February 27, 2006

M. Icers Split, Earn Third in ECACHL

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Going into this past weekend, the No. 7 men’s hockey team held a one-point advantage over Colgate and Dartmouth in the ECACHL standings.

Not anymore.

In fact, both the Green and the Raiders leapfrogged the Red, leaving the squad as the third seed in the conference playoffs. This power shift was a result of Cornell’s weekend split on the road, as Rensselaer blanked the Red, 2-0, before Cornell took down Union the following evening by a 2-1 score.

The split, which ended the Red’s regular season, left the team with an 18-7-4 overall record and a 13-6-3 mark in league play. As the third seed in the playoffs, Cornell will host the winner of the Union-Yale series in a best-of-three series beginning on Mar. 10. The Engineers will open the playoffs this coming weekend at home against Quinnipiac, with Colgate awaiting the winner of the series.

Colgate’s sweep of Union and Rensselaer, and Dartmouth’s wins over Clarkson and St. Lawrence, left each team with 30 points in league play and identical 14-6-2 records, earning each squad a share of the Cleary Cup – given to the ECACHL champion.

On Friday night at Rensselaer’s Houston Field House, the Engineers’ Mathias Lange made 34 saves and the squad got a pair of goals within a 1:37 span of the first period to preserve the win. Oren Eizenman opened the game’s scoring with his 14th goal of the season on a feed from Kevin Croxton at the 16:41 mark. On the play, Eizenman slid a backhanded shot past junior goaltender David McKee after sidestepping a Cornell defender. The assist was Croxton’s team-leading 23rd of the season.

Croxton matched Eizenman’s team lead in goals with his 14th at the 18:18 mark, when he put a rebound attempt over McKee’s shoulder. On the play, Kurt Colling put a wrist shot on net from the left side, which McKee swiped away, but Croxton was there to corral the puck and fire it home.

The rest of the night belonged to Lange, who tallied his second shutout of the season. Lange was tested late, as Cornell put 15 shots on him in the third frame. But the goalie was up to the task to preserve the win.

The Red loss was eerily similar to its 1-1 tie against the Engineers on Nov. 18 at Lynah Rink, in the sense that the team outshot Rensselaer by a wide margin (34-17) as it did earlier this season (36-13), but could not come away with a victory.

The next night, the Red edged out the Dutchmen at the Achilles Center, as senior captain Matt Moulson notched his 16th goal of the season at the 5:37 mark in the third period off feeds from classmate Daniel Pegoraro and junior Byron Bitz. The goal was scored after Moto Mayotte’s 20 stops, to earn the win.

Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Sports Editor