March 15, 2008

Nash, Fontas Lead Men's Hockey Past Union, 3-2 in First Quarterfinal Game

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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Even though his younger brother Riley is usually the goal-scorer in the family, sophomore Brendon Nash found a scoring touch of his own Friday night. The defenseman’s power-play goal with six minutes left in the third period broke a 2-2 tie and gave the men’s hockey team a 3-2 win over Union at Messa Rink in Schenectady, N.Y. Cornell now holds a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series.
Nash’s heroics came during a four-on-three power play for Cornell. After freshman Riley Nash and Union junior Lane Caffaro were both called for hitting after the whistle penalties, senior Josh Coyle was whistled for holding six seconds later, setting up the Red’s four-on-three. As the advantage was winding down, senior co-alternate captain Doug Krantz passed it to Nash, who was waiting at the point, and the sophomore fired a slap shot that bounced off the stick of Dutchmen freshman Andrew Buote and past senior netminder Justin Mrazek.
“I was trying to go for a rebound for [sophomore co-alternate captain] Colin [Greening], so he could pounce on it there,” Nash said. “It happened to get off the forward’s stick and throw off the goalie there.”
Aside from Nash, senior Chris Fontas also boasted an offensive touch. After only scoring one goal all season, Fontas netted Cornell’s first two goals. His first tally occurred just a minute into the game, when junior Tyler Mugford’s shot was initially saved by Mrazek, but Fontas pounced on the rebound for the score.
“[Fontas] had been snakebitten a little bit,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “The first goal was a great play by our guys, getting the puck to the net and getting the rebound … It was great for him, especially as a senior for him to get two goals.”
In the second period, with the score tied, 1-1, Fontas won a face off and immediately shot it at Mrazek, who was caught off guard, giving the Red a 2-1 advantage.
“Sometimes when I haven’t been doing too well on my draws, I will just try to throw it on net and hope for the best,” Fontas said. “It rarely works but you get one chance, and if it goes in like that, it’s a bonus.”
Fontas also was hit hard into the boards by sophomore Jason Walters. As Fontas was being attended to, Walters was assessed a major penalty for hitting from behind and a game misconduct.
“I didn’t really see it,” Fontas said. “I was head down, looking at the puck. I was probably a foot and a half away from the puck. He just came in fast and hit me from behind.”
Mrazek and sophomore netminder Ben Scrivens both tallied 24 saves on the night. Scrivens gave up goals to senior Torren Delforte and senior Michael Beynon, tying the game at 1-1 and 2-2, respectively. Cornell was also able to kill off all five Union power plays, and converted 1-5 power plays.
“I think [the defense] played solid tonight,” Nash said. “We didn’t give them too many opportunities to score. We had a couple of shifts where we took it off. Overall we played solid as a group.”