February 14, 2010

Men’s Hockey Splits, Moves into Tie for Second Place in ECAC

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With a two point weekend in hand, the Red (14-7-3, 12-3-2 ECAC ) moved back into a second-place tie in the ECAC standings, after defeating Brown, 5-3, on Friday, before losing the following night in a heartbreaker to Yale, 2-1 OT. Although the Red claimed victory over the Bears, Brown (7-14-3, 5-9-3 ECAC) really gave Cornell a run for its money and displayed that it is not an easy team to be overlooked.

“We knew they were a very hardworking team. … They showed today that they don’t quit, which is obviously a great attribute to have. We knew about it, I think we underestimated them a little bit. It happens; obviously we got the win but you take a lesson from it that you really can’t underestimate teams,” said senior captain Colin Greening.

Opening the scoring at 7:52 of the first period, junior forward Riley Nash was cutting across the top of the slot and sent the puck on net through a sea of bodies. Greening tipped the puck by Brown sophomore goalie Michael Clemente and into the back of the net.

“I came down the wing and I saw Greening going to the net, and the d-man was backing off a little bit, so I thought if I cut to the middle I’d be able to shoot off the back. … I knew there would be two or three guys going to the net, so I just tried to get it there any way possible and Greening was there to tip it home,” Nash said.

Later in the period, freshman defender Nick D’Agostino collected the puck along the boards at the left point, hesitated for a second and then found junior Joe Devin with a pass at the top of the left circle. Devin quickly spun around to face the net and released a shot that beat Clemente low stick-side, putting the Red up, 2-0. Just 1:35 into the second period, the Brown offensive attack created a scramble in front of the net and got multiple hacks at the puck, forcing senior Ben Scrivens to dive around the crease to make save after save. Finally, David Brownschidle was able to flip it over the Cornell goaltender, cutting the Red lead to 2-1.

Less than two minutes later, Cornell pushed its lead back up to two. Freshman Erik Axell was forechecking hard in the Brown end, and was able to relay the puck to the front of the net. Junior Tyler Roeszler was waiting on the doorstep and snapped a quick shot low glove-side that Clemente was unable to handle. Consecutive penalties to junior forward Dan Nicholls and senior defender Justin Krueger gave Brown a 5-on-3 power play opportunity. The Bears wasted no time in getting to work. Immediately after the faceoff,

“Give [Brown] a lot of credit. They just kept plugging right up until the very end. It was a grind to get the two points,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86.

While Cornell was on the power play, senior defender Brendon Nash took a slap-shot from the point that was saved by Clemente. Greening collected the rebound, but his shot was stopped. Greening then managed to get his own rebound and wired the puck by Clemente, giving Cornell a 4-2 lead.

“That one was a good shot by Brendon, who was shooting a lot more on the PP this game. It got blocked in front, it squirted out and I was able to turn around and fire it … the puck kind of squirted out to me and I got a second crack at it and I was able to put it in,” Greening said.

Just over 10 minutes into the third frame, on a Brown power play, freshman forward Chris Zaires received a pass at the top of the left circle from Jeff Buvinow. Zaire took a huge wind-up and blasted a slap-shot from the point that beat a screened Scrivens low on the glove side. Zaire’s seventh goal of the year trimmed the Red’s lead down to 4-3.

In the final minute, Brown pulled Clemente in favor of an extra attacker. Brown applied some pressure late, but the Red defenders blocked a couple of key shots, allowing senior Blake Gallagher to skate out of the Red zone and fire the puck into the gaping net with

.7 seconds remaining, giving Cornell a 5-3 victory.

“Both Gallagher and Patrick Kennedy made huge blocks. That’s one of the things we’ve been stressing the last couple of weeks –– sacrificing your body. That’s a big part of the game right now, willing to take pucks when you know it’s going to hurt. That’s exactly what you need to do,” Greening said.

On Saturday, a different atmosphere appeared in Lynah, after the Bulldogs (16-6-3, 12-4-2 in ECAC) narrowly defeated the Red in overtime, 2-1, and pushed the Red out of first place in conference standings.

“It was brutal, a tough one to swallow. I’m just kind of feeling it right in the heart. It was a tough overtime loss. I can’t really put words to it right now,” Kennedy said.

The Red was quick to score the first goal, just a little over six minutes into the period, after Kennedy made a nice across the ice play to Nash. Nash was able to set up a clean pass to Greening, who was able to tip the puck into the back of the goal.

“I felt the defensemen right on me and I saw Riley come streaking off the bench, so I fired a hard pass across. He found Greening with a great pass. Greening was driving around the net and put in a nice goal,” Kennedy said.

Despite this lead, the Bulldogs were determined to score and became offensive fireballs throughout the second period, making Scrivens prove his potential. Outshot 20-4 throughout the second period, Cornell began playing a more defensive-style game, including killing off three penalties –– lasting six of the first 12 minutes of theperiod.

“We got into penalty problems which turned the tide of the game. They generated a lot of offense and got us hunkered down a little bit and it snowballed from there,” Schafer said.

Throughout the game, the Red continued to make the same mistake of turning pucks over at the blue line, which is something that cannot be done, especially when playing such a skilled team.

“They expose tendencies and weakness you can’t get away with from good teams … they move pucks and we didn’t stick close with our checks and they made plays,” Schafer said.

Yale’s constant bombardment of shots on goal eventually earned it the team’s first tally of the night, after a nice pass from behind the net, found Mark Arcobello in the crease, who launched a shot to the top corner of the net, tying the score one apiece.

“They are always looking to get pucks on the net. They really pride themselves on creating something out of nothing,“ Scrivens said.

Yale continued its attack throughout the third period, outshooting the Red 13-4; however, Scrivens remained strong and was able to thwart any opportunities. Scrivens set a career-high of 52 saves throughout the night. However, at 3:17 in overtime, the Bulldogs were able to find the open slot to win the game, 2-1, and clinch the Ivy League title.

“Guys are choked about the loss and it is always tough to lose one in overtime, and especially against a team like Yale. Guys will be bitter about it for the next while, but they know they have to swallow it up for [tomorrow’s] game,” Kennedy said.

On a positive note, Nash demonstrated his contributions to the squad, scoring two points this weekend after sitting out due to injury.

“It was great, especially playing on a line with him. He creates a lot of room out there for you –– he’s good at controlling the puck. One of the things about Riley is that he’s able to draw a lot of people to him because he’s such a skilled player, that leaves a lot of room for me to be able to move,” Greening said.

Original Author: Mitchell Drucker