In 2003, it took the men’s hockey team six games to register its first home win of the season. Also last season, the squad scored seven goals in a single game only once — a 7-0 drubbing of Princeton on the road. Friday night, the Red forcefully demonstrated that this year, things are going to be different.
No. 14 Cornell opened the 2004-05 season with a fireworks display — collecting goals from six different players en route to a dominant 7-1 victory over an overmatched Army (2-3-1) team at Lynah Rink. Junior Chris Abbott led the explosive offensive effort with a career-high four points (two goals and two assists) and sophomore winger Mitch Carefoot added a short-handed goal — the first for Cornell in more than two years.
“Our overall goal going into the game was to work hard,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “We wanted to be a team that out-worked them. I thought we achieved that goal.”
The Black Knights struggled to keep up with the nationally-ranked home team, finishing on the short end of a ludicrous 49-9 shot count. Army goaltender Treye Kettwick barely had time to catch his breath, making 42 saves — including 19 in the second period — during a game that played out almost exclusively on Army’s half of the ice.
“[Cornell] was in the zone so much I got pretty worn down,” said Kettwick, who recorded a career-high in saves. “I felt pretty good overall, but there were a few shots that should have been stopped.”
Head referee Alex Dell gave each squad ample opportunity to perfect their special teams play, calling 14 total penalties throughout the physical contest. Both the Red and the Black Knights had seven power-play chances, but only Cornell managed to capitalize — rookie defensemen Sasha Pokulok banged home the Red’s second goal of the game (the eventual game-winner) while Cornell held a man advantage early in the first period. Army was plagued by four penalties in the opening period alone.
“It doesn’t help us when we have to kill penalties against teams like Cornell,” said Army head coach Brian Riley. “Those guys are on a different level than we are.”
Sophomore netminder David McKee started for the Red, stopping six Army shots before being replaced by freshman Troy Davenport with 9:13 left in the third period. Although not nearly as busy as his counterpart Kettwick, McKee did not falter when the Black Knights were awarded a 5-on-3 power play roughly six minutes into the game. Nursing a 2-0 lead at that point, McKee turned away a number of quality Army scoring chances and preserved the Red’s momentum.
“We have been working on playing shorthanded in practice a lot,” McKee said. “I felt prepared for the 5-on-3.”
Cornell sprinted out of the gates in the first, obtaining goals from senior defenseman Jeremy Downs and Pokulok after only three and a half minutes of play. With just under two minutes remaining in the opening period, Abbott netted his first goal of the evening by sending a loose puck right outside the crease over a sprawling Kettwick. Sophomore winger Mark McCutcheon was credited with the assist, his only point of the evening.
The second period appeared less eventful on the stat sheet, but the Red came inches away from adding to its lead multiple times in the initial ten minutes. Senior blueliner Charlie Cook blasted a rocket from outside the right circle four minutes into the period, a shot that beat Kettwick cleanly but clanked off the low left post. When Army’s Jeff Fearing took an interference call a minute later, Cornell’s line of Shane Hynes, Matt Moulson and Topher Scott delivered an onslaught of shots that Kettwick turned away.
Finally, at the 14:13 mark of the second, defenseman Jon Gleed extended the Red’s lead by roofing a shot in close over Kettwick’s stacked pads. The junior finished the night with a goal and two assists.
“[Scoring] is not really my role,” Gleed said. “But it is nice to start off the season with three points.”
The Black Knights showed some signs of life early in the third, at last beating McKee 30 seconds into the period to make the score 4-1. Senior winger David Andros took a pass from Fearing and launched a low shot from the left circle between McKee’s pads. Yet, unfortunately for Army, the remainder of the contest belonged exclusively to the Red. “Coming into the game we knew it was going to be a challenge,” Riley said. “We simply ask our guys to work as hard as they can and never give up.”
For Cornell, the highlight-reel worthy goal of the game came with a man down, when Gleed sailed a perfect pass across the front of Army’s net to an unguarded Carefoot. Kettwick hopelessly dived for the puck, but the Red’s sniper had little difficulty putting it away and cementing the Cornell lead.
Abbott and Hynes also added goals in the third, ensuring that the Red’s first victory of the season was a blowout. However, the players were reluctant to gloat too much after the convincing win.
“It was a nice way to get going,” Carefoot said. “But tomorrow is a new day.”
Archived article by Kyle Sheahen
Sun Assistant Sports Editor