The men’s hockey team opened its ECAC season on Friday night with a 6-2 victory over a depleted Yale team. The Red (2-0-0, 1-0-0 ECAC) dominated the game from the opening drop of the puck, forcing the Bulldogs (0-2-0, 0-1-0) to play damage control for much of the night.
Yale was playing without four of its normal starters, including preseason All-ECAC performer and 14th overall NHL draft pick Chris Higgins. All four were disqualified due to a brawl the week prior at North Dakota.
“It was, of course, a difference. It was a benefit to us,” said senior co-captain Doug Murray of the suspensions, “if you were to take away four of our top players, we’d be hurting too.”
The scoring opened with four minutes left in the first period when sophomore Charlie Cook sent a slap shot past the net which ricocheted off the boards onto the waiting stick of senior Shane Palahicky. Palahicky finished the play with a quick wrister past surprised the Yale goalie, Peter Dobrowolski.
“Palahicky took his time on the first goal, just waited for an opening and then put it in the back of the net for a huge score,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “It shows you how much he’s come along since last year.”
The Red was back on the board just three minutes later when, at 19:18, sophomore Jeremy Downs sent senior Ryan Vesce’s cross into the top left corner of the net. The play was made possible by freshman Shane Hynes, who outmuscled two Yale players to keep the puck in the Cornell zone, and then slid it to a charging Vesce.
The second period gave Cornell’s power play its second chance of the night to get on the board, and this time, it would not be denied. In classic fashion, seniors Sam Paolini, Doug Murray, and Stephen B