Three weeks ago, the No. 13/14 men’s hockey team found itself shutout on its home ice for the first time in nearly six years. It was a fate that the Red (8-6-6, 6-4-3 ECAC) never expected it would face again for quite some time, let alone 13 days later. However, that expectation went unfulfilled, as Cornell played its most undisciplined game of the season Friday night, falling to travel partner Colgate 2-0.
The Red committed 15 penalties for a total of 71 minutes, including two game disqualifications and two other game misconduct penalties.
“I’m pretty disappointed in my hockey team for how undisciplined they were tonight,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “Especially at the very end for our guys to take out the frustration the way they took it out is embarrassing for our program. It’s taken us many many years to build the reputation for being disciplined and what happened at the end is pretty embarrassing.”
Cornell’s sloppiness allowed the Raiders (14-8-3, 9-4-0 ECAC) to get on the board for the first time late in the opening period. After killing off 1:50 of a 5-on-3, the Red allowed Colgate’s Justin Spencer to get a clear look on net in the waning moments of the power play. As freshman defenseman Dan Glover returned to the ice following a a two-minute cross checking penalty, Spencer received a leading pass from Mike Campaner and found a huge hole above freshman goaltender David McKee’s left shoulder at 14:39. Kyle Wilson also assisted.
The Raiders doubled their lead less than three minutes later, as Adam Mitchell picked up a rebound off of McKee’s pads and pounded the puck home at 17:09.
“They scored the second goal on a bad turnover. We had an opportunity on the power play and didn’t score,” Schafer said. “There are certain things that have to happen on our hockey team and the maturity level has got to increase and we showed our immaturity tonight.”
The Red was unable to create much on the offensive end for itself, due largely to the fact that the team found itself on the penalty kill for large portions of the game.
“When we have to kill almost 24 minutes of penalties, that’s pretty good defensive pressure that they had the power play the whole time,” Schafer said. “That’s our fault.”
“It’s frustrating that whenever we got something going,” added senior assistant captain Ben Wallace, “we’d make stupid penalties and put ourselves behind the eight ball again.”
Penalties and mental mistakes aside, the Red also found itself extremely shorthanded, as sophomore forward Cam Abbott and junior defenseman Charlie Cook were both sidelined with injuries. This forced several players into their first game action of the season, including junior defenseman Jan Pajerski, who saw ice time for the first time in his Cornell career.
In addition, McKee made 24 saves before he was pulled for an extra skater with 2:17 remaining in the game.
“When you kill penalties, he’s got to be your best penalty kill[er] and he was tonight,” Schafer said.
The undisciplined nature of the game came to a head with six seconds remaining, as the two teams got into a melee that resulted in four minor penalties, three majors, and three game disqualifications between the two teams. Among those disqualified were Colgate forward Dave Thomas, goalie Steve Silverthorn, and Cornell freshman forward Ryan O’Byrne. All three joined freshman forward Byron Bitz as disqualified for Saturday night’s rematch in Hamilton.
Archived article by Owen Bochner