“Chris Abbott and Daniel Pegoraro both got hurt, which left us short at center, and the guy that picked up all the slack was Ryan Vesce. I played him so much tonight, he had an awful lot of ice time. And I’ve got to believe that’s one of the better games he’s played in a Cornell uniform,” Schafer said. “I thought by far he was the best player on the ice tonight.”

Vesce’s first goal came in the second period after a Princeton defenseman poked the pu”Eway from Abbott, who had made a nifty move to keep it inside the blue line. Vesce hustled to the loose puck at the face-off circle and wristed a shot over goalie Trevor Clay’s right shoulder to put the Red ahead 2-0 with one minute left until the second intermission.

At 4:12 in the final stanza, with an extra Red skater on the ice due to a delayed penalty, Vesce notched his second score off a rebound from senior Travis Bell’s initial shot.

“Both the goals were great plays, on the winger’s part and the second by Travis Bell,” Vesce said of his two goals. “I knew they would come, it was just a matter of time.”

Vesce had a chance to get a hat trick with just under 6:45 left, but he hit a goalpost.

It was Abbott, though, who drew first blood 8:47 into the second period, following up on the initial shot from senior captain Stephen B