January 23, 2004

Schafer '86 to Serve Suspension in Game Tonight

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Lynah Rink will have a very different feel tonight as the No. 12/13 men’s hockey team continues its five-game home stand against Vermont. While the Lynah Faithful may be back in full force with classes set to resume on Monday, head coach Mike Schafer ’86 will be absent from the Red bench for the first time in his nine-year tenure. Schafer will be serving a one-game suspension for his comments regarding the officiating after last Saturday night’s 2-0 loss to Renssalaer.

Meanwhile, the Red (7-4-5, 5-2-2 ECAC) will look to use this weekend to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing one-point showing against Union and RPI. Sophomore forward Cam Abbott scored the Red’s only goal of the weekend, in the third period of last Friday’s 1-1 tie against Union. His brother Chris Abbott and senior Greg Hornby assisted on the goal. Cornell’s 2-0 loss Saturday night was its first home shutout since Feb. 28, 1998.

This weekend, however, the Red does not anticipate much of a break.

“Nothing different from what we faced last weekend. Two teams are going to come in here and play us very tough,” said Schafer. “The biggest thing for us, and we’ve addressed it all week, and I keep saying that we have to focus in ourselves and play the kind of hockey that our fans have become accustomed to, and it’s given us success. I think we’ve lost that mentality a little bit and we need to get back at it this weekend.”

The Catamounts (4-15-3, 1-9-0) enter tonight’s game having lost its last two in a home weekend against St. Lawrence and Clarkson. Forward Brady Leisenring leads Vermont with 23 assists on the season, including a team-leading 17 assists. The team is led by first year head coach Kevin Sneddon, who is still working to bring the team together as a successful unit.

“We knew it was going to take some time for Kevin to go in there and instill some of the things that he believes in as a hockey coach. It obviously takes time for them to understand what he wants and [for him] to understand them,” Schafer said.

“They’re a pretty good hockey team. They’re really good in transition, they’re playing really well in transition, they got their special teams going a little bit now.”

Tomorrow night, the Red will welcome Dartmouth to Lynah. The Green (7-4-6, 5-1-4) stands a single point ahead of Cornell in the ECAC standings, tied for third place with Yale with 14 points. The team enters this weekend series after a tie and a win last weekend against Clarkson and St. Lawerence, respectively.

Dartmouth features highly-touted sophomore forward Hugh Jessiman, who was selected 12th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2003 NHL Draft. Jessiman has 10 goals and 12 assists, which places him second on the team with 22 points.

“Dartmouth obviously has a very great record and they too return a host of forwards up front who are very good offensively,” said Schafer. “The young defensemen like ours are playing very solid for them, and [Dan] Yacey is giving them great goaltending.”

Cornell enters the series somewhat short staffed, as sophomore forward Shane Hynes will be out after suffering a shoulder injury in last Saturday’s loss to RPI. Several other players are coping with several ailments and will be game-time decisions.

“Hynes is definitely out for the weekend, and it’s unfortunate to lose a player like him, but we’ve got a lot of confidence in the guys that will step in and play in his place,” said Schafer. “I hope that we’ll get him back the following weekend.”

The biggest change for the Red this weekend will be Schafer’s suspension tonight. Assistant coaches Brent Brekke and Scott Garrow will take his place calling the shift changes.

“Scott and Brent are very capable coaches. They have a lot of hockey experience. We’re a staff that’s very close, they know exactly what situation guys play in and who they play against,” Schafer said.

“It will be really different for me. It’s the first games I’ll miss in nine years, and I miss it already.”

Archived article by Owen Bochner