It was an underwhelming weekend at Lynah Rink, to say the least.
Coming off the season the team had, it was somewhat of a letdown for Cornell men’s hockey to get swept at home by unranked Michigan State, predicted to finish last in the Big Ten. To be fair, the Spartans are by no means a bad hockey team. However, it seems everyone expected a bit more from the Red in its opening weekend at home.
If you want to start panicking, give it another week or two. It’s early, and it’s only two games. Cornell will have its chance to bounce back against familiar foes Yale and Brown this weekend at home.
The team needs to redeem itself, sure, but so do the fans — the Lynah Faithful.
It was a pretty decent crowd on opening night Friday. But to no surprise, as the game began to slip away from Cornell, the fans slipped out the doors as well. It’s disappointing, but certainly not unreasonable.
The focus here is more on Saturday night’s contest, following the 5-2 blowout on Friday evening. According to Cornell Athletics, the attendance numbers were similar on both Friday and Saturday. But from the perspective of section B, that’s hard to believe.
Large chunks of Section B, the one section that is expected to be packed for every home game, had scores of empty seats. The absence was nonetheless also noticeable during certains chants and cheers.
Perhaps the low attendance was due to Halloween weekend festivities? Not unless you’re partying at 7 p.m.
Or maybe the low attendance was due to the Red’s lackluster performance on Friday. But that’s also unlikely; it’s not the first bad loss Cornell’s taken at home.
The fact a school of 14,907 undergraduates cannot fill the approximately 600 seats in sections A and B is pretty absurd, considering it is the most “popular” sport at the university. Maybe it’s the case that sports aren’t cool anymore and our section of the paper is passé — a discussion for another time, perhaps.
But clearly there’s one issue: the student sections weren’t sold out; or rather the students didn’t show. A second issue lies with the students who did show up. In other words, the energy was not up to par.
The fans were great when Cornell took an initial lead, but, on the aggregate, something was just missing. Again, perhaps the lack of spirit was because of the frustrating third period Friday night. However, a more likely explanation has to do with the pep band.
Most sportswriters are not technically knowledgeable about music (besides one of our previous hockey columnists, Kevin Linsey ’18). Therefore, it takes a lot for someone in such a position to actually comment on the pep band. As a disclaimer, the pep band is usually awesome and is an integral part of what makes the Lynah Faithful what it is.
But the band was missing a few too many musicians on Saturday because something was off. In turn, the fans were off at times, too.
The alma mater was almost unrecognizable because of missing players, to name one of several mishaps. But the worst was certainly the “tubas.”
Every game, three tubas play in the aisle behind the opponent’s bench in the 3rd period. And sometimes, like on Friday, there’s only one tuba. But still, at least it’s a tuba.
With a thin pep band this evening, this is tonight’s “tuba” pic.twitter.com/kmCrGzhDEX
— Dylan McDevitt (@dcmcdevitt_) October 28, 2018
However, on Saturday, the fans didn’t even get a tuba, but instead got what looked like a bass saxophone. Needless to say, the fans were confused, and it was clear something was wrong with the band. Give some credit to that saxophonist by the way, he actually did a pretty bang up job, all things considered.
That single, lonely saxophonist embodied the atmosphere of the game on Saturday. Everything was not as it supposed to be. It was not the Lynah Faithful that is renowned, and feared, throughout college hockey.
Hopefully the fans return in greater numbers, with greater energy this weekend as Cornell opens up conference play — when it really starts to matter.