February 18, 2008

M. Icers put on offensive exhibition, reclaim fourth in ECAC standings

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It was a tale of two nights; it was the worst of times, and it was the best of times. One night after the men’s hockey team gave up three unanswered goals in a 3-2 loss to Union, Cornell exploded offensively to beat Rensselaer, 7-1, Saturday night at Lynah Rink. It was the most goals that the Red has scored all season.
“I think last night was extremely disappointing,” said junior Michael Kennedy. “Coach brought some points to our attention last night. The message was loud and clear, that we had to win this game. We had to play with passion and really just focus on our game. I thought we did a really good job of that tonight.”
Cornell (12-10-1, 10-7-1 ECAC Hockey) also got some help from its travel partner Colgate, which thrashed Union, 8-0, putting the Red back into fourth place in ECAC Hockey. Staying in the top-4 in the league is crucial, because it means a first-round bye in the ECAC Tournament and home-ice in the quarterfinals.
Senior co-captain Topher Scott, who after Friday’s game stressed the need for the team to pick up its play for the stretch run, had a banner night, posting a career-high four points on a goal and three assists. He also recorded a +4 for the night.
[img_assist|nid=27902|title=Trading Places|desc=After sophomore Blake Gallagher (27) put the Red on the scoreboard first in a loss to Union, Cornell returned to fourth place with a win over Rensselaer.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]“I guess it all just kind of clicked,” Scott said. “It was being in the right place at the right time, and guys finishing when you put it on their sticks. I don’t think I did anything different coming into the game. It was just other guys putting it in the net and other guys playing well as well.”
Among Scott’s highlights for the night was a play on a delayed penalty, where he fed freshman Mike Devin down low, who then found sophomore co-alternate captain Colin Greening for the score. On another goal, Scott passed it across the crease, where junior Taylor Davenport was waiting. Davenport then faked out Rensselaer senior Jordan Alford and slipped it past him.
“When the goalie was pulled [on the delayed penalty], [Scott] made an awesome play,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “He was just very good tonight. He made a great pass to Taylor Davenport backdoor. … That’s the kind of poise that has been missing in our game the last couple of games.”
Scott’s line, which also includes senior co-captain Raymond Sawada and Kennedy, clicked one night after only getting off two shots on goal. Sawada recorded two assists on Saturday, while Kennedy scored a goal and handed out an assist.
“As a line we weren’t happy with our performance [Friday night], and we took it upon ourselves to really come out with passion and to compete hard, and just let the chips fall where they may,” Kennedy said.
Cornell’s offensive prowess was not limited to Scott and his line. Senior co-alternate captain Doug Krantz netted two power-play goals and Davenport, classmate Tyler Mugford and Greening each scored a goal apiece. Mugford’s goal was especially important because it was the Red’s first of the night, and gave Cornell the momentum after Friday night’s loss.
“It’s definitely good to get our game back, get our confidence back and start playing our hockey,” Mugford said. “The first goal is always big, but tonight it was the fact that we kept going after the first one, and the second, and the third, and we just kept going the whole game.”
The lineup was a bit unorthodox due to injury and suspension. With the team out of available forwards, Davenport and freshman Jacob Johnston, both defensemen, played forward.
“They did very well,” Schafer said. “The thought process was that we were minus some guys. [Freshman] Dan Nicholls wasn’t healthy and [freshman] Tyler Roeszler wasn’t healthy. [Freshman] Joe [Devin] was suspended. [Junior] Evan [Barlow], because of his misconduct [penalty, Friday night against Union], was sat down. … It gave us an opportunity for those guys to come in tonight and they did a good job.”
Not to be outdone, sophomore Ben Scrivens and the Cornell defense held Rensselaer (9-19-4, 4-11-4) to 17 shots, with Scrivens making 16 saves, only giving up a power-play score to freshman Tyler Helfrich on a five-on-three. The Red’s penalty kill only allowed that one power-play goal in seven opportunities. Cornell was 2-9 on the power play.
Cornell also held the advantage in shots, 32-17. There were 22 total penalties in the game, including 13 in the third period.