For hockey fans starved in the midst of the NHL lockout, Friday night’s exhibition game between the men’s hockey team and the McGill Redmen at Lynah Rink proved to be the perfect remedy. And the game proved to be even sweeter for Cornell fans, as the Red won, 4-0.
“It’s a starting point for us,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer. “You have to be able to set the foundation early. I thought we did a good job tonight.”
Freshman Topher Scott, a 5-6 forward out of Buffalo Grove, Ill. turned in a breakout performance, leading the Red with two goals and seeing significant time on special teams. The rookie appeared unfazed by the pressure of making his collegiate debut, playing with the patience and poise of a seasoned veteran. “It was unbelievable,” Scott said. “The atmosphere here is unreal. It was a great overall team effort.”
Cornell dominated play for virtually the entire game, out-shooting the Redmen 37-10 and never allowing more than four shots in a single period. Sophomore goaltender David McKee was sharp but not too busy in his first start of the season, turning aside seven shots during the first two periods. Freshman netminder Troy Davenport made his first appearance at Lynah in the beginning of the third interval, and junior Louis Chabot saw action in the second half of the final period.
Senior captain Mike Knoepfli and junior winger Cam Abbott also tallied goals for the Red, which is gearing up for its official season opener this Friday against Army. Considering McGill’s 3-2 victory over Yale on Oct. 21, Schafer and the rest of the players are confident in the squad’s prospects for the coming season.
“Our work ethic and pressure on the puck was good tonight,” Schafer said. “We can’t get too caught up in the results, but overall, our discipline was pretty good.”
Scott, who benefited from lining up with experienced vets Matt Moulson and Shane Hynes, put the Red on the board first with 2:07 remaining in the opening period, banging home a pass from fellow rookie Raymond Sawada on a two-on-one opportunity deep in McGill’s zone. Sawada had taken a feed from classmate Doug Krantz, making the Red’s first goal of the season an all-freshmen affair.
Just moments after Scott’s goal, the Red almost found itself with a two-goal lead going into the break when Moulson launched a shot at McGill goaltender Patrice Godin from below the hash marks. But Godin made a sprawling save to keep the Redmen within one at the first intermission.
The second period played out in essentially the same manner as the first, as Cornell controlled puck possession and forced the outmatched Redmen into a number of obstruction-related penalties.
Knoepfli got on the board with his first goal of the season in the first five minutes when he sniped a snap shot over Godin’s shoulder from the left wing. Junior Dan Pegoraro and sophomore Mitch Carefoot were credited with assists on the goal.
Much of the second period was played with one team on the power play, and a hooking call on McGill forward Pierre-Antoine Paquet proved costly. With just over eight minutes remaining in the period, Abbott converged on Godin from the left corner, dancing through the crease in front of the goaltender and backhanding the puck into the net.
McGill did give the Red a scare with roughly six minutes remaining in the second when winger Sebastian Langlois broke in on McKee untouched from between the hash marks. But Mckee calmly kicked away Langlois’ opportunity.
“What we really wanted to do was pressure the puck,” Schafer said. “And tonight I thought we had very good pressure.”
Scott’s second goal of the night came with just under five minutes remaining in the third. The freshman took a pass from Hynes and found himself one-on-one with Godin just above the crease. Instead of instantly shooting on goal, Scott patiently dragged the puck around the crease, forcing Godin out of position before lifting a shot over the goaltender’s extended pad. An enthralled Lynah crowd subsequently began to chant “Topher Scott,”, welcoming the newcomer to East Hill.
“I thought it was a great pass from Hynes,” Scott said. “[Our line] had some good chemistry out there.”
Game time for this Friday’s game against Army is at 7 p.m. in Lynah Rink.
Archived article by Kyle Sheahen
Sun Assistant Sports Editor