January 20, 2006

M. Hockey to Face Saints

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The question on the minds of the followers of the men’s hockey team is, “Which Cornell team will show up tonight at Lynah Rink?”

The answer, though, is harder to come by.

The No. 8 Red, which will embark on the beginning on a five-game homestand tonight against No. 10 St. Lawrence at 7 p.m., had quite a successful break, as the team reeled off a nine-game unbeaten streak that included a first-place finish at the Florida College Classic.

Yet, the team’s final game of the break left a sour taste in the mouths of the players, as Princeton, a squad currently locked in a ninth-place tie in the ECACHL, blanked the Red, 3-0.

Despite the fact that the Red improved its record to 11-4-2 overall and 6-3-1 in league play over the break, the loss has left some uncertainty about how the team will play from this point forward. This weekend, the team will have its chance to respond by welcoming the Saints and North Country rivals Clarkson to Lynah Rink.

Tonight, St. Lawrence will grace the ice boasting the best record in conference play (8-2-0). Last weekend, the Saints swept a road weekend against ECACHL foes Rensselaer and Union. Against Rensselaer, Kyle Rank tallied a second-period goal and assisted on the game-winning goal. Goaltender Justin Pesony was the star the next night against Union, as he notched 18 saves en route to his first shutout of the season.

One of the keys to tonight’s game for the Red will be to hold down Saints star winger T.J. Trevelyan, who leads the squad with 16 assists and 25 points.

The Saints have come into their own during ECACHL play, as they have tallied 4.20 goals per game in conference play, which is almost a goal more than their 3.50 average overall. This has resulted in the team losing only two games to league opponents this season, a 3-1 loss at Brown in early November and a 6-2 defeat at home to Clarkson two Saturdays ago.

Clarkson will be the Red’s second opponent of the weekend, and comes into the contest in the middle-of-the-pack in the ECACHL. The Golden Knights’ performance last weekend put a dent in their chances at a run for the league title, as they were swept in a road weekend at Union and Rensselaer. The team has struggled all season on the road, going 3-6-0 away from home, as opposed to at home, where the team is 8-2-1.

While the squad’s 5-0 defeat against Union last Friday looks bad on the surface, Clarkson could come away with some positives. Two of Union’s goals were scored on an empty net late in the game and one was scored on a 4-on-3 situation. Clarkson goalie David Leggio made 29 stops on the night and allowed just the one power-play goal after allowing two quick scores just 2:33 into the game. Also, the Golden Knights killed 10-of-11 power plays during the game.

What’s more, the squad showed some resolve in its 4-3 loss to Rensselaer the following evening. After going up 1-0 after the first period, the Engineers stormed back for four goals in the second period to take a commanding three-goal lead going into the final frame. Yet the Golden Knights tallied two goals in the third only to fall short by a goal.

The problem for the squad over the weekend was on the power play, as the team went without a goal in its 16 attempts. This issue could be exacerbated on Saturday, as Cornell ranks 11th in the nation in penalty killing and has killed almost 95 percent of its opponents past 39 chances.

Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Sports Editor