November 12, 2007

Greening Scores Two Goals in Red Victory

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Young talent and experienced leadership combined Saturday night to give the men’s hockey team a 4-1 victory over Brown and a clean weekend sweep on the road. Recovering from a slow start, the Red (3-2, 3-1 ECAC Hockey) has gotten key contributions from the freshmen.
“They’re just starting to get their confidence,” said junior defenseman Jared Seminoff. “After playing a few games, you get all the jitters out and all the nervousness out, that and [the underclassmen are] just really gelling well with our team.”
Cornell’s balanced efforts on offense and defense set the tone for the night, with one early exception. After an uneventful first period, the Bears (1-2-2, 1-1-2) got on the board first with a power play goal by Ryan Garbutt in the seventh minute of the second. It was Brown’s first man advantage of the night.
“I think they just had a sharp angled shot and it squeezed in through [sophomore goaltender Ben Scrivens] somehow,” Seminoff said. “Other than that, our penalty kill was pretty good. So that was just a lucky break for them.”
That was basically the last lucky break for Brown. The Red penalty kill shut down the Bears for the rest of the game, holding the home team scoreless on three additional power play opportunities. Cornell’s power-play unit, on the other hand, accounted for all but one of the team’s goals — three goals on eight opportunities.
Though Brown held the shot advantage, 31-21, the Red outshot the Bears in the decisive second period, 11-8. After near-misses by freshman Riley Nash and junior Evan Barlow, senior co-captain Topher Scott tied it up in the 13th minute when fellow senior co-captain Raymond Sawada deflected a shot by Mike Devin, who tallied two assists on the night.
“Our two power-play lines are starting to get used to each other,” said freshman forward Dan Nicholls. “In both games, power play played a vital role. I think it’s just the chemistry is starting to come together, and guys are getting used to where each other are in each play and it’s starting to come together.”
As the second period was winding down, Cornell had a 4-on-3 man-advantage for the final minute. Sophomore alternate captain Colin Greening scored with less than 30 seconds left in the period, giving the Red the lead going into the third.
Brown got two successive power play opportunities early in the final period, but excellent Red defense stopped the Bears’ attempt at a comeback. Not to be outdone, the offense then exploded in the form of 2007 first-round NHL pick Riley Nash.
Evading all Brown defenders, Nash went from blue line to blue line as time was about to expire on the Red’s power play. With 3:44 to play and three seconds remaining with the man-advantage, Nash skated in on [Brown sophomore goaltender Dan] Rosen and put the puck past him with a deke to make it 3-1. In a game of first-year standouts, Nash stole the show.
“A lot of the underclassmen are stepping up and playing their role,” Nicholls said. “They all know their job. Riley Nash had a great weekend. He had a few points there and played great for us. He came through on a power play. I think everybody just knows their role and is getting used to playing in the league, and that’s what’s helping us out right now.”
Seminoff also pointed out the performance between the posts of Scrivens as the key to the Red’s defense Saturday night. Scrivens finished with 30 saves to Rosen’s 17.
Fortune, however, simply was not on Brown’s side Saturday night. After Rosen was pulled out for the extra man with 2:40 remaining, Cornell got an accidental fourth goal. A rolling shot circled the ice and made its way into the Brown net in the 19th minute. The insurance goal was attributed to Greening, since he was the last Cornell player to touch the puck before the shot.
The Red hopes that the weekend’s results are the beginning of a trend.
“Every time you sweep a weekend on the road it definitely gives you momentum,” Seminoff said. “Coming into next weekend on the road again now we have confidence on the road. We know how everyone’s going to play on the road, and we can expect what it’s going to be like on the road. Especially for the new guys, now they know what it’s like. So I think it’ll just get better.”