January 15, 2009

No. 6 Men’s Hockey Extends Undefeated Streak Over Break

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With four wins and one tie over the break, the men’s hockey team reenters conference play this weekend with a month’s worth of uninterrupted momentum. The Red (11-1-3, 6-0-2 ECAC Hockey) just swept Niagara over the weekend at Lynah Rink to close out the 2008-09 non-conference slate.
The Kennedy brothers led the way for Cornell, with senior co-captain Michael and sophomore Patrick both notching a goal apiece in both Friday and Saturday’s games. With his second goal of the weekend, his seventh of the season, the elder Kennedy tied junior co-captain Colin Greening for the team lead in scoring — echoing the success against Niagara that Kennedy has enjoyed in the past.
Scrivens shut out the Purple Eagles on Friday, 3-0, and the Red held on to a 2-1 lead the next night at Lynah.
Going 4-0-1 over the break, No. 6 Cornell is accustomed to winning.
The Red had a three-week layoff until the last week of December, when the squad defeated Colgate in the championship game of the Florida College Classic in Estero, Fla. Just like the last time Cornell faced conference foe Colgate, a November faceoff at Lynah Rink, the Red played the Raiders to a 2-2 tie in December — coming from behind to bring the game to overtime.
Tied after overtime at the neutral site, a shootout decided the winner this time around. The Red was awarded the tournament victory — while junior netminder Ben Scrivens stopped all four of the Raiders’ shots, senior co-alternate captain Jared Seminoff and junior forward Blake Gallagher each got the puck past Colgate’s Charles Long for the 2-0 victory.
In nine seasons competing at the Florida Classic over winter break, this was Cornell’s third title.
Colgate got off to a strong start, leading 2-0 at the first intermission off two costly Cornell turnovers. The Red came alive in the second, however, with a power play goal by Gallagher at the 6:48 mark — it was the forward’s first goal of the season. Michael Kennedy pushed in a loose puck 10 minutes later to knot the score at 2, eventually leading to the shootout.
Getting a pair of goals from sophomore forward Joe Devin, the Red topped St. Cloud State Saturday night, 3-2, to get to the championship game. The Huskies got on the board first barely a minute into the second period, taking advantage of an extra-man situation. The challenge woke Cornell up, and Devin tallied his first goal 20 seconds later.
The Red then took control of the period, relying on a strong middle stanza as it did against Colgate the next day. Sophomore forward Riley Nash tallied a short-handed goal at the 10:54 mark off a feed from senior forward Evan Barlow, and Devin notched the game-winner a minute later.
St. Cloud State had no more success with the man advantage that night after its first goal, as Cornell killed off the Huskies’ next six power plays. Yet the Red power play had no success either, going 0-for-3 on the night.
Though the Huskies tallied another goal midway through the third period and outshot the Red 16-5 in the stanza, even pulling their goalie with 57 seconds left for an extra skater, they couldn’t solve Scrivens and Cornell.
In its semifinal matchup the same day, Colgate narrowly escaped first-round challenger Maine with a last-second score in overtime, 3-2, to advance to yesterday’s championship against Cornell.
Gallagher — who notched two assists against St. Cloud State in addition to his standout performance in the championship game — and junior defenseman Brendon Nash were named to the all-tournament team, while Scrivens was named the Most Valuable Player.
In the week between the tournament and the Niagara homestand, the Red traveled to Amherst, Mass., notching a 5-2 win on the road. Just five minutes into the game, Cornell took advantage of its first power play opportunity when Devin collected a rebound and drove the puck in after a series of stopped shots — Nash needed only 30 more seconds to give the Red a 2-0 lead. The Minutemen went 2-for-6 with the man advantage.
The Red also held a fundraiser over break. In both games against Niagara, the Red wore jerseys with the names of distinguished alums of Cornell hockey who wore the same number. The jerseys will be auctioned off to fund a mission trip to the Dominican Republic this summer, with the auction running from last Saturday to this coming Monday.
Seminoff, for example, shares his No. 3 with head coach Mike Schafer ’86. But the co-alternate captain went the extra mile of sharing his coach’s behavior — as Seminoff skated out to the blue line, he snapped a stick over his helmet just as Schafer did before the Harvard game in the 1983-84 season.