November 29, 2012

M. HOCKEY | Cornell Faces ECAC Rivals in Home Weekend

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The No. 12/12 Red (4-3-2, 1-3-2 ECAC Hockey) returns to Lynah Rink this weekend to finish out the fall semester with two home games against ECAC and upstate New York rivals Clarkson (2-5-5, 2-1-1) and St. Lawrence (6-4-2, 0-2-2). Cornell takes on Clarkson at 7 p.m. on Friday Nov. 30 and then St. Lawrence on Saturday at the same time.

“We’ve done the job non-conference, now obviously in-conference we have to get the job done, and all we can control right now are the two games we are looking at in front of us,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “Both opponents, Clarkson and St. Lawrence, have always played us tough. St. Lawrence especially, they are very similar to ourselves. They have had some great games out of conference but not enough in conference so it’s going to be a tough weekend … But our focus has been really zeroing in on what we want to get accomplished. And we want to play with that same pace and physicality that we played with against Michigan on Saturday.”

The Red comes off a big weekend, where it won a commanding 5-1 victory over the Wolverines at Madison Square Garden. After his 26 saves against Michigan, junior goaltender Andy Iles earned another ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week award on Tuesday Nov. 27. This is his second goalie of the week title this season. Additionally, freshman forward Teemu Tiitinen scored his first collegiate goal at Madison Square Garden.

“These games are very important — it’s back to the ECAC so we need to get back on a roll here in our own league,” he said. “But I think if we just come out and play with the same intensity that we did against Michigan we’ll do fairly well, so we just have to  come out strong.”

Although the Red boasts a 3-0 record out of league, these two games are crucial to the team’s place within ECAC Hockey, as Cornell currently sits in eighth place in the leauge.

“Our league record right now isn’t very good, so these games are huge for us,” said senior forward and tri-captain Erik Axell, who also scored his first goal of the season against Michigan. “Especially going into the Christmas break, it would be nice for us to win these two games and get back in the middle of the pack and gain some momentum.”

The match-up against the Golden Knights will feature some familiar faces, as Clarkson’s head coach Casey Jones used to be the Red’s associate head coach, until he left to go to Clarkson two years ago.

“This league is so good and we play all the teams and it’s all so close and everything like that, it’s always one of those weekends,” Axell said. “I mean, with Casey Jones, their coach for two years and then he comes back here, he’s played here, he knows our team very well and everything like that so it’s going to be a really tough match-up and a really tough game … It’s going to be another tough test for us this weekend, but we’re excited for it and we are working hard. We are ready for the weekend.”

This weekend will prove to be another charitable one for the Red, as the team is supporting two different charities this weekend. On Friday night is the annual Teddy Bear Toss. Bears tossed onto the ice will go to the Cops, Kids and Toys Foundation, and the proceeds from selling the bears will go to the Franziska Racker Centers and to the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes.

On Saturday night, Cornell will host its annual Give the Gift of Family Reading book drive. Fans can participate by bringing books to the game to donate to the cause. The team is working with the Family Reading Partnership to help low-income families have these books as gifts to give to their children over the holidays.

Original Author: Dani Abada