The men’s ice hockey team opens its season tonight against Army at 7 p.m. in Lynah Rink. Though last Friday’s 4-0 exhibition victory against McGill may have had some fans drooling over the prospects for a championship season, members of the team are more content to take things a bit more slowly.
“Guys are still out there working hard, fighting for spots in the lineup,” said senior assistant captain Charlie Cook.
For Cornell, this weekend represents a chance to open the season on a strong note, which is something it has been fixated on ever since last year’s bitter defeat at the hands of Clarkson in the second round of the ECAC playoffs. The Red will also hope to jump out to a stronger start this season, after taking several games to gel at the beginning of last year. Cornell did not win a home game last year until Dec. 6 — its seventh game within the confines of Lynah Rink.
Going into this season, head coach Mike Schafer ’86 and his staff set several goals to prevent a repetition of last year’s substandard performance.
“The biggest and most important thing is to practice with intensity,” he said. “We’re really concentrating on playing an up-tempo and disciplined game.”
Junior forward Matt Moulson agreed that the Red is energized at this early stage of the season. He feels the team has responded well to Schafer’s demands in the opening weeks of practice.
“The hunger is there, and the work ethic. We just need to perform,” he said. “This is probably the best team I’ve played on at Cornell.”
While Army (2-2-1, 0-1-1 AHA) enters this weekend with five games under its belt, Cornell brings unfinished business to the table. The Black Knights played the Red to a 1-1 stalemate during the two teams’ last meeting in 1997, and holds a 16-14-1 edge in the all-time series. Army is lead by a trio of upperclassmen; senior Chad Fifield and junior Chris Migliaro have already proven themselves dangerous on the power play, while senior Chris Garceau has assumed the team’s offensive workhorse role. He only has one goal on the season but has established himself as the Knights’ offensive leader with six assists.
“It doesn’t really mater what they’ve got going on,” Cook said. “What matters is us playing attention to details and fulfilling our roles. It comes down to us going out there and playing hard, smart, and together.”
Cornell will entertain Sacred Heart (3-1-0, 3-0-0 AHA) tomorrow night. The Pioneers enter the weekend on a three-game tear. After being shut out, 6-0, by Vermont in their season opener, the Pioneers beat Army, American International, and Bentley in succession.
Sophomore Pierre-Luc O’Brien, and freshman Scott Marchesi have combined for an average of two points per game for the Pioneers, and could prove troublesome for the Cornell defense.
Cornell and Sacred Heart last played each other in the Red’s 2000 home opener. Matt and Mark McRae ’03, and Brian McMeekin ’02 scored for Cornell, but Sacred Heart won, 5-3.
Archived article by Matt Janiga
Sun Staff Writer