December 3, 2007

Men's Hockey Ties No. 11 UMass Behind Scrivens's Career Night

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The shots came from all directions. Some were close to the net; most were from the outside. Many were on the power play; some were even shorthanded. But Ben Scrivens would not break. The sophomore netminder’s career high 45 saves helped the men’s hockey team skate to a 0-0 tie with No. 11 UMass last night at Lynah Rink.
“I don’t it’s been since juniors that I’ve had that many shots,” Scrivens said. “I think the guy was pretty generous with the shot counter. … I’ll definitely take that, though. A lot of shots were from the outside. … All the shots were clear. I was seeing everything.”
Both goaltenders were up to the challenge, as UMass freshman Paul Dainton stopped 24 Cornell shots in order to keep the Red off the board as well.
“Both goaltenders played very, very solid,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “Ben played really well and I thought their kid made some huge saves also in the third when we had some really good looks.”
Even though UMass (6-3-5, 3-2-4 Hockey East) was able to record 45 shots on goal, many were from the outside or were low-percentage shots. In addition, the Cornell defense was able to block 25 shots of its own.
“When you look at the statistics, they are a team that we knew coming in that they forced the puck to the net,” Schafer said. “I thought Ben did a great job controlling rebounds, when the guys did give up some rebounds, which we did around the net, the guys were up to the task.”
Both teams had a multitude of good chances to score. In the second period, for example, as a Minutemen power play was expiring, a UMass player was stationed at the far post, where he received the puck and a scoring opportunity. Scrivens was able to get back in time, though, and stopped the shot. One of Cornell’s best scoring chances occurred in overtime, when junior Michael Kennedy fired a one timer from right in front of the net. Dainton was able to get a piece of it, though, preserving the scoreless game.
UMass is a quick squad, and Cornell (4-4-1, 4-2-0 ECAC Hockey) used strong physical play in order to counterbalance the Minutemen’s speed. Sophomore co-alternate captain Colin Greening and freshman Dan Nicholls were among the many players who exacted hard checks on UMass players.
“Obviously, we knew they were a smaller team, quick,” Greening said. “It was important for us to make sure that we go out and be physical right away. I think it showed as the game wore on. They started to get a lot more tired. … We realized that to be successful in this game, we had to be physical.”
In the first period, UMass seemed to dominate the pace of play, outshooting Cornell, 19-5. Over the course of the game, though, the Red adjusted and in the third period, the shot differential was much less, an 11-9 advantage for the Minutemen.
“Early on, the turnovers were causing transitional chances for them,” Schafer said. “I thought that as the game wore on, it took us a long time to figure it out. As the game wore on, we became smarter with the puck, played with a little bit more poise coming through the neutral zone, kept it simple and got it deep and then started getting to work. It was a good lesson for our guys.”
The game was Cornell’s first 0-0 tie in a regular-season game since the 1988-1989 season. The Red did tie Trois-Rivieres, 0-0, earlier this year in a preseason contest.