October 29, 2007

Men’s Hockey Opens With Loss

Print More

Maybe it was the daunting 11,000-seat arena half-filled with orange T-shirts, or maybe it was just that the rink was larger than trusty old Lynah Rink. Either way, the Red struggled on Saturday in its first regular season debut against the RIT Tigers, losing 4-1.
“RIT played very well,” said head coach Mike Schafer. “They did a good job and they came ready to play and play hard, and I thought they did that throughout the course of the night. We had a lot of scoring chances and they did a good job not giving us any second chances.”
While the Red certainly was aggressive, its checks were undisciplined at times and it took a few unnecessary penalties that caused them to spend a large part of the first period down a man. Colin Greening’s questionable but damaging five-minute penalty for hitting from behind and a 10-minute game misconduct hurt the Red in a big way when RIT scored its first goal about 10 seconds into the power play.
“The second penalty was a penalty, there was no question [it was a penalty], but I honestly didn’t think it deserved a five and a game misconduct,” Schafer said. “He definitely deserved a penalty for boarding but we had our opportunities. They capitalized on the power play and we didn’t. They did a good job of killing and we didn’t execute in order to score a power-play goal.”
In the second period, RIT was took over as ruler of the penalty box and the Red spent eight total minutes on the power play. Although freshman Riley Nash took a tough penalty for hitting after the whistle, coincidentally, RIT’s freshman Tyler Mazzei was penalized at the same time and Cornell maintained an advantage because RIT’s junior Jesse Newman also took a charging penalty at the same time. Despite some exciting chances, Cornell’s special teams couldn’t capitalize on numerous man-advantage opportunities and the second period ended with RIT still leading by two goals.
“That seemed to be the theme of the game,” said senior co-captain Topher Scott. “We couldn’t execute all over the ice. On the power play, the penalty kill, five-on-five. We worked hard, probably not as hard as we needed to, but the biggest thing for us was probably execution and it showed out there on the ice.”
By the third period, the Red had regained some of the poise it lacked in the first and had some promising chances to score. About halfway through the period, the Red avoided a shutout with a goal from behind the net by freshman Joe Devin that bounced off the back of the goalies pads and into the net.
“I was playing with [sophomore] Joe Scali who was really working hard,” Devin said. “He’s an unbelievable player to play with; he’s just a physical player and he really opens up the ice. I just got to the net and it went in.”
For the next six minutes a renewed energy motivated the Red until the Tiger’s took advantage of a defensive mistake and senior Simon Lambert scored on a breakaway goal. RIT sealed the deal with an empty net goal by freshman Tyler Mazzei, in the last minute of play, ending a disappointing start to the season for the Red.
“They had pretty good showing here of fans but if we want to go to the places we want to go this year, we are going to have to win on the road,” Scott said. “So, it was a good test for us. Hopefully we’ll come out of here and learn a bunch of things and get back to work in practice on Monday.”