While the names on the backs of the white Cornell jerseys at Lynah Rink last night were unfamiliar to even the most dedicated of observers, the style of play employed by head coach Mike Schafer ’89 mirrored much of what fans have been used to in his tenure at the helm of the Red. The absence of many of the Red’s top scorers from last season was hardly noticed from the moment Cornell and Quebec Trois Rivieres took the ice.Just 52 seconds in senior forward Tyler Roeszler put the Red on the board off a rebound from a shot by freshman center Dustin Mowrey, providing the crowd with a snapshot of what would follow for the remainder of the game.“At home you want to get on [the opponent] early and get the crowd going a little bit,” Roeszler said. “We got the other team on their heals, and that’s what we’ve got to do. We have to start quick like that … especially in our own rink.”All remained quiet with neither team capitalizing on any scoring opportunities until Patriotes forward Pierre-Alexandre Joncas was called for charging at the 14:04 mark. Less than a minute into its second powerplay of the evening the Red capitalized on the Quebec penalty, with senior co-captain Joe Devin picking up the score with assists from Roeszler and sophomore center Greg Miller. “Our line was clicking pretty well [in the first period], and I got a couple of good passes there. It was just about me going to the net and guys making good plays,” Roeszler said.On the ensuing Quebec breakout past the Cornell blue line, things got heated between the two squads when a fight broke out behind junior goalie Mike Garman’s net. A two-minute minor was assessed to forward Alexandre Demers, however the powerplay soon ended when sophomore defenseman Nick D’Agostino was called for elbowing — forcing the teams to skate with four men on each side. The remaining three minutes of the first period saw the Red score three goals, two of which came short-handed. The first of the three scores came off the stick of Roeszler, who connected on his second goal of the game with assists coming from sophomores forward John Esposito and defenseman Braden Birch. Devin also notched his second goal of the game less than a minute later when he successfully converted on a short-handed goal sending one past Quebec net minder Jean-Christophe Blanchard to give the Red a 2-0 lead. When asked about the importance of the penalty kill unit to the team’s two short-handed goals, junior defenseman Keir Ross was confident that future success would depend upon the group’s strong defense inside the Cornell blue line.“We take a lot of pride in our defensive systems and our penalty kill, and I think we’re off to a good start,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of guys coming back that are good on the penalty kill, and guys coming in that will fill that role too. I think that’s something we’ll continue to utilize throughout the year.”Cornell wrapped up the scoring frenzy when D’Agostino placed himself in perfect position after returning from the penalty box, receiving a pass up the ice from freshman forward Armand de Swardt. Play resumed in the second period with little carry over from the exciting three-goal finish that had brought the first period to an end. The Patriotes held Cornell scoreless for the entire 20 minutes, with Quebec scoring the period’s only goal at 8:11 on a shot by forward Ettiene Belevance-Martin. What had looked like a blowout for the first 40 minutes quickly turned into a close game, as the Patriotes scored two unanswered goals to bring the score to 5-3 with Cornell still in the lead. “We took the foot off the gas pedal a little bit in the second [period], but those are things you can expect when it’s the first game of the season. We’ll go over the video and we’ll correct those things, and hopefully continue to move forward and put teams away when we’ve got them [behind],” Roeszler said. Schafer provided another analogy in his breakdown of the team’s second period struggles.“There’s a fine line in sports when you’re not playing at your top game, … and we didn’t think at all during the second period,” he said. “We just wanted to go out and play. … It’s like throwing a ball in the yard with a dog. You have a great time chasing it, but not a whole lot of thought process to what we were supposed to do. A lot of effort, but not much execution.”However, the Red managed to put the game away when de Swardt scored off a pass from Birch with just over nine minutes remaining to extend the Cornell lead to 6-3 on his first collegiate goal. While Devin — one of the team’s two captains — produced two goals on the night, the Red’s second captain did not dress for the Quebec game. Senior forward Patrick Kennedy sat out due to what Schafer called “an early season strain.” However, the coach remained confident that Kennedy would suit up for Saturday’s matchup with the U.S. Under-18 Team. Schafer also added that freshman Andy Iles — a former U-18 Team goaltender — would put on the pads and start in net for Saturday night’s contest.
Original Author: Evan Rich