With the 2005-06 campaign officially beginning in two weeks, players and coaches of the Cornell men’s hockey team are understandably getting a little antsy for the squad’s first regular season game against No. 10 Michigan State on Oct. 28 at Lynah Rink.
“This time of year, it always seems to take so long before we get started and the guys have been here working out and training and it gets even more anxious here when we see other teams already starting to play – and there’s nothing you can do about it,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86.
At the team’s media day on Wednesday, Schafer and his players expressed confidence that the team will be successful in the new year, coming off a 2004-05 season in which it lost in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament to Minnesota by an overtime goal. The Red, which was also last year’s ECACHL champion, garnering a 27-5-3 record during the season, will kick off the year with the annual Red and White Scrimmage tomorrow at 7 p.m. According to Schafer, the intersquad exhibition will not only provide fans a first glimpse of this year’s team, but also give the squad’s new players a chance to show what they can do in an actual game situation.
“The Red and White game is for [new players] to step out and show what they can do and then try to impress their new teammates and coaching staff,” Schafer said.
Next Friday, the Red will host another exhibition game at Lynah Rink against the U.S. Under-18 Squad, which will provide the team one last opportunity to take in some live action before the squad’s series against the Spartans.
Although the Red – which is ranked third in this week’s USCHO.com/CSTV survey – will be playing at home, by the time Cornell and Michigan State play, the Spartans will have had three regular season and two exhibition games under their belts. The Spartans already knocked off Wayne State and then-No. 7 North Dakota this past weekend.
“We won’t be the same team obviously in two weeks than we will in five months, so I think the biggest thing is to come into those games and try to have some of the things you can do earlier in the year – and that’s to play with a lot of passion and a lot of heart,” Schafer said. “Those are kind of the overused terms in sports, but I think that there’s a certain will that we’re going to have to have to win games early on in the year.”
However, according to some players, due to rigorous offseason training, physical fitness will definitely not be an issue come game time.
“This is the most conditioned team I have ever been on,” said junior goaltender David McKee. “We’re in great shape and we’ve been waiting for this for all of the offseason.”
Despite the loss of five players to graduation, with the 14 returning letter winners and a new batch of freshmen eyeing the ultimate goal of a national championship, McKee said that the team is confident heading into the season.
“We’re going to come out of these games firing, everyone’s ready to go and this is the last chance for me and my classmates [to win a national championship], so we’re going to be ready for the season,” said senior captain Matt Moulson.
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Assistant Sports Editor