November 14, 2008

New Rules Highlight Special Teams

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This past summer, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new officiating system for college hockey in which two referees and two linesmen will work each game as part of an effort to rid the game of obstruction.
The new rules will intensify the spotlight on both the penalty killing and power-play units, according to senior co-captain Michael Kennedy, but he believes that his squad is in good position to be successful under the new rules compared to other teams.
“We did a good job with that last year,” Kennedy said. “Our PK and power play were both ranked pretty high in the nation, and it is going to play a key role early on this year, especially with the crackdown on obstruction. In the exhibition games, we were getting about 10 power plays and the other team was getting about eight or nine power plays. So special teams have to be on top of things, or else you are not going to win games.”
In 2007-08, the Red’s power play unit scored 39 times out of 181 chances for a 21.5 percent success rate. Head coach Mike Schafer ‘86 is confident that this year’s team will be able to pick up right where Cornell left off last year with the man advantage, as this year’s lineup is returning most of the cogs from last year’s power play unit.
“You look at four guys: Brendon Nash, Riley [Nash], Blake [Gallagher] and Colin [Greening],” Schafer said. “Then you’re able to slide Mike Kennedy right in there. They have a real good feel for each other on the power play.”
Schafer has yet to decide which players he will use most on the penalty kill and will be experimenting with a number of different penalty kill combinations to start the season.
“We have been working with a lot of different guys, and I always try to find who the go-to guys are going to be by the second half of the season,” Schafer said. “I’m trying to get a lot of guys in and see how they do in game-situations. As the season wears on, we will try to find six guys who we can really depend on.”