January 21, 2008

Scrivens’ 27 Saves Pace Red in Victory

Print More

In its return to Lynah Rink, the men’s hockey team outplayed St. Lawrence for a 3-1 win over the Red’s conference foe. Cornell (8-6-2, 6-3-0 ECAC Hockey) avenged last season’s two-game sweep by the Saints (9-10-3, 4-5-2).
Freshman Riley Nash netted two goals for the home team, while classmate Jacob Johnston echoed the success of his sister, freshman women’s hockey forward Rebecca Johnston. The defenseman scored his first collegiate goal in his first appearance on the ice for the Red.
Johnston didn’t waste any time going in for a shot, though his attempt at the 2:50 mark was saved by Saints sophomore goaltender Alex Petizian. Seven minutes later, though, the freshman got another chance. This time, Petizian reached out with his glove to catch Johnston’s hard shot from the blue line and got only air.
[img_assist|nid=26679|title=Clarkson Tops M. Hockey|desc=Senior co-captain Raymond Sawada (center) attempts to will the puck into the net amid heavy defensive pressure in the Red’s 4-2 loss to Clarkson yesterday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“There’s no other better rink to get a first goal in,” Johnston said. “I just put pucks in the net and hope for the best. That’s what the scouting report said, put some long shots in the net, and that’s what I did.”
With several key players absent from the lineup — freshman Dan Nicholls, sophomore Brendon Nash and juniors Evan Barlow and Taylor Davenport — two freshmen led the way on offense, while sophomore goaltender Ben Scrivens anchored the defense with one of his best performances of the season, turning away 27 shots.
“Tonight we had balance in that all four lines contributed in their own different way,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “Ben [Scrivens] was a big part of the penalty kill … Jacob scored, and the other lines had some good chances and Riley scored. I thought [junior Tyler] Mugford’s line [with sophomore Joe Scali and senior Chris Fontas] played very physical. So we had contributions in a lot of ways from different people.”
Schafer pointed to Scrivens, in particular, as a difference-maker. Though Petizian matched Scrivens 27 saves, Scrivens made it look as if his glove was repelling the puck like oppositely-charged magnets.
“He made a huge save in the first,” Schafer said. “On the power play, [the puck] popped out to one of their kids and [Scrivens] stuck his leg out to make the save … and that was a huge save not to keep them from getting on the board.”
The Red’s defense seemed to deflate the Saints in the first. The initial period showcased a solid Cornell penalty kill that stayed strong throughout the game. The Saints had seven opportunities on the power play, but Cornell denied them each time. Teammates on the British Columbia junior team Nanaimo Clippers, juniors Tyler Mugford and Jared Seminoff set the standard for physical play playing together on the penalty kill in the second period.
“We’ve been working hard on the P.K. in practice the last few weeks, and all that hard work’s starting to pay off now,” Scrivens said. “The guys are doing a great job keeping the shots outside. Even when [the other team does] get set up, they’re not getting point blank chances to put the puck in the net, so it makes my job easier.”
“I thought the guys did a tremendous job [on the penalty kill],” Schafer said. “Guys blocked shots and were tenacious on our clears … that aspect has gotten stronger for us as time has gone on.”
That toughness apparent on the penalty kill also showed early in the second, when Cornell saw its lead quickly disappear. The Saints’ Mike McKenzie tied it up only 1:40 into the period. The Red regained the lead, however, less than two minutes later on a score by Riley Nash. Though Nash’s goal was unassisted, it was also the result of an unrelenting team effort on offense.
Cornell’s offense had been struggling in the last two games at RPI and Union, only scoring one goal against Union Jan. 12.
“Guys just stuck to the game plan more [against St. Lawrence],” Nash said. “At Union, not many penalties were called. There was a lot of hooking and holding, so we weren’t really expecting too many goals to go in. But I think we were getting a lot more shots on net tonight, generating those second and third opportunities off their goalie because he was kicking them out into the slot area, so we capitalized on those.”
Nash was often at the center of the Red’s rebounding efforts, and the freshman phenom is sporting a more aggressive goal-scoring attitude.
“I’m definitely looking to shoot the puck more,” Nash said. “Before I’d be looking to pass it instead of shoot it when I had a decent opportunity. And tonight I felt like I shot the puck from everywhere, and then it just kind of translates into shooting the puck when you have the shot instead of passing it up.”
Petizian opened the final period looking unsteady, slightly bobbling his first touch. A hard shot from freshman Mike Devin almost scored less than a minute into the period, and the rest of the period didn’t look any better for the Saints. At the 6:47 mark, Nash scored his second goal of the game on a power play. Petizian rebuffed a shot by sophomore assistant captain Colin Greening on a pass from classmate Blake Gallagher, but Nash got the rebound and slid the puck through the stretched legs of the St. Lawrence goaltender.
The insurance goal stopped the Saints in their tracks. With Scrivens out of position less than a minute later, St. Lawrence had a clear shot at a wide-open right side of the net and missed. All other attempts were saved in spectacularly consistent fashion by the Red’s sophomore goalie.
St. Lawrence substituted senior Justin Pesony for Petizian for 58 seconds and then tried an empty net with 1:31 remaining, but it was too late to make any difference.
Cornell’s consistency in goal is a relatively recent development. Scrivens had been known to come out and leave the goal unprotected too often for comfort, and he has been working over the break to become more disciplined.
“The game against Clarkson in Florida [over winter break], I made a big mistake with the puck, and the coaches made the decision to take me out, so that was kind of one of the things that turned me,” Scrivens said. “I’m just being a lot more, I wouldn’t say cautious, just I’m focused on making good decisions with [coming out of the net] as opposed to just going out for the sake of playing the puck … Playing the puck as a goalie is definitely a skill that you gotta to work at. It doesn’t just come to you. It’s sad to say, but I’ve definitely gotten a lot better at playing the puck. I used to be a lot worse than what I am right now, if that gives you any indication of where I started.”