November 12, 2007

Nash Nets First Career Goal in Conference Win

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NEW HAVEN, CONN. — The phrase “living the life of Riley” means being prosperous and satisfied. The men’s hockey team lived the life of Riley Nash on Friday night as it utilized the highly-touted freshman forward’s first career goal and then some tight defense in order to top Yale, 2-1.
Nash’s tally came with 5 minutes left in the first period. Junior Evan Barlow dumped the puck into the offensive zone, where it was intercepted by a Yale defenseman. Sophomore co-alternate captain Colin Greening was able to make a hit on the Bulldog player, though, and the puck came out to Nash, who slipped a wrister past sophomore goalie Billy Blase for the score.
“Barlow got it just outside the blue line. … he kind of just threw it in, he was kind of dumping it and it hit their guy,” Nash said. “The D-man went back and Colin made a great play, took him out. It just kind of went right between the hash marks and I just went 5-hole on him, tried to catch him off guard, because I don’t think he really expected it.”
Besides his first goal, Nash made his impact felt throughout the game. The freshman took five shots in the contest, the most on the team, and also assisted Greening’s empty-net tally in the third period. It was Nash’s first multi-point effort of his career.
“I think it is just confidence,” Nash said. “The first couple of games you are just getting used to the new pace, bigger guys. I felt a lot better out there. My legs weren’t as good, but I still felt like I could do a lot more. The first couple of games, it seemed a lot faster, and now the game is starting to slow down again. Hopefully I can start making some plays again.”
Cornell (3-2-0, 3-1 ECAC Hockey) was able to hold onto the 1-0 lead for almost the rest of the game because of the strong play by the Red defense and sophomore goaltender Ben Scrivens. Scrivens made 24 saves, including nine apiece in the first and second periods. After Greening’s empty-net goal gave Cornell a brief 2-0 lead with less than a minute remaining, Yale was able to get its first tally of the night with 5 seconds left in the game, spoiling Scrivens’s potential shutout.
“I kind of thought [the shutout] was coming, but we got the win,” Scrivens said. “That’s the important thing. I am not really upset about it.”
Even though Yale (2-2-2, 1-1-2) outshot Cornell, 25-19, the Red was still able to keep the Bulldogs off the board for the majority of the game. It was the fewest goals that Cornell has given up this year in a regular-season contest.
“[The defense] played great,” Scrivens said. “All the shots were pretty much from the outside. [The defenders] were boxing guys out. If there was a rebound out front, their guys weren’t getting their sticks on it. They were great on the rush. They were great moving the puck out of our zone. They did their job, and it helped me do my job a lot better.”
Unlike the team’s past few games, Cornell was also not plagued by undisciplined play. After being whistled for 17 total penalties in last weekend’s two games, the Red stressed discipline throughout the week. As a result, Cornell was only called for two penalties, and one was for too many men on the ice.
“I didn’t think we hurt ourselves with penalties throughout the course of the game,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “When we took some, we killed them off, that’s the difference. We didn’t allow … lack of discipline to carry into our game tonight. That’s especially true on the road. You can’t be undisciplined, so I was very happy with that aspect of the game tonight. “
Yale, on the other hand, was whistled for four penalties. Even though Cornell could not convert any power-play opportunities, the unit still was able to create numerous chances.
“I thought [the power-play unit] did a good job in the third, when you are kind of careful, you are up by two, you want to make sure that you don’t give up a shorty, and the guys did a great job of it,” Schafer said. “The guys still generated chances, got a couple of good looks at it, but I didn’t think we were ever at risk of them chopping out on a two on one, which obviously they would be looking to do.”