November 2, 2007

Experienced Captains Lead Young Forwards

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With eight underclassmen making up the majority of the team’s 14 forwards, it seems that inexperience might be a concern throughout the season. However, with the two senior co-captains, Topher Scott and Raymond Sawada, and one alternate captain, sophomore Colin Greening, countering inexperience with leadership and knowledge, this unit shows promise as a lethal, goal-scoring force.
“We brought a lot of goal scorers in,” Greening said. “We have guys like [freshman] Riley Nash and [freshman] Tyler Roeszler, guys who can put the puck in the net. Not only that but we brought a lot of talent in. Not just the forwards but defense. When you look at us we have a lot of our scorers coming back from last year. So we may have lost a lot of guys but we have definitely brought a lot in.”
If Scott can manage at least a repeat performance of last season — one in which he never played more than three straight games without a point and was the Red’s leading set-up man with 21 assists — the Red will have the advantage of a consistent playmaker in the line-up.
Greening seems to be the returning player to keep an eye on this year. As a freshman, he surprised many by scoring 11 goals and logging eight assists. In his rookie year, he led the team in goals and became the first freshman to do so since Denis Ladouceur ’99. In 2005, Greening was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the seventh round, and is one of four current players that hve been drafted by the NHL. This season, he’s taken on the leadership role of assistant captain which he earned because of the impression he made on the team last season.
“We talk all the time that if you want to be a captain you have to be consistent, you have to work hard, you have to play well in big games, and it’s also important that you speak your mind and I think he [Greening] does all those well,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “I think he’s obviously gained a lot of respect last year. He gained a lot of respect from the guys on the team in order to receive those votes.”
Besides Greening, Cornell also returns a talented group of veterans in senior Chris Fontas, juniors Michael Kennedy, Tyler Mugford and Evan Barlow and sophomores Blake Gallagher and Joe Scali. The group will hope to lead a Red offense that lost a number of seniors to graduation, as well as two former underclassmen, Tony Romano ’10 and Justin Milo ’10. Romano is currently playing in the Ontario Hockey League and Milo transferred to Vermont.
With a strong number of returning starters, the Red has high hopes for its rookie forwards. Nash, who will be playing on a talented line with Sawada and Greening, was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers as the 21st overall pick in the first round in June.
“I think any combination that we have on forward right now is working really well but especially with Colin Greening. He is a complete work-horse all over the ice,” Sawada said. “Then, obviously, Riley Nash can put the puck in the net so I think its working out really well.”
Another freshman, forward Joe Devin, has already made his mark. In Cornell’s 4-1 loss to RIT last weekend, Devin scored the first goal of his Red career. Fellow freshmen Tyler Roeszler, Dan Nicholls and Patrick Kennedy make up the rest of the rookie forwards who will be asked to step up this year and prove that they can make plays and most importantly, put the puck in the net.