February 6, 2006

Men's Hockey Takes Over First Place

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Friday night at Lynah Rink marked the end of a five-game home stand for the No. 5 men’s hockey team, but also the beginning of a crucial home-and-home series with No. 17 Colgate.

At the final whistle, the Red ended its stretch of home games with a 4-0-1 record, but more importantly, the squad found itself just one point behind the Raiders in the ECACHL standings after cruising to a 4-1 win.

“Their guys came out hard and I think we tried to weather them, but we didn’t get enough effort from our guys to get a win out of here,” said Colgate goalie Mark Dekanich. “They wanted it more tonight.”

The win gave the Red (16-4-3, 11-3-2 ECACHL) 22 points in conference play, which was just one behind Colgate (15-8-5, 11-4-1) going into the Raiders’ half of the home-and-home set on Saturday night at Starr Rink.

“I definitely think it was [one of the best games we’ve played all season], especially because of the circumstances,” said sophomore Topher Scott. “It was a big game and we wanted to win.”

Cornell was led on Friday night by sophomore Raymond Sawada, who netted a career-high two goals, and Scott, who dished out his 17th and 18th assists of the season. In net, junior David McKee made 22 saves and was just 1:49 away from extending his own ECACHL record for career shutouts.

Though the first period was scoreless, the Raiders were the closest to putting a puck in the net, as freshman defender Mark Anderson ripped a shot from the right point that hit the post just 17 seconds into the game.

While both squads had six shots on goal in the first, Colgate came out of the period with the momentum, as junior Mitch Carefoot’s contact-to-the-head roughing penalty at 18:47 and senior Cam Abbott’s cross-checking infraction just 28 seconds later gave the Raiders a 5-on-3 opportunity that extended into the second frame.

Yet after the two-man advantage, in which the Red held Colgate to just two shots, Cornell stole all the momentum back, according to Colgate head coach Don Vaughan.

“We had on our chance on our power play to change the momentum in the building at the beginning of the second period and we got a 5-on-3 and didn’t generate anything,” he said. “I think after they killed that off, the momentum shifted.