While their five more glamorous classmates have earned various honors including a Hobey Baker Finalist nod, All-ECAC selections, and All-Ivy awards, seniors Shane Palahicky and Travis Bell have been two of the unsung heroes on the No. 1 men’s hockey team. Although their contributions on the ice don’t always show up in the box score, they have been an integral part of the reemergence of Cornell as an elite hockey program.
“You have to have those types of players to complement the other guys,” Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86 said. “Those guys really bring that aspect that every coach at every level wants.”
“Shane’s been great for the program and he’s helped get this program back on top,” senior captain Doug Murray said. “And Travis has been a consistent performer throughout his career. He might not put up the offensive numbers but he does a lot of other things.”
It’s those other things that Bell and Palahicky do that make them so invaluable to the Red. Both players are key components of one of the nation’s top penalty killing units, with Palahicky often pestering opposing defensemen with a strong forecheck, and Bell harassing opposing forwards in the corners. And while neither player will ever be mistaken for a sniper, each has scored important goals for the team. Palahicky, who has just 15 goals in his collegiate career, had one of the biggest tallies for the Red during the 2001-2002 season, when he scored the game-tying marker against UNH in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, Bell came up with his first goal of the season this past weekend against Brown in the ECAC semifinals to give Cornell a late two-score margin, en route to earning all-tournament honors.
The two seniors, however, have earned the respect of their teammates and coaches through their hard work and willingness to adopt any role asked of them. Bell, who played in just 12 games his freshman year and missed time in his sophomore year due to injury, finally solidified his spot in the lineup last season.
“Travis overcame a lot of adversity in his four-year career. He’s gone from being in the lineup, being out of the lineup,” Schafer said. “He brings to the table that consistency, that strong work ethic, and that determination that is invaluable to a hockey team. It’s infectious.”
Meanwhile, Palahicky, who has improved his point total each of the past three seasons, has been one of the better defensive forwards on the team.
“He’ll block shots, he’s a penalty killer