January 26, 2009

Devin Scores Twice in Win Over Struggling Bears

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Cornell bounced back from its 4-3 loss Friday night with a resounding 5-1 win over Brown on Saturday. Sophomore forward Joe Devin led the way for the Red, notching two goals, including the game winner. Michael Kennedy, Blake Gallagher and Sean Collins each added a goal and an assist to help Cornell cruise to victory.
Head coach Mike Schafer ’86 and his players were very pleased with the way the team (14-2-3, 9-1-2 ECAC Hockey) responded after Friday’s defeat.
“It was really important mentally to come out the way we did after the way we played [Friday],” Schafer said. “It was just a much better performance. It was a good bounce-back here tonight. We played the way we are capable of.”
“It was vital for our team to rebound in terms of standings,” said junior goaltender Ben Scrivens. “The race for the top spot is so tight that you can’t afford to take a whole weekend off.”
On Saturday, the Red came out of the gates fired up, launching its offensive attack right after the opening faceoff. Soon thereafter, a Brown (2-13-4, 2-8-3 ECAC Hockey) defender attempted to clear the puck out of his own end, but Kennedy was waiting along the left boards. Kennedy blocked the clearing attempt and immediately wired a shot over the top of Brown goaltender Mike Clemente. There was some initial uncertainty as to whether Kennedy had scored, but the referees ultimately deemed that the puck had crossed the goal line, giving the Red a one-goal lead just 1:38 into the opening frame.[img_assist|nid=34395|title=Deadly Devin|desc=Senior Evan Barlow notched two assists in the Red’s loss to Yale. Barlow leads the team with 12 assists for the season.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The first period came to a close with Cornell’s 1-0 lead still intact, and the Red carried its momentum into the second frame. Brown center Jordan Pietrus took a slashing penalty at 4:18 of the second period, giving the Red one of their nine power play opportunities of the night.
The Red set up its power play and began cycling the puck around the Bears’ zone. After receiving a pass from Locke Jillson, Kennedy sent a low wrister on net from the point. Devin was in position, screening Clemente, and was able to get his stick on Kennedy’s shot and redirect it through Clemente’s legs. The puck crossed the goal line at exactly 6:18, meaning that the penalty had just expired, officially rendering Devin’s score an even-strength goal.
Officially, the Red went just 1-for-9 on its power-play opportunities, but it was able to create a plethora of chances with the man-advantage.
“I think the difference between this game and [the Yale game] was evident in the power play, where tonight we came out and moved it around and had some great chances in the first,” Schafer said. “We didn’t capitalize until really late on the power play but we generated a lot of good chances and [Clemente] made a lot of good saves.”
The Red held its 2-0 lead as the players headed into the locker rooms for the second intermission. Through two periods, the Bears had managed to register just eight shots on goal, all of which were handled by Scrivens.
“[Scrivens] did a great job again tonight,” Schafer said. “He came back after what was a below-average performance for him. … For him to bounce back tonight with limited action, he just played very solid again.”
Just after a Cornell penalty expired 51 seconds into the third period, Bears forward Jarred beat Scrivens on his glove side, cutting the Red’s lead to 2-1.
However, less than five minutes later, the Red responded. After a neutral zone turnover, Devin and Gallagher came in on a two-on-one. Devin received the puck, paused to freeze Clemente, and then blasted a shot that ricocheted off of the right post and into the net for his second goal of the night, putting the Red back up by two at 5:31 of the third period.
“It came up to Blake and we had the two-on-one developing there,” Devin said. “He passed it over to me. I went down the left-hand side there and Blake did a good job of kind of drawing the defenseman over to him. I just shot it. I was actually going far side, but I think it hit the heel of the defenseman`s skate and went high short-side, so I got a lucky bounce.”
Devin’s second goal put the Red up 3-1, and goals by Gallagher and Collins late in the third period stretched the score to 5-1.
Schafer explained that Devin’s offensive contributions came as no surprise, considering Devin’s explosive shot. On the night, Devin sent a total of six shots at Clemente and the results were crucial to the Red’s success.
“[Schafer] is always telling me to shoot the puck,” Devin said. “Shoot first, and then look to pass. It paid off.”
The Red held the Bears to just 15 total shots on the evening. Conversely, Cornell fired 36 shots on the Brown goal, keeping Clemente busy all night. Brown was unable to establish any consistent offensive pressure as it was called for 10 penalties in the game, including four penalties on senior winger Ryan Garbutt.
Both Schafer and senior defenseman Brendon Nash explained that greater focus and more attention to detail enabled the Red to put together a dominant defensive effort.
“Puck possession was really key to our game,” Schafer said. “Our defense just did a good job of showing a lot of poise coming out of our own zone, using each other, and making direct passes.”
“We just tried to keep it simple out there and play our system,” Nash said. “With the limited number of guys that we had, we just tried to keep everything simple, keep things moving up to the forwards, and just make sure that we got the puck into their end so that we spent as little time in our end as possible because that is when we get worn down. … We made sure that when we got the puck we would jam it down their throat, get it deep and play our game instead of following the other team around.”