November 11, 2005

Men's Hockey Set to Face Harvard, Dartmouth

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There will be no rest for the weary this weekend, as the men’s hockey team will travel to Harvard and Dartmouth for its second set of ECACHL road games in as many weeks.

Last week, the Red (3-1-0, 2-0-0 ECACHL) defeated Yale, 4-2, in New Haven, Conn., before taking down Brown in overtime, 3-2. Those games came just one week after Cornell split its opening series against Michigan State, currently ranked No. 6 in the nation, at Lynah Rink, winning the first game 4-2, but falling in the rematch, 4-3.

“We got two tough wins on the road and we’re halfway through this road trip,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “It’s time to get through these next two games against quality opponents.”

However, in preparing for another tough pair of contests, the Red has decided to simply take things in stride.

“The mentality is that every team is going to come out and play their hardest against us,” said freshman defender Jared Seminoff. “So [we’re going to] pretty much take it one game at a time and come out as hard as we can and we should come out on top.”

Seminoff played an integral role in the Red’s win over the Bears because he was one of just five defensemen that dressed for Cornell, as senior assistant captain Jon Gleed was a scratch due to injury and sophomore Sasha Pokulok was suspended for the game after his involvement in a fracas against the Bulldogs the night before. However, despite the limited ice time that he and classmate Taylor Davenport had seen up to that point, Seminoff believes that it was easy for the two to step into a greater role because of how well the unit has meshed so early in the season.

“It was hard with five [defenders] because we were missing two key guys in Sasha and Jon,” he said. “But everyone seems to gel pretty well and we have some good team chemistry, so it actually made it fairly easy to play with each other.”

The Red will be back at full strength tonight when it takes the ice at the Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge, Mass., against a Crimson squad that stands at 2-1-0 after three ECACHL games to open the season. The loss was a 5-2 defeat at the Hartford Civic Center to Quinnipiac in the Bobcats’ first ever ECACHL game.

The sparks for Harvard this year have been forward Jon Pelle and center Kevin Du. Each player has recorded three assists thus far this season, while Du has tallied a pair of goals to Pelle’s one. Yet, regardless of team records and statistics, when Cornell and Harvard meet on the ice, it is generally a spirited affair.

“We always get the best out of Harvard,” said junior forward Mitch Carefoot. “It’s always a hard-fought battle against them because it’s a big rivalry in the league, so we’re expecting another very tough weekend. These could be the toughest weekends back-to-back this year.”

This weekend, Carefoot believes that the Red needs to capitalize on its power-play opportunities, something it failed to do last weekend, as it went a combined 1-for-18 with an extra skater, to make the task of sweeping another road weekend a little less daunting.

“We have to bury some teams when we get the opportunity,” he said.

Schafer also noted how his team must jump on its chances when given the opportunity.

“Obviously [the power play has] got to be a strength of ours,” he said. “And I talked to our team about our power play [because] it’s got to put teams away. We’ve been getting some leads, but we haven’t really built on them.”

The Red will have a golden opportunity to capitalize on special teams on Saturday night against a Dartmouth squad that has killed a league-low 70.8 percent of its penalties in its opening three games. Because of that number, it comes as no surprise that the Green is currently winless at 0-3-0, losing conference games to Harvard, Princeton and Quinnipiac by a combined score of 16-7.

Part of Dartmouth’s problems has been the play of goaltender Sean Samuel, who has a 5.23 goals against average and has saved just 83.5 percent of opponents’ shots.

However, the Red defense will need to be on guard, as the Green features forwards Eric Przepiorka and Tanner Glass, who have tallied three points apiece thus far. Przepiorka has accumulated his points on a pair of goals and an assist, while Glass has dished out a pair of assists while netting one goal through three games this season.

Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Sports Editor