The men’s hockey team was riding high going into Winter Break. A six-game win streak that started with a 5-2 victory over Harvard and included sweeps over Boston University and Western Michigan skyrocketed the team to a No. 3 ranking in both the USCHO.com and USA/AHA polls. And next on the schedule was a duel with the top team in the east, Maine (18-2-2, 8-1-1 HEA), at the Everblades College Classic in Estero, Fla.
Six weeks, two wins and two losses later, Cornell (12-3-0, 7-1-0 ECAC) is still among the nation’s elite as No. 4 in the polls and ready to concentrate its efforts on the remaining conference schedule.
Senior captain Doug Murray broke a 0-0 tie with Maine in the second period on a power-play chance to give Cornell a tentative lead over the then No. 2 team in the country. However, the Black Bears scored two late goals and an empty-netter. Despite a strong last-minute effort when freshman Cam Abbott tightened the score at 3-2, Cornell lost its second game of the year. The team won praise with its ability to contain the potent Black Bears for most of the game, but was upset with the loss.
“We’re disappointed that we lost. That was no moral victory; we’re very disappointed that we lost an opportunity to climb to No. 1 in the country. We need to work very hard in the next few months to get that opportunity again,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86.
Good defense marked the Red’s second game of the tournament against Ohio State (15-4-2, 9-2-1 CCHA), losers to Massachusetts in a shootout. But it couldn’t capitalize on the scoring opportunities it created and lost 1-0. It was the first time the team had been shut out since it faced the Buckeyes last year in the same tournament. It was also the first time that the Red lost back-to-back games since last year’s Everblades.
Maine won the Everblades Classic, beating the Minutemen 8-3 in the championship game. Murray was the sole Cornellian named to the all-tournament team.
“The whole team was disappointed with the loss to Maine down in Florida,” Schafer said. “I thought our guys played extremely well in both games. Our biggest problem in Florida was we didn’t capitalize on scoring chances. And against good teams you have to do that to win.”
Junior goaltender Todd Marr made his first start at Cornell against Maine, as sophomore David LeNeveu was selected to the Canadian World Junior team. Marr, who transferred to Cornell last year, started all four games over the break and holds a 1.76 goals against average and .932 save percentage.
“[Marr] did a real solid job for us. He came out and did a great job as far as making some big saves for us in all four games,” Schafer said.
LeNeveu, who won a silver medal with the Canadian team, still leads the nation in GAA (1.18) and is tied for second in save percentage (.942) and shutouts (3).
The following week, Cornell braved a snowstorm that blanketed all of upstate New York to visit St. Lawrence (5-13-3, 2-6-1) and Clarkson (8-11-1, 5-3-1) on Jan. 4 and 5 in its first conference action since playing Brown on Nov. 23. Behind senior captain Stephen B