Hockey hosts two weekend games
After two long, tough road trips, the men's hockey team is hoping the familiarity and comfort of playing at home this weekend will help the quest for the Big Green's first victory of the season.
The Big Green take on the Colgate Red Raiders tonight at Thompson Arena at 7:30 p.m. and face the Cornell Big Red tomorrow night at Thompson.
The squad is still winless, following two defeats last weekend that dropped the team to an 0-3-1 overall record with an 0-2 ECAC mark, good for last place in the conference.
Still, Coach Roger Demment said no one on the team is worried. "It will be a tough weekend [against Colgate and Cornell], but no one's pushing any panic buttons," he said.
The team has allowed 22 goals in its first four games, or an average of more than five goals a game, but Demment said the defensive play of the Big Green has been steadily improving over the season.
"Last weekend, people were scoring goals off odd-man rushes and powerplays and not by outworking us in the defensive zone," Demment said. The new defensive system the Big Green is using this season has been working fairly well, Demment said.
"We've got to work on our neutral zone play," Demment said, "and we've been focusing on that in practice all week."
Demment said the choice for the starter in goal is still a virtual toss-up between Scott Baker '97 and Ben Heller '97.
Demment said the forward lines would remain basically intact from last week, and he especially praised the freshman fourth line, centered by Curtis Wilgosh '99, with Matt Giedt '99 and Ryan Chaytors '99 on the wings.
The first line of Jon Sturgis '98 centering Bill Kelleher '96 and Brent Retter '97 will also remain intact, and Dan Bloom '96 will return to his normal line with Brian Fleming '98 and Jeremiah Buckley '98 after being called into emergency defensive duty last week.
Bloom was forced to play defense after Scott Dolesh '96 pulled a muscle below his rib cage last Friday night and did not return.
Dolesh may not play this weekend, according to Demment.
The rest of the defense is also undecided, Demment said, although presumably captain Dax Burkhart '96 will play, and standout freshman Dave Risk '99 has also played very well thus far this year.
The Colgate Red Raiders were picked to finish either first or second in the ECAC in virtually every preseason poll, and they have the talent to back up those high expectations.
Skillful forwards like Mike Harder and Chris DeProfio lead the offense for Colgate, who is coming off back-to-back ties against Brown and Harvard last weekend.
The goaltending chores for the Red Raiders are shared by senior Matt Weder and super-sophomore Dan Brenzavich.
Cornell is sky-high coming off their first regular-season home victory over Harvard since 1985.
The Big Red offense is led by sophomore Ryan Smart and Junior Vince Auger. In addition, senior Brad Chartrand exploded last weekend, notching a hat trick against Harvard.
Senior Eddy Skazyk has been superb in goal for the Big Red thus far this season, though sophomore Jason Elliott also saw lots of playing time last year and could be called on if necessary.