After suffering a 1-0 loss in the opener of a physical, hard-fought three-game series with Rensselaer, the men’s hockey team stormed back to win the final two games, 4-0 and 4-3. With the series win, Cornell advanced to the semifinals of the ECAC Hockey tournament. Senior Evan Barlow made his last weekend at Lynah Rink a memorable one with four goals in the series. Sophomore forward Riley Nash added one goal and three assists on the weekend.
Senior Evan Barlow ensured a memorable night on his last game at Lynah Rink, scoring two goals for the second night in a row to lead the men’s hockey team over Rensselaer, 4-3, and into the semifinals of the ECAC Hockey tournament. Cornell capitalized on 1-of-2 power-play attempts against a more-disciplined RPI squad that gave the Red 17 man-up opportunities on Saturday night. RPI couldn’t cash in on any of its three power plays, making the Engineers 0-for-11 during the three-game series. Freshman Riley Nash added three assists in the win and senior Michael Kennedy and freshman Keir Ross both added a goal. Junior goalie Ben Scrivens notched 31 saves.
Cornell outshot Rensselaer 32-14 but the Engineers managed to sneak one past goalie Ben Scrivens and the visitors prevailed, 1-0. The goal was scored by RPI rookie Patrick Cullen with 2:46 remaining in the game. The Red skated well and saw lots of chances in its first game action in two weeks, but ultimately couldn’t put the puck in the net.
[img_assist|nid=36066|title=Incoming|desc=Dan Nicholls rushes the net in one of the Red’s many missed chances on offense.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The men’s hockey team came up big in its must-win Game 2 of the series, and took advantage of 19 Rensselaer penalties to top the Engineers, 4-0. Cornell outshot RPI, 56-9, and controlled play for the majority of the night. Rensselaer players spent a total of 41 minutes in the penalty box a night after Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86 lashed out at officiating in the Red’s Game 1 loss. Schafer was suspended for Saturday’s game in response to his comments. Senior Evan Barlow scored two goals in the win.
[img_assist|nid=36069|title=Onslaught|desc=Forward Colin Greening and the Red offense took 56 shots on Saturday night.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
For the first time since the ECAC Hockey playoffs expanded to a 12-team format in 2003, the two lowest-seeded teams, No. 11 Rensselaer and No. 12 Brown, have advanced to the quarterfinals. As a result, second-seeded Cornell will host Rensselaer in a best-of-three series getting underway tonight at 7 p.m. The Red is anxious to return to the ice after a two-week hiatus in which many players utilized their bye week to recuperate.
On Friday night, the Red came flying out of the gates with three even-strength first period goals that immediately established the tone of the game. Junior forward Blake Gallagher added to the Cornell lead with a power-play goal in the second frame, and junior goaltender Ben Scrivens made 24 saves on 25 shots to seal the 4-1 victory over the Engineers and snap the Red’s three-game losing streak.
Senior co-captain Mike Kennedy, who returned to action after missing four games with injury, was very happy with the Red’s well-rounded offensive attack and thought the team did a great job of creating quality scoring opportunities throughout the night.
Heading into its final two home games of the 2008-09 regular season, the men’s hockey team has lost three contests in a row to ECAC Hockey foes, its longest losing streak in a year. Also, the lauded Red defense gave up nine goals in two games last weekend. But the way the team is talking, one probably could not guess that it is seemingly in the middle of a late-season collapse.
After successfully securing a position in the ECAC playoffs, the Red (11-11-5, 7-8-5 ECAC) hits the road for its last games of the regular season, competing against RPI today before traveling to Union tomorrow.
With Rensselaer (14-13-4, 9-8-3 ECAC) just two points ahead of Cornell in the ECAC standings, the Red is hoping to demonstrate its powerful offensive talent in order to halt the Engineers. RPI’s lead scorers are junior forward Whitney Naslund and freshman forward Alisa Harrison, who are tied at 26 points apiece.
In comparison, sophomore forward Rebecca Johnston leads Cornell with 40 points, consisting of 22 goals and 18 assists. Additionally, freshman forward Catherine White is not too far behind with 38 points from 15 goals and 23 assists.
It’s time for the men’s hockey team to get down to business; the Red will end the non-conference part of its season and face off against Union tonight in Schenectady.
It will finish up the weekend against another central New York team, Rensselaer.
Cornell (11-1-3, 6-0-2 ECAC Hockey) has not lost in eight games; the Red went 7-0-1 during that time span. The last time the team lost was on November 11 at the University of North Dakota.
Cornell is ranked second in the ECAC Hockey League behind Princeton. Union (11-8-1, 4-4-0) is seventh and Rensselaer (4-15-2,3-5-1), is eighth. Union evened its conference record last weekend with impressive wins over Princeton and Quinnipiac.