November 21, 2010

Despite Momentum and Energy, Men’s Hockey Falls to Brown, 3-2, on Saturday

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After the loss to Yale on Friday night, the men’s hockey team was ready to bounce back on Saturday, looking to take down Brown in a home contest. Despite a goal with just 58 seconds left on the clock, the Red (2-6-0, 2-4-0 ECAC) was unable to equalize the three goals scored by the Bears (3-2-1, 2-1-1 ECAC). The game concluded in a victory for the visiting team, 3-2, and disappointment for the struggling Cornell squad that remains without a win against an Ancient Eight foe.

The first period witnessed aggressive play by both teams, including some opportunistic shots for the Red by senior right wing and co-captain Joe Devin and freshman left defenseman Kirill Gotovets. However, the only scoreboard changer in the period came from Brown’s Matt Wahl, when he capitalized on a rebound chance and sent the puck past the shoulder of freshman netminder Andy Iles at 11:42 into the game.

The Bears continued to demonstrate their speed on the ice in the second period, especially within the first three minutes when Harry Zolnierczyk zoomed across the ice on a breakaway and drove the puck in to score a second one for the visitors.

“We outshot them, 10-3, in the first period … but they ended up getting the one goal on us from a mental mistake and then obviously another mental mistake caused the second,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86.

Cornell was finally able to respond and halve Brown’s lead as the Red boasted an empty net and used the extra-man advantage to score goal nearly five minutes later. Junior center Jordan Kary sent the puck past the Bears’ goalie, redirecting a shot from defensemen Braden Birch and Mike Devin. However, the Red could not net in an equalizer for the remainder of the period.

In the final part of the night, Brown was able to again widen the gap in scoring as it snuck a puck past Iles almost halfway through the period. Despite added momentum exhibited by all members of the team, Cornell couldn’t finish on chances until the last minute of the game. Again boasting an empty goal as the Bears took a penalty, the Red capitalized on a 6-on-4 advantage when Joe Devin buried a puck sent from Gotovets and sophomore defenseman Nick D’Agostino. But, time expired before the team could manage another one in, and Brown won the game, 3-2, pulling the Bears up to sixth place in ECAC Hockey standings while the Red fell to 11th.

Most notable on the night was the number of penalties taken by the two teams, led by Brown, 8-6. The second period, specifically, heard the whistle blow non-stop, as the teams each posted half of their total penalties during this time. There was a considerable amount of play with just three players on the ice for both teams (excluding the goaltenders) because of all the calls made in line with the newest NCAA rules.

But even though all of these penalties were called there was one play that was not deemed illegal, much to the displeasure of the Cornell team and fans. Brown’s Garnet Hathaway caught Cornell’s vulnerable junior forward Locke Jillson when his back was turned and sent him into the boards on a very controversial check. Jillson, an important player in the Red’s power-play unit, fell to the ice for several seconds without movement, before he finally made a motion and left the ice with a trainer.

“It was frustrating,” Schafer described. “The officials [have to] protect the athletes. … [Locke’s] vulnerable, he doesn’t know the guy’s coming, and the kid just absolutely didn’t let up on him and it hurt him — it hurt him bad. … You look at the NHL and that’s like a [five- or eight-] game suspension.”

Schafer continued to describe the situation that followed the “significant” injury to Jillson’s upper body

“There was a lot of anger from our hockey team for a good portion of that time, late in the second and early in the third, and it was hard to want to keep the guys calm,” he said.

Indeed, the team had some want to retaliate, but kept its cool in attempt to come back and tie the score as it was down by one.

“We felt like a penalty should have been called, even a five-minute major,” Kary said. “In a tight game like that the main focus is the two points. We definitely are aware of who hit Locke and we’ll be aware of it next time we play Brown, but in that point of the game we were focusing on getting the two points.”

Moving forward, the Red prepares to host Colgate on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend and aims to maintain a consistent game throughout 60 minutes of play so to notch Schafer’s 300th career win.

Original Author: Reena Gilani