March 23, 2009

M. Hockey Overcomes Game 1 Loss to Advance to Semifinals

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After suffering a 1-0 loss in the opener of a physical, hard-fought three-game series with Rensselaer, the men’s hockey team stormed back to win the final two games, 4-0 and 4-3. With the series win, Cornell advanced to the semifinals of the ECAC Hockey tournament. Senior Evan Barlow made his last weekend at Lynah Rink a memorable one with four goals in the series. Sophomore forward Riley Nash added one goal and three assists on the weekend.
The Red was shut out in the first game despite controlling play for most of the contest. Cornell out-shot Rensselaer, 32-14, but Engineers goalie Allen York held firm, while Cornell junior netminder Ben Scrivens let one through late in the third period. Rensselaer freshman Patrick Cullen got the puck near the right face-off circle then sent a hard shot over Scrivens’ shoulder with 2:46 to play in the game.
The Engineers could not capitalize on any of their three power play attempts, and Cornell went 0-for-4 on the man advantage. After the game, head coach Mike Schafer ’86 expressed frustration with the lack of penalties called on Rensselaer’s physical play.
“[Our players] go in on a power play and they’ve got a guy beat clean and they get tripped and hauled down,” he said. “I didn’t realize you could go into the corner and wrap a stick around a guy and grab him with an open hand. That was a video our director of officials came in and showed us that you can’t put an open hand on a guy. Tonight, that’s good defense. That’s great defense.”[img_assist|nid=36138|title=Change it up|desc=Sophomore forward Riley Nash (14) and senior forward Evan Barlow (20) join the attack against RPI on March 13.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
And I’m obviously I’m putting myself at risk here tonight, but I’m a veteran coach in this league,” Schafer continued. “I’ve been around enough to see that this can’t continue. Call the play. Call the penalty. If we’re the most penalized team, call us. That is not hockey.”
As a result of his postgame comments, Schafer was suspended for Saturday’s game by ECAC Hockey. His comments seemed to be noticed by the league, however, as Rensselaer was whistled for 19 penalties for a total of 41 minutes in the box in Game 2 of the series, a 4-0 win for Cornell.
“We just want penalties to be called when they’re penalties,” said assistant coach Scott Garrow. “[The officials] did, they called it on us early. Luckily our guys figured it out and played with more discipline.
With the Engineers playing shorthanded for so much of the game, the Red had little trouble controlling the puck and took 56 shots compared to just nine by Rensselaer.
The last time Cornell allowed fewer than 10 shots was a 7-1 win over Army on Oct. 29, 2004. Barlow scored two goals in Saturday’s win, and Nash and junior forward Colin Greening scored one apiece.
Both teams managed more discipline in the rubber game of the series — Cornell and Rensselaer combined for just five power plays in the contest. The Red managed one goal on its two man advantage chances, Barlow’s second score of the night, and Rensselaer did not convert on any of its three chances, making the Engineers 0-for-11 in power play attempts on the weekend.
Senior co-captain Michael Kennedy scored the eventual game-winner in the second period off an assist from freshman forward Locke Jillson to put the Red up, 4-1. Rensselaer made a game out of it with two third-period goals, but could not get the equalizer. Scrivens finished with 31 saves in the game to give him his 20th win of the season.