March 15, 2004

Special teams culprit as Knights even series with Saturday win

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Friday night, the men’ hockey team dominated the pace of play from beginning to end. The Red jumped out to an early lead and never looked back to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three ECAC quarterfinal series against Clarkson. Unfortunately for Cornell, the exact opposite occurred Saturday night in Game 2 of the series. This time, the Golden Knights took the early lead, and, despite Cornell twice tying the game, Clarkson never trailed en route to a series-tying 5-4 win.

“Our guys were upset and they were embarrassed by the way they played and it will be a true test to come out tomorrow night and be ready to go,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86.

Playing without the services of senior captain Ryan Vesce, who aggravated a pre-existing injury during warmups, the Red struggled on the power play and was never able to get into a rhythm.

“It’s definitely not our type of hockey tonight,” said freshman forward Mitch Carefoot. “We didn’t come out and battle like we did last night, we played a more laid back game. We were hoping that things were going the same way instead of going out and working for them.”

The Knights opened the scoring at 5:12 of the first period. Matt Nickerson, who had quickly become a target of the Lynah Faithful after Friday night’s run-in with Cornell junior Paul Varteressian, fed Lyon Porter on the doorstep. Porter took a quick slapper that eluded freshman goalie Daive McKee for the game’s first score.

Clarkson doubled its lead just under 40 seconds later, as Ken Scuderi scored at 5:48 off passes from Rob McFeeters and Jay Latulippe.

But the Red fought back. At 9:50 in the period, Carefoot scored his first of two goals on the game, receiving a pass on the left of Clarkson goalie Dustin Traylen. Junior Mike Iggulden began the play by winning a draw at center ice. He found freshman defenseman Ryan O’Byrne, who set up Carefoot for the goal.

After the Knights scored again at 10:24 to regain a two-goal lead, Iggulden and Carefoot repeated the trick at 13:07, this time with junior defenseman Charlie Cook providing the connection.

“Mike Iggulden made two great draws to the defensemen — Ryan O’Byrne on one and Charlie Cook on the other — and once I’d seen them make the draws I just went to the net and both D’s made a great play to get the puck to the net and I just got lucky with the puck laying in front out there,” Carefoot said.

Before the period was over, the Red would draw even, as Mike Knoepfli scored his fourth goal of the series at 19:33 to knot the game at three.

After the two teams exchanged goals in a relatively clean second period, Cornell drew a bench minor two minutes into the third for too many men on the ice. This would prove to be a critical mental lapse by the Red.

At 2:29 in the period, the Knights’ Mike Sullivan scored on an unassisted breakaway goal, giving Clarkson a 5-4 lead it would not relinquish.

“It’s a huge win for us, it was a good, gutty effort. Last night we deserved to get beat 5-1, but we put it on the line tonight,” said Clarkson head coach George Roll. “The guys were pretty focused tonight going in. I think they felt embarrassed last night, got outmuscled, got outcompeted. They made a pact with themselves tonight that they weren’t going to let it happen again. They played hard for 60 minutes. A lot of guys banged up, but it was a great effort.”

“We weren’t ready to match their intensity and their willingness to win one-on-one battles,” Schafer said. “The things we did well last night, we didn’t do well tonight and they did. Give them a lot of credit for how hard they came out ready to battle tonight.”

Clarkson converted on two of six power plays, while Cornell — lacking the services of Vesce on its power play unit — scored on only one of its 11 chances.

“Obviously, that kind of game on the power play tonight, it threw everything into a kilter from that standpoint,” Schafer said. “The guys on the power play have got to execute, and we didn’t do that last night, we didn’t show any poise with the puck in a big game with the pressure on the line.

Archived article by Owen Bochner