While the disappointing season opener against RIT is in the past, the men’s hockey team knows better than to just forgive and forget their shortcomings last Saturday. After lengthy discussion about what went wrong, the Red are ready to focus its attention to this weekend’s games against Princeton (1-0) tonight and Quinnipiac (1-3) tomorrow night.
“We just didn’t execute through the game,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “It’s a process of being mentally alert to execute and we didn’t have it. That was the most disappointing thing on Saturday night, and we had other guys that didn’t come ready to compete and when you do that its going to be a close game and that’s what it was. It’s a lesson to learn and it’s something we’ve addressed throughout the course of the week.”
Historically, Cornell boasts an all-time record of 76-42-7 against Princeton and the Red know that the Tigers struggle in front of the Lynah crowd. Last season, Cornell notched wins against Princeton both times the two teams faced off. Still, after last weekend, the squad knows better than to take any team for granted and has been focusing inward in preparation for its first ECAC Hockey League and Ivy
“Its not a sprint and you’ve got to continue to work on all aspects of your game,” Schafer said. “There’s so many parts to the game that you have to stay on top of and become good at the details in hockey, that if you start to focus on one area there’s going to be another fire that starts up somewhere else.”
Princeton defeated Yale last Friday night, 6-2, in its season opener at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, Conn. Despite the fact that the Tigers’ high-scoring forward line of Lee Jubinville, Brett Wilson and Cam McIntyre scored a combined total of 10 points last week, the Red isn’t using time in practice to tailor its approach. Instead, both games this weekend will be about execution and playing as a unit.
“We learned this past weekend to take nothing for granted so we are really going to have to focus on ourselves and make sure we come out ready to play and play with our style of hockey,” said senior co-captain Raymond Sawada.
The returning players can’t help but keep tomorrow’s game against Quinnipiac out of their minds. While the Red maintains a record of 4-3-1 in the all-time series, the Red suffered three losses last year at the hand of the Bobcats. Two of those losses occurred during a series in the ECAC Hockey League tournament, in which Quinnipiac swept Cornell with scores of 1-0 and 3-2. All thoughts of revenge aside, the Red hopes to make the Bobcats’ record drop below .500 this weekend by handing them their third straight loss.
“For some of the older guys it might be lingering a little bit,” said senior co-alternate captain Doug Krantz. “It was a pretty bitter way to go out last year. I mean, just looking at this year we didn’t get off to the start we wanted to so we want to come out and score some points this weekend.”
According to the players playing at Lynah Rink this weekend in front of a gregarious home crowd could be just what the team needs to rise above the loss to RIT and come out on the ice ready to win. Even though it’s early in the season, with ECAC Hockey League competition on the line, they can’t afford to do anything else.
“Definitely playing here gives you an edge,” said junior Michael Kennedy. “We have everything working for us, so we definitely have to come out and take advantage of the energy our fans are giving us.”