January 17, 2003

Capital District Beckons as No. 4 Red Visits Union, RPI

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There are no more breaks and no more non-conference tune-ups for the men’s hockey team. Starting tonight, the Red (12-3, 7-1 ECAC) begins the home stretch of the 2002-03 regular season — seven straight weekends of conference competition.

Cornell has played just two ECAC games in the last month and a half, defeating St. Lawrence and Clarkson each by 3-2 scores. Other than the North Country trip, the Red’s schedule has consisted of six non-conference games following a 5-0 shutout of Brown on Nov. 23. During that stretch, the icers also took a three-week break for finals, as well as taking last weekend off.

The No. 4 Red will return to action on the road tonight against Union (7-10-4, 3-4-2), and tomorrow night against Rensselaer (8-12-2, 2-4-2).

“Our guys are really anxious to play,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “We’ve been off for a really long time, it seems like. Two weeks seems like an eternity.”

The break has helped Schafer’s troops get some much-needed rest, and Cornell should be as close to healthy as it has been all season. Junior forward Greg Hornby, particularly, should be back in the carnelian and white after missing the last four games.

“We’ve got some nagging injuries, but there’s nothing major, and you thank your lucky stars that there’s nothing major,” said Schafer.

Tonight’s game also marks the return of sophomore goaltender David LeNeveu to Cornell. LeNeveu took a four-game leave of absence from the squad to compete with Team Canada, which finished second in the World Junior Hockey Championships. Junior Todd Marr filled in admirably for LeNeveu, posting a .932 save percentage and a 1.76 GAA.

The weekend’s contests are the seventh and eighth straight road games for the Red, which last played in Lynah Rink on Dec. 1. However, the road trips over Winter Break shouldn’t have a negative effect on Cornell.

“Going on the road’s not a bad thing; you get away from any distractions,” said senior co-captain Stephen B