January 31, 2011

Men’s Hockey Continues Climb in ECAC Ranks

Print More

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — After sweeping the Crimson in its rivalry series last season behind goaltender Ben Scrivens ’10, the Red turned to freshman netminder Andy Iles  to make his career debut against its arch nemesis. The Cornell-Harvard rivalry is one of the oldest and most intense as far as college hockey goes, and for Iles to start in goal at Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge, Mass., in front of two vivacious fan bases  — including what was likely the largest number of traveling Lynah Faithful to any road game this season — must have been an experience that not even the Junior Olympics could have prepared him for. But, the freshman delivered in fine fashion, stopping the same number of shots as the number that is embroidered on the back of his jersey, 33, allowing the visiting Red to skate past the home team for a 2-1 victory. Cornell (8-9-3, 6-5-2 ECAC Hockey) entered the Saturday night matchup with Harvard (4-16, 3-12) a night after an overtime battle at Dartmouth (12-6-3, 8-4-2) ended in a tie, 2-2. Iles had stopped 31 of 33 shots attempted by the Green, while senior co-captain and forward Joe Devin and junior center Sean Collins each scored a goal for the Red. After earning only one point against Dartmouth, however, the Red looked more like the squad that had won or tied in five of its last six contests prior to the weekend trip. At just 4:45 into the game, senior defenseman Mike Devin scored a goal with an assist from sophomore Braden Birch to get the first point on the board and swing the momentum in Cornell’s favor. While the Crimson did outshoot the Red in the first period, it seemed as though none of Harvard’s scoring chances would be converted as a result of the impressive Cornell defense. However, with about five and a half minutes remaining in the first, Harvard was able to retaliate. As Harvard’s Brendan Rempel skated around Cornell senior forward and co-captain Patrick Kennedy, Alex Fallstrom was able to bury the puck and tie the score at one.The second period was very quiet for the most part, with an uneventful start until a roughing call at 16:30. Freshman forward Rodger Craig got into a tiff with Rempel, and was ultimately assessed a two-minute penalty, while Rempel received a four-minute double minor penalty. During this power play advantage for the Red, junior forward Locke Jillson was able to take advantage of the defensive holes and score to give Cornell the lead, 2-1. This power-play goal represented the first time in 21 attempts that Harvard’s No. 26 penalty-kill unit was unsuccessful.“There was a big goal scored on the power play [of] only two power plays in the game,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86, noting that the goal gave the Red a lead that it would ultimately sustain for the remainder of the game.The third period remained scoreless, despite valiant attempts by both teams. Iles continued his dominance for the Red in the third period, stopping every opportunity that came his way, highlighted by a few crucial blocker saves during a Harvard power play.“It was a big game by Andy, I felt like he made a couple of huge back-door saves. … It was a good job on the penalty kill and your best penalty killer is your goaltender, and I thought Andy played awesome,” Schafer said.The team had set out to get the full two points in this rivalry game and was successful in achieving that goal. “I think [Friday] night, just getting one point, we really wanted two points, but it’s a tough league and we knew that and we’re trying to climb the charts right now and to do that we need to get some points on the road,” Iles said. “I think all of us, especially in a rivalry game like this, were ready to go and had one mission in mind: to get two points, and whatever we needed to do we’d do to get those two points.”

Original Author: Reena Gilani