November 17, 2008

Two Quick Goals Rally Red to Tie

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In its home opener, the men’s hockey team did not get off to the start that it had envisioned. Cornell went down 2-0 to the visiting Colgate Raiders, but scored two goals in a span of 24 seconds in the third period to square the game at 2-2, earning one point in the tie.
“We hadn’t been behind in any games yet this year,” said junior goaltender Ben Scrivens. “I thought for the most part we responded well.”
[img_assist|nid=33647|title=Power this|desc=Junior co-captain Colin Greening scored one of the Red’s two goals in the team’s 2-2 tie with Colgate Saturday night.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Cornell received a bench penalty for too many men on the ice at the 5:31 mark of the first period. On the ensuing power play, Raiders winger Jason Williams launched a shot on net that Scrivens blocked. The Red was unable to clear the rebound, however, and Colgate freshman center Austin Smith found the loose puck. Smith sniped a shot past Scrivens’ glove to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 6:20 of the first period.
Cornell created several chances on its three first period power plays, but was unable to find the back of the net. On the Red’s first real scoring chance of the game, senior co-captain Michael Kennedy found himself staring at a gaping net, but his shot rang off the post and stayed out of the goal.
With eight minutes remaining in the period, sophomore Riley Nash set up a brilliant scoring opportunity for the Red, as he waited patiently atop the circle during a power play cycling set, enabling senior winger Evan Barlow to streak in undetected on the right side. Nash sent a sharp pass over to Barlow, who quickly released a snap shot that sailed wide of the net.
Head coach Mike Schafer ’86 thought that the Red simply failed to execute on the many power play chances it had throughout the game. Cornell went 0-for-10 with the man advantage on the night, including a couple of 5-on-3 opportunities.
“It was awful,” Schafer said. “We couldn’t hit the net to save our life on the power play. The whole idea is that teams are going to collapse on you like I thought they did tonight. When you get your shots through, you have to hit the net to create rebounds and chances. [Colgate] did a good job, and we didn’t do a good job of moving the puck quickly and opening up shooting lanes.”
1:22 into the second period, Cornell was granted a man advantage once again, as Williams was called for a slashing penalty. On the subsequent power play, the Red began cycling the puck at the point. However, Colgate winger Brian Day, a New York Islanders draft pick, broke up a pass and skated by the Red defenders to face up alone against Scrivens.
Sophomore defenseman Mike Devin hustled back but was only able to stop the play by dragging Day down from behind, and the referees granted Day a penalty shot. On his ensuing attempt, Day skated in slowly over the blue line and started building up speed, faking right then left. Finally, the winger juked to Scrivens’ right, but went back glove-side and slid a shot five-hole.
The puck ricocheted off of Scrivens’ pads and squirted through his legs, putting the Raiders up 2-0.
“He made a good move,” Scrivens said. “I guess I just got beat. It’s always a tough play when they get you going side to side and then slide it on the ice there. I thought I had a good read on it, but you’re not going to stop them all. I guess I have to work on a few more breakaways in practice.”
Colgate goaltender Charles Long kept the Red off the scoreboard for the first two periods and made 26 saves on the night. The Red was only able to solve Long with less than seven minutes remaining in the third period.
With the puck in the Colgate end, Mike Devin skated to the point and found junior co-captain Colin Greening with a pass at the top of the circle. Greening quickly released a wrist shot on net as he fell to his knees. The puck fluttered over top of Long’s glove as it found the back of the net, cutting the Colgate lead to 2-1 at the 13:31 mark of the third.
“I was in front of the net,” Greening said. “The puck kind of came out to Mike Devin, and he brought it across the blue line. I was actually going for the high tip because I thought he was going to shoot it, but I backed out looking for the pass. Mike gave me a great pass and there was nobody around, so I just shot as hard as I could and thank goodness it went in.”
Colgate head coach Don Vaughan called a timeout after the goal in an effort to settle his team down and devise a plan to maintain the lead. The Red wasted no time when play resumed, however, scoring another goal just 24 seconds later.
Some strong Red forechecking allowed Blake Gallagher to skate free with the puck behind the net. Gallagher sent a pass to sophomore forward Joe Devin, who was standing just in front of the crease. Devin one-timed a shot high glove-side, and Long barely had time to react as the puck blew by his blocker, tying the game at 2-2 and ultimately sending the game to overtime.
Schafer was very happy with his team’s play in the late stages of the game and was proud of the way his players fought back from an early deficit to force the extra frame.
“You have to stick together when you get down,” Schafer said. “I think one of the most important things when you get behind is sticking to your fundamentals. You need to play with poise, and we didn’t do that for a long period of time … until with about eight minutes to go in the game we started showing that poise and made some plays. Then we capitalized on our scoring chances.”
In the extra period, each team had its own power play opportunity, but neither was able to capitalize, while both Scrivens and Long made four saves in overtime.
Schafer and his players were disappointed in their slow start to the game and sloppy execution on the power play, but they were happy to come away with the tie after falling into a 2-0 hole.
“It is a young team and as the game went on we continued to do a great job of clawing it out as a team and we did a good job of finding a way to get the job done,” Schafer said. “Even though things weren’t going well and weren’t playing as a group, somehow we found a way. … For us, it was a good tie, but it was a learning experience.”
In the Red’s first game at home this season, Lynah Rink honored legendary coach Ned Harkness with a moment of silence prior to the game.