October 20, 2011

Men’s Hockey Begins Season With Weekend Exhibition Games

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Fans who have been holding their breath since March will finally be able to breathe the crisp Lynah Rink air again on Friday at 7 p.m. when the puck drops for the opening game of the men’s ice hockey season against Guelph (1-6,1-4 OUA), with a second game versus Carleton (3-1-4, 2-2 OUA) Saturday at the same time.

In 2010, though the Red spent most of the first half of the season figuring the key to a winning pattern, the team finished the year in strong form with a 16-15-5 record and an ECAC championship bid. The forecast for the Red’s lineup includes some time-tried veterans as well as 10 new faces. Head coach Mike Schafer is joined on the bench by two new assistant coaches, Ben Syer and Topher Scott ’08. Lead scorer, junior Greg Miller returns to the squad, anchoring the offense, and senior co-captain Keir Ross will return to defend the blue line.

Both Friday and Saturday’s contests are exhibition games, so the results will not contribute to any overall ECAC rankings or help determine a first-round playoff bye. Nonetheless, both teams will present unique challenges for the Red. Guelph suffered six straight losses at the start of its season, giving up over five goals a game on average. However, despite the rough start for the team, it recently crushed the UOIT Ridgebacks, 8-1. The squad displayed quite the hot temper on Wednesday, earning seven penalties in three multiple-player fights. The Red will need to be wary of these reactive antics on Friday night. Guelph, who capitalized on only one of eight power play opportunities against the Ridgebacks, will have its work cut out for it with returning power-play killing juniors Braden Birch and Nick D’Agostino.

On Saturday, the Carleton Ravens, led by fifth year head coach Marty Johnston, are in town to try their hand against the Red. Carleton beat Guelph, 6-0, earlier this season and made serious dents in the records of ECAC teams like St. Lawrence and Colgate already this year. Colgate was lined up for a 3-0 shutout against the Canadian team on Oct. 1, until the Ravens said “nevermore,” with a three goal rally in the third, subsequently forcing the Raiders to settle for a tie.

Fans unable to make it to Lynah can listen to the games on WHCU 870AM or watch live at cornellbigred.com/showcase.

Original Author: Rob Moore