August 21, 2007

Cornell, B.U. to Battle at MSG

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This story originally appeared in the April 30, 2007 edition of The Sun.

It has hosted some of the greatest athletes and athletic events of the last 50 years, living up to its slogan as “the world’s most famous arena.” Now, Madison Square Garden will add another classic rivalry game to its illustrious history: a Cornell-B.U. men’s hockey game.
Cornell University and Boston University released a joint statement yesterday announcing the two teams’ rivalry will be revived when the squads face off at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, Nov. 24, at 8 p.m. It will be the ninth matchup between the schools since 1984 and the teams’ 41st meeting in history, as well as the first college hockey contest at Madison Square Garden since 2003.
“We are excited to bring two of college hockey’s most storied programs to The Garden and the hockey fans of New York,” said Joel Fisher, senior vice president, Madison Square Garden Sports Properties, in a press release. “Boston University versus Cornell certainly will add to Madison Square Garden’s rich tradition of hosting some of the best rivalries in college sports.”
“We were all watching the Rangers-Sabres game today, and seeing them play at Madison Square Garden, how loud it was and the atmosphere and things, we can’t wait for ourselves to be out there,” said junior men’s hockey assistant captain Topher Scott. “I’ve never played in front of that many people before; I doubt a lot of the guys on the team have. So, yeah, it’s just something that we’re pretty pumped for.”
The two sides have been rivals since the 1960s, when they were members of the ECACHL. Between 1967 and 1977, Cornell and B.U. won the ECACHL title five times each, matching up against each other in the league final twice. The Red won the 1967 game, 4-3, and the Terriers prevailed, 4-1, in 1972. B.U. left the ECACHL in 1984 to join the Hockey East conference.
The Terriers have won four NCAA National championships (1971, 1972, 1978 and 1995), while the Red has won two titles (1967 and 1970). The two teams also faced off in the NCAA championship twice, with Cornell winning, 4-1, in 1967, and falling, 4-0, in 1972. Cornell won the last meeting between the sides, 5-1, in 2002-03, and maintains a 23-16-1 all-time series lead.
“We haven’t played them since I’ve been here, but we know a lot about the rivalry,” Scott said. “[Head] coach [Mike Schafer ’86] always talks to us about tradition, and this is one of the biggest tradition games that Cornell’s had in its history. … Just talking with some of the townspeople, some of the fans — some of the older ones — they always talk about how they would love to see Cornell play against B.U. It probably can’t get any better on such a big stage like that, at Madison Square Garden.”
Cornell and B.U. have sent nearly 80 players combined to the National Hockey League, including Ken Dryden ’69 and Joe Nieuwendyk ’88 from Cornell, and Chris Drury and Keith Tkachuk from B.U. Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione, Jack O’Callahan and Dave Silk, who helped lead the United States to gold at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., also played for B.U.
“We’ve been working on the terms for quite some time, so we’re extremely excited,” Schafer said in an interview earlier this month. “We’re really looking forward to this. Obviously, it’s going to be a great game with one of our historic, traditional rivals. And to play down in New York City is a tremendous experience, not just for our players I think, but for our alumni and students, and other people who might be in New York City at that time.”
Tickets are available at the Cornell Athletic Ticket Office or through TicketMaster. The Cornell section of tickets has three levels: rinkside, level 100 and level 300. Cornell students will receive a discounted rate for purchasing 300 level tickets at the Cornell Athletic Ticket Office. Students may also buy one ticket at a discounted rate with the purchase of a Big Red Sports pass for the 2007-08 sports seasons.
“I don’t really know what to expect, but if I know our fans, I’m pretty sure they’ll be a pretty good showing for the Cornell team,” Scott said.
The announcement also stated that there are plans for two future games, one at Lynah Rink and one at Agganis Arena in Boston.