Just over two months ago, the men’s hockey team ventured into northern New England one weekend after suffering its first taste this season of anything but success at Michigan State.
Vermont and Dartmouth, however, failed to be the salve the Red was looking for, as Cornell found itself repeating the previous weekend’s results with a tie and a loss.
This weekend, the Red (11-4-2, 7-2-1 ECACHL) returns home to Lynah Rink for the first time since early December seeking vindication for the disappointing results of November.
Dartmouth (8-7-2, 5-5-0 ECACHL) enters tonight’s game on a bit of a role. The Green has won four of its last five games, averaging 5.8 goals over that stretch. The run included an improbably 9-8 come-from-behind victory over in-state rival New Hampshire, which was at that time ranked sixth in the country.
When the two teams met on Nov. 20, the Red fell, 2-1, in overtime. Dartmouth’s Eric Przepiorka scored the game-winner at 3:34 in that extra session. The loss overshadowed an otherwise strong performance by sophomore goaltender David McKee, who recorded 29 saves. Junior Chris Abbott scored the lone Cornell goal late in the second period of that contest.
“I thought we played pretty solid for three periods up there,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence [right now], especially offensively.”
Cornell, which freed itself of its demons against Dartmouth with last year’s win in Hanover, will look for a crucial victory tonight.
Tomorrow, the Red welcomes Vermont to Lynah Rink for the final time as an ECACHL opponent, with the Catamounts set to move to the Hockey East conference next season.
Vermont (13-7-3, 7-2-2 ECACHL) has made the most of it’s final lap through the ECAC, as the team currently stands one point ahead of Cornell, in second place in the conference.
“[Joe Fallon,] the goaltender for Vermont is playing great, we have to get people in front of him, we have to capitalize on our chances, we have to stay disciplined,” Schafer said. “When we were up there, the game was refereed differently for the first 40 minutes, I thought when they tried to draw calls as the third period went on, we didn’t do a good job of staying disciplined and being aware on the ice and that cost us a point up there.”
The Red skated to a 2-2 tie against the Catamounts on Nov. 19 in Burlington. Senior Charlie Cook and junior Matt Moulson scored for the Red in the second period to provide a 2-0 lead.
However, Cornell relinquished the lead in a penalty-laden third period, as Vermont scored on a late power play to knot the game at 2-2.
This weekend begins a critical six-game stretch for Cornell. Five of the next six games will be at Lynah Rink and all but one of them will be against teams ranked in the top half of the conference standings.
“The margin for error is so slim,” Schafer said. “When you look at what we have in front of us here, Vermont and Dartmouth are direct competition for home ice, Clarkson and St. Lawrence are both playing very well, and then we have Colgate, so it’s a very important stretch.” The puck drops both nights at 7 p.m.
Archived article by Owen Bochner
Sun Sports Editor