Some big hits by senior Greg Hornby, a pair of goals by sophomore Matt Moulson, a raucous and vocal crowd, and a 7-2 final score — just another night at Lynah Rink for the men’s hockey team.
All those features and more marked the return of hockey to the Cornell campus Saturday night, as the No. 11 Red outskated the U.S. Under-18 National Team to the tune of a 7-2 victory.
Cornell used the exhibition as a means of evaluating itself, as it enters the season’s opening games this coming weekend against Western Michigan. The verdict: the Red is still a little rough, but is in pretty good shape at this early juncture.
“We did a lot of good things and a lot of poor things. We expect perfection, but you can’t expect perfection,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86, who enters his ninth season behind the bench for the Red. “We expect our guys to play a certain way regardless of what the score is. There were a couple of early-season things, we turned the puck over, just some little things that we need to correct and get out of our system.”
Cornell got on the board first at 1:12 in the first period, as junior defenseman Charlie Cook took a slapshot from the high point. His shot was tipped by sophomore forward Chris Abbott before Hornby deflected it past Under-18 Team goalie Chris Carlson for the goal.
The Red would score twice more in the period. Moulson scored his first goal of the game with assists by linemates senior captain Ryan Vesce and freshman Byron Bitz at 10:33. Less than five minutes later, Cornell extended its lead to 3-0 when junior Mike Knoepfli fed classmate Mike Iggulden for a score at 14:57.
The Under-18 Team broke up the shutout at 15:54 in the first period, when a missed assignment by junior defenseman Jeremy Downs allowed Brian Lerg to trickle a shot past senior goalie Todd Marr.
“That goal they scored was a great goal, but it was caused by a turnover before that. Those things are going to happen early in the year, and they’re going to continue to happen as the season progresses, but what you want to do is see if those things can be eliminated,” Schafer said. “That’s the whole process of the year — to work to a final goal of being on top of your game.”
The Red’s offensive onslaught continued in the second period, as sophomore Shane Hynes found the back of the net 2:40 into the period.
Cornell extended its lead even further, to 5-1, just over two minutes later when freshman Evan Salmela scored on a shot from the high slot through traffic. Moulson and Vesce picked up assists on the power play goal.
At 8:22 in the second, the Under-18 Team again cut into the Red lead, as Kevin Swallow’s shot was deflected into the net by Nate Davis for a shorthanded goal.
However, 20 seconds later, Moulson scored his second goal of the game, again assisted by Bitz.
“I didn’t really have to do much for [the goal,]” Moulson said. “Playing with Vesce and Bitz, Byron’s just like another [Stephen] B