Any person.
Any study.
Any Cornelliana.

An alumni
blog about Ezra's
University. (more)


Suggestions? Tips?




[+] Cornell News

[+] Higher Ed News

[+] Campus Pubs

[+] Alumni Interest

[+] Diversions

[+] Blogs

[+] Sports

[+] Other Places


[+] By Month

[+] By Author

Despite MSG Loss, Big Potential for Big Red Hockey

Cornell fans are still pondering the what-ifs from Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss at Madison Square Garden. It was tough to score three times and have only one goal count. One possible goal was disallowed because the net came off its moorings just a second earlier. The other apparent goal, coming with the game tied 1-1 with 4 minutes remaining, did not count because the play was whistled dead while the puck was in the air. Meanwhile, with B.U. scoring on a lengthy 5x3 opportunity, it was tough to say that the game was decided by the players on the ice and not the officials.

Two years ago at MSG, I broke my watch in a moment of frustration after I slammed my hand on the seat in front of me. This year, as a more mature alumnus, I was a little better at controlling my behavior.

In fact, I was encouraged by what I saw. After seeing 82 of 85 games during my last couple of years on the hill, I've seen three over the last two seasons. And this year's team is strikingly different from those of the last few years.

First, we have an incredible freshman class. Brian Ferlin and Joel Lowry have serious offensive talent and will only get better throughout the season, as will Joakim Ryan, a skilled puckhandling defenseman.

Sophomore goaltender (and Ithaca native) Andy Iles, despite his struggles over the first few games, has become a reliable presence in net. It seems that Iles will continue the fine tradition of Cornell goalies before him who positioned their teams for deep postseason runs: David Leneveu, David McKee, Ben Scrivens.

Most incredibly, this Cornell team looks like they want to score goals, and Coach Schafer is letting them. In previous years, we have tended to enter the offensive zone in one of two ways. Our forwards have gone up the boards, taking hits, and trying to get the puck deep. Or, we have opted for dump-and-chase, relying on our physical play to win battles along the corners. This year, however, Cornell skaters are looking to make ambitious passes to get the puck through the neutral zone. They are skating through defenders stacked along the blue line and getting good looks at the net from decent angles. Cornell is a faster team, and it was exciting to watch on Saturday. In fact, one alumna who has seen several games this season told me that the team has looked even faster in other games.

In previous years, Cornell's speedier players seemed out of place in the plodding Big Red Machine. Small, fast-skating and offensive-minded Tony Romano lasted one year. Riley Nash lasted three, and Schafer struggled to put him on a line with people who could keep up with his style of play.

This year, however, the team seems more cohesive. Ryan can move the puck up the ice and feed to other quick forwards. I am impressed with how much juniors John Esposito and Erik Axell have improved, and they fit into the new system as well.

As others have noted in online discussions, Cornell's defense comes together by the end of each season. Assuming that happens, and the offense continues to produce, and the freshmen continue to get better, there is reason to believe the team can win the ECAC championship this spring. After all, they have already beaten Yale.

I look forward to seeing the Big Red again down in Florida, where they will have the opportunity to pick up significant wins against non-conference competition.

Elie Bilmes | Posted on November 30, 2011 (#)

blog comments powered by Disqus

Other Recent Posts

-- WSJ: Cornell Wins NYC Tech Campus Bid (EBilmes)

-- Barrier Update: City Approves Nets (DJost)

-- Big Red Cymbal Guy (Nagowski)

-- New York Times Survey on Campus Recruiting is Flawed (KScott)

-- Barrier Update: Legal precedent suggests City of Ithaca will not be held liable for gorge suicide (DJost)

-- Despite MSG Loss, Big Potential for Big Red Hockey (EBilmes)

-- City Council Will Vote on Suicide Nets (DJost)

-- An Encounter on the Upper East Side (Nagowski)

-- Showing Off Your School Spirit (Nagowski)

-- Chipotle Ithaca? (KScott)

-- Cornell at the ING NYC Marathon (KScott)

-- Crossing Over a Fine Line: Commercial Activity on Campus (KScott)

-- Milstein's Downfall (Nagowski)

-- Can any Cornell-associated organization really be independent of the University? (Nagowski)

-- Slope Media Revisited (EBilmes)

-- Slope Media Group Approved for Byline Funding (KScott)

-- Occupy AEM? (KScott)

-- New campus pub to be good for both Greeks and non-Greeks (Nagowski)

-- Gagging the Election (Nagowski)

-- The Changing Structure of Rush Week (Nagowski)

-- Ivy League Humility in the Midwest (EBilmes)

-- Of Median Grades and Economics Minors (Nagowski)

-- Homecoming Recap (Nagowski)

-- My Cornell Bookshelf (Nagowski)

-- The Sun's Opinion Section Has Suddenly Gotten Good (Nagowski)

-- Remembering the 11th (Nagowski)

-- Cornellian Tapped as Top Economic Advisor (Nagowski)

-- Cutting Pledging, and the Good Which Comes With It (EBilmes)

-- Why Cornell Should Not Close Fall Creek Gorge (Nagowski)

-- Welcome to the Class of 2015 (Nagowski)