November 25, 2008

It’s a North Dakota Holiday for Men’s Hockey

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For the second year in a row, the men’s hockey team will spend its Thanksgiving break playing in one of the premier hockey facilities in the country. After suffering a 6-3 loss last year at the hands of Boston University at New York City’s iconic Madison Square Garden, a more experienced Red (4-0-2) is looking for a better result during this vacation — this year, Cornell will head to Grand Forks, N.D., to face North Dakota, a school which has made it to the Frozen Four in each of the last four years.
The Fighting Sioux’s Ralph Engelstad Arena, which opened in 2001, has a capacity of over 11,000 and will host a pair of games with the Red — the first on Friday at 8:30 p.m. (EST) and the second 8 p.m. (EST) the next day.
Currently in seventh place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, North Dakota has had a rocky going so far. The Fighting Sioux (4-7-1, 4-5-1 WCHA) started the season with three consecutive losses, including a season-opening defeat at then No. 9 Boston University, 5-1.
In early November, North Dakota split a pair of matches at then No. 1 ranked Colorado College, currently No. 3 in the nation. Senior forward Ryan Duncan leads the Fighting Sioux with four goals and six assists.
While this year’s Fighting Sioux squad has not cracked the top-10, the Red is currently ranked No. 12 in the country after knocking off defending Ivy champ and No. 7 ranked Princeton in Cornell’s season opener.
Junior Cornell goaltender Ben Scrivens was named ECAC Goaltender of the Week yesterday for his contribution to Cornell’s wins over Harvard and Dartmouth. Allowing only two goals over the weekend, Scrivens has a 97.1 save percentage
His North Dakota counterpart, Brad Eidsness, has allowed an average of 2.96 goals per game. The rookie has recorded a save percentage of 89.8 over 10 games. The Fighting Sioux return 17 lettermen from a squad that finished 28-11-4 (18-7-3 WCHA) last year, good for second in the conference. The squad eventually lost in the national semifinals.
Game 1 will be broadcast nationally on the NHL Network.