October 15, 2007

M. Icers Open Season With Scrimmage

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One way to play against oneself is to play solitaire; another way is to have a scrimmage.
The men’s hockey team did the latter on Saturday night at its annual Red-White Scrimmage. In the first of three exhibition contests for Cornell, the Red team topped the White, 6-3.
“I thought that for having one practice yesterday, I thought the guys moved the puck pretty well, and they did some really good things,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “I am really happy, the process of getting better day by day. We get a chance to look at the video and learn from that, get back to work on Monday and begin that process of getting better in all areas of the game, throughout the whole course of the year.”
The scrimmage was divided into two periods, each of which included a number of different situations, such as even-strength play, 5-on-4, 4-on-4 and 5-on-3 odd-man situations and shootouts. The game was a chance for the returning players and eight new freshmen to play for the first time for the fans and with referees.
“To be honest, the best way to describe it would be fun,” said senior co-captain Topher Scott. “We have been working so hard, beating each other up with nobody watching, and now we got to show the fans what we are about, and that is hard work. And I think we really came out and did that tonight. We had a really good feeling in the locker room about the guys right now. It’s just a lot of fun to go out there and show all the fans and show them appreciation at the end.”
Some of the highlights of the scrimmage included a pass across crease from Scott to fellow senior co-captain Raymond Sawada, who had stationed himself at the left post and banged the puck home. In addition, freshman Joe Devin, whose twin brother Mike also is a freshman on the squad, made a strong debut for Cornell, scoring two goals, including one in the shootout.
“You know the saying with first impressions,” Devin said. “Through the whole preseason, how it goes for everyone. Everyone has been working really, really hard, and it’s going to relate right into the season coming up here. Everyone is getting excited.”
Schafer pointed Devin and another of the newcomers for commendation.
“I was impressed with [freshman] Dan Nichols, because every time I noticed one of the guys on the white team getting hit, I looked up and it was Dan,” Schafer said. “Physical play like that is always impressive. … Both Dan Nichols and [freshman] Joe Devin, I thought they played very physical.”
The night’s festivities also included the dedication of Lynah Rink’s multipurpose room as the Ned Harkness Alumni Room. Harkness, the head coach of the 1967 and 1970 championship teams, was honored in a ceremony between the first and second periods. A number of former players, including Ken Dryden ‘69, returned to honor their former coach.
“It’s huge, to come in here and see how much [the former players] still get along and how much they joke with each other,” Scott said. “Something like that, that is what it takes to win the national championship, and they proved it by doing that. That kind of camaraderie and chemistry, that is something that if we can get as a team, we can do some great things this year. It’s definitely a great thing to see.”