February 25, 2005

M. Hockey Ready to Clinch Title

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Despite last week’s four-point weekend against RPI and Union, the men’s hockey team (20-4-3, 16-2-2 ECACHL) will have one last hurdle to jump over this season when the Red meets St. Lawrence (14-16-2, 8-11-1 ECACHL) and Clarkson (11-19-2, 7-12-1 ECACHL). Cornell is three points ahead of second-place Harvard and four points ahead of third-place Colgate with only two games remaining in each team’s schedule, meaning that the Red must win both games this weekend to guarantee a first-place finish in the conference.

“Obviously we want first place,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “Now it’s right there at our grasp to get the job done this weekend.”

The seventh-place Saints will have the first chance to halt the Red’s 12-game unbeaten streak tonight. St. Lawrence has one of the top offenses in the ECACHL, with the nation’s 6th leading goal scorer in junior T.J. Trevelyan (21 goals). Trevelyan has been arguably the biggest scoring threat in the nation this year, averaging an astounding 6.3 shots on goal per game. Junior John Zeiler, who has 26 points on the season (eight goals, 18 assists), has also been a major threat for the Saints this year.

“[St. Lawrence] showed what they were capable of last time they were here,” Schafer said. “St. Lawrence is a transitional team and they’re a great forechecking team.”

If the Red fails to win against the Saints tonight and Harvard wins its game against Dartmouth, Cornell will have its last chance to clinch first-place against Clarkson tomorrow. The Golden Knights have an impressive veteran corps that has taken several teams by surprise this season. Clarkson’s victims include No. 15 Colgate, who fell to the Golden Knights, 3-1, earlier this season.

“Clarkson has had some real good success this year,” Schafer said.

Clarkson’s plethora of veterans includes senior left winger Jay Latulippe, who has amalgamated 32 points in 32 games this season (13 G, 19 A). Latulippe has been a consistent threat for the Golden Knights since his rookie season. In addition, the right side of Latulippe’s line features senior winger Chris Blight, who has 18 helpers on the season.

“[Clarkson] has a lot of veterans that will play very, very hard,” Schafer said.

Despite its experienced team, the Golden Knights also have shown they have an impressive future ahead of them. Clarkson’s third leading scorer is freshman center Steve Zalewski, who was drafted by the San Jose Sharks before joining the team. Zalewski has made himself a meaningful factor on both ends this season, and may very well be a big factor in tomorrow’s game. Additionally, freshman defenseman Grant Clitsome, a future Columbus Bluejacket, has proven himself to be an impressive offensive defenseman, and leads all Knight freshmen with 12 points this season.

Despite the teams’ relative records, considering the talent on both St. Lawrence and Clarkson, this should be a challenging season-closing weekend for the Red. Schafer is quick to admit this.

“Both these teams play very well at home,” Schafer said. “It’s going to be a really challenging road trip.”

Archived article by Mike Pandolfini
Sun Staff Writer