November 14, 2008

Defense Looks to Replicate Success

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In 2007-08, the Cornell defensive corps ranked second in ECAC Hockey, surrendering a scintillatingly-low 1.95 goals per contest. The Red also finished second in penalty killing opportunities, snuffing 85-of-97 (87.6 percent) short-handed situations. This season, the Red blue-liners will be anchored by senior co-alternate captain Jared Seminoff.
“[Head] coach [Mike Schafer ’86] just wants me to play like I normally play, just go out there and be physical and be aggressive and try to get the entire defense on the same line,” Seminoff said. “Nothing’s really changed. We just want to be really aggressive and hit as many people as possible.”
The British Columbia native made his presence felt immediately as a freshman, appearing in 35 games. Despite missing the final eight games of his sophomore season after contracting mononucleosis, Seminoff paced all Cornell defensemen with 15 points. He rebounded strong last season by appearing in all 36 games and posted four assists to accompany his one goal.
Also returning for the Red on defense will be senior Taylor Davenport, juniors Brendon Nash and Justin Krueger and sophomores Jordan Berk and Mike Devin. Joining this cast of defensemen is a pair of talented freshmen, Keir Ross and Sean Whitney.
Schafer will rely upon Seminoff and Krueger to provide the same penalty killing capabilities as last season. In addition to his solid defense, Krueger registered four goals and chipped in with five assists in 2007-2008, including two game-winners.
“[Seminoff and Krueger have] got to provide us with solid penalty killing, solid defensive play, staying out of the penalty box,” Schafer said. “You expect them to be able to go up against other teams’ top lines or top power play units and shut them down. At the same time, you expect them to get involved on the offense and be the fourth men up the ice all night long . We want our entire defense to join the rush and be in­volved.”
Nash led all defensemen in scoring during the 2007-2008 campaign, recording two goals and 14 helpers despite missing the first eight games due to offseason surgery.
“[Nash] is one of our best d-men,” Seminoff said. “He’s a great player and puts up lots of points. So I think it’s going to help a lot having him in the back end with another big body back there.”