Coming off a sweep against Niagara last weekend, the men’s hockey team hopes to enter the exam period on a high note, when it hosts Princeton (3-7-0, 2-6-0 ECACHL) and Quinnipiac (9-7-0, 3-5-0) at Lynah Rink tonight and tomorrow, respectively.
The Red (6-3-1, 3-2-1) snapped a three-game winless streak by beating Niagara, 5-4, last Friday night at home. Although Cornell gave up the most goals in a win since beating Ohio State at the Everblades Classic in 2000 on Friday, and also narrowly won, 5-3, on Saturday night in Rochester, N.Y., members of the team said that they were pleased with the pair of victories.
“I think it was really important for us [to win those games], especially for our confidence,” said senior captain Matt Moulson. “We worked really hard [the] weekend [before against Union and RPI], played well and only came away with one point out of four. Some of the guys really stepped up, I think we took a step forward [against Niagara].”
One concern that came up last weekend against the Purple Eagles was Cornell’s penalty kill, which conceded four goals over the two games.
“We just have to adjust to what the other team is doing,” said freshman defenseman Jared Seminoff. “We had a tough time against Niagara, they were just finding shots and capitalizing on it.”
However, the Red was boosted by the performances of its freshmen, which broke out for four goals and six assists against Niagara.
“I think they did really well,” Moulson said. “[Freshmen Ryan Kindret, Michael Kennedy and Evan Barlow] got their first goals of the year and they played really well and they looked like veteran players who had been in the league for a while. That’s what we need, we’re not going to win a championship without those guys.”
In addition, junior Mark McCutcheon, impressed last weekend, scoring two goals. Tied at 3-3, McCutcheon scored the go-ahead goal in the third period last Friday, before adding a shorthanded tally more than three minutes later to put away the Purple Eagles. Although McCutcheon had scored before for the Red, Friday night’s game was the forward’s first and second goals at Lynah Rink.
“It’s nice to just contribute on the scoreboard,” McCutcheon said. “I felt like I’ve been doing some good things this year and really got my confidence back, but it’s nice to reinforce that with a couple of goals.”
In addition, while the team conceded eight goals this past weekend, junior goaltender David McKee made a number of key saves down the stretch in both games. Though there have been many who have been questioning the 2004-05 Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalst’s performance so far this season, his teammates are fully behind him.
“Dave made some great saves this past weekend and hopefully, that will stop people from saying all of those [negative] things about him,” Moulson said. “The guy’s playing well, he’s just getting some bad bounces on him, and to get the two wins, it’s probably good for his confidence as well.”
Cornell will face the Tigers tonight, hoping to get its ECACHL season back on track. Princeton broke a six-game losing streak against travelling partners, Quinnipiac, this past Saturday, by winning 6-3. Prior to that, the Tigers beat Dartmouth, 3-0, on Nov. 4. The Tigers are led by forwards Kevin Westgarth and Grant Goeckner-Zoeller, who have combined for 13 points off seven goals and six assist thus far this season. In net, senior Eric Leroux and junior B.J. Sklapsky have shared the starting duties.
After starting the season off quickly, Quinnipiac has lost five of its last six games. But, the Bobcats will still be dangerous and are led tomorrow night by defenseman Reid Cashman, who was a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist in 2005 and currently leads the ECACHL in assists and points. Freshman forward David Marshall is the Bobcats’ top scorer with 11 goals this season. Protecting the Quinnipiac goal will most likely be freshman Bud Fisher, who has a 7-5-0 record with a 2.71 goals against average during the 2005-06 campaign.
“Obviously, [Cashman] brings a skill level and ability to run a power play and that’s pretty obvious from the points that he’s produced,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “We know both teams have great special teams. They have some big time players on their teams and we have to come out in our rink and really go after it before we go into exam break.”
The puck drops tonight at 7 p.m., while tomorrow’s game starts at 6 p.m.
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Assistant Sports Editor