February 4, 2005

M. Hockey Faces Colgate

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If you are a hockey fan with no plans for tonight, order up some wings and prepare for an evening of watching television at home. In what will be No. 6 Cornell’s biggest weekend of the season thus far, the Red (15-4-2, 11-2-1 ECACHL) will play a home-and-home against No. 11 Colgate (19-7-0, 11-3-0), ending with a sold-out match tomorrow evening at Lynah Rink. The weekend series will determine sole possession of first place in the ECACHL. Due to the high stakes of the game, tonight’s match in Hamilton will be broadcast on Time Warner Sports and marks the Red’s fifth televised game of the season.

“[Colgate] is very excited,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “They know that we’re kind of their main rival. It will be a great series.”

The Red has played well lately, having won its last six games and recording a 7-1-0 in January. This is partly due to the fact that nearly all of Cornell’s players are firing on all cylinders. Goaltender David McKee has proven himself to be yet another strong product of the Cornell system, and ranks first in the nation with a .935 save percentage. In addition, junior alternate captain Matt Moulson has been red hot lately, and is currently riding a four-game goal scoring streak. Moulson’s streak has propelled him to the sole ownership of first place in goal scoring in the Ivy League. Freshman Topher Scott has also proved to be an extremely valuable asset to the Red, and currently stands in fourth place in points among all freshmen in the Ancient Eight.

Regardless of the Red’s strong play recently, Colgate has had its share of success as well. The Raiders currently stand merely a single point behind Cornell in the ECACHL standings, mostly because the Raiders have notched wins in 12 of their last 15 outings.

“They’re a good team and they have some good offensive players,” Mouslon said. “I think we just have to play our game and play well defensively against them.”

Colgate freshman winger Tyler Burton may give Cornell’s Scott a run for his money as best rookie on the ice. Burton has a team-leading 12 goals on the season, and his 21 points are good for second in the league among freshmen. Furthermore, junior winger Jon Smyth adds a potent offensive punch. He ranks ahead of Burton in the points category with 25 total (11 goals, 14 assists). In net, the Raiders have a powerful veteran in Steve Silverthorn, a senior who certainly knows his way around the pipes. Silverthorn has put up big numbers this season, with an 18-6-0 record and a 1.95 GAA. As a result, Colgate is second in the ECACHL in defense, allowing only 2.04 goals per game.

However, it is the Red that leads this statistical category, having given up only 1.48 goals per game this season, good for first in the nation.

“[Colgate] works extremely hard and they do a good job of applying backside pressure,” Schafer said. “They do a good job on special teams and they are well-coached.”

Cornell is currently unbeaten at home this season (11-0-0), but Colgate certainly represents a true threat to this streak. The Raiders swept the season series between the two teams last season for the first time in four years. In addition, Colgate has won three of its last four matches against the Red.

“We’ve done a much better job of playing road hockey lately,” Schafer said. “We want to keep this game very boring and frustrate them. That’s the way you are successful on the road.”

Archived article by Mike Pandolfini
Sun Staff Writer