November 17, 2011

M. HOCKEY | Red Returns Home to Play ECAC Foes

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The past week has been very eventful for the men’s hockey program, with the squad ending a successful four-game stretch on the road just days before former Red center Joe Nieuwendyk was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame. Head coach Mike Schafer ‘86 had the opportunity to attend Nieuwendyk’s induction in Toronto and support his fellow teammate.“It’s not so much the impressive thing is how much success [Nieuwendyk] has had, it’s impressive how he has handled that success that makes him a classy individual,” Schafer said. “You look at the things that he has accomplished over his career and I think he has to be one of the most, him and Ken Dryden, two of the most storied Cornell athletes of all time to play in the professional environment like they have and have the success on the national, worldwide scale. It’s just amazing what he has accomplished.”Cornell’s hockey program continues to honor the tradition of players like Nieuwendyk by producing talented players who raise the bar on the ice. During the games against Harvard and Dartmouth on last Friday and Saturday, junior defenseman Nick D’Agostino scored four of the seven weekend goals, including his first three on power-plays in his collegiate career.“Aside from the four goals, i think I played pretty well,” D’Agostino said. “I was very happy with my game defensively … I think our power play is first in the nation right now. Any time you get lots of chances to score and I was fortunate enough [that] my teammates found me in a slot there and three power play goals in a weekend isn’t bad.”The season has been shaping up thus far, as the Red (3-2, 3-1 ECAC) prepares to face off against Princeton (2-4-1, 2-3-0) and Quinnipiac (7-4-2, 1-2-2) on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. The Red has dominated on the power play thus far in the season, and was dubbed the nation’s best after converting 29.4 percent of the time. With the offensive line stepping up its game, the squad has tallied 21 goals in the first five games of the season, ranking No. 18 in the USCHO poll. Cornell has been averaging 4.2 goals per game, ranking it third in the country. Leading the country among defensemen, D’Agostino boasts a 1.60 goals per game record, with freshman Brian Ferlin leading the country among rookies with an identical record.The Tigers, fresh off a 3-0 home shutout against Clarkson, are beginning to gain momentum as the season progresses. Figuring heavily into Princeton’s plan of attack is junior defenseman Michael Sdao, an Ottawa Senators draft pick who leads the team in scoring with four goals and an assist. Like Cornell, Princeton has also improved its power-play. The team is ranked fourth in the nation for its record, converting 26.9 percent of the time.As the Princeton teams makes its way to Lynah, a familiar face will be making an appearance, but on the opposite side of the rink. Scott Garrow, a former long-time Cornell assistant coach, will be making his debut against the Red after taking the position of assistant coach for the Tigers.Saturday night, the Quinnipiac Bobcats look to make up for lost time, after starting the season by winning seven out of eight games, but then going 0-2-2 in its last four contests. Junior Jeremy Langlois leads the squad 16 points, including 10 goals, six of which were coming on the power play. Twin sophomore forwards Connor and Kellen Jones will also factor into the Bobcats’ offense, as they are second and third, respectively, in scoring. Also playing the game of musical benches, former associate head coach for the Bobcats, Bob Syer, will be face his old team from atop Cornell’s bench during his inaugural year as assistant coach for the Red. While Cornell has the clear lead in the overall series against Quinnipiac, the Bobcats have always challenged the Red, as when last season they shut out  Cornell, 1-0, in Game 2 of the quarterfinal series.

Original Author: Lauren Ritter