Today’s weekly hockey notebook in the Herald features a bunch of random items, but at the top is the daunting task the Sioux have ahead this weekend: A struggling offense trying to generate something against the country’s best defense.
Despite being one of the traditional powers in the ECAC, Cornell is relatively unknown to many around here. The Big Red have never played in Grand Forks and the teams have only met four times total.
The No. 1 thing that stands out about Cornell is its history of outstanding goaltenders. The Big Red have sent eight goalies to the NHL. I would imagine that no other college program can claim that many NHL goalies.
The list goes on forever.
At the top, you’ve got Ken Dryden. He was a three-time All-American with an amazing career record of 76-4-1. He led Cornell to the only undefeated season in college hockey history, the 1969-70 squad that went 29-0. In the NHL, he wasn’t bad either. Imagine this: Nine years in the league, five Vezina Trophies, one Calder Trophy, one Conn Smythe and six Stanley Cups. Oh yeah, he also was the guy in the booth next to Al Michaels calling the 1980 Miracle on Ice game.
From there, we can go to 1982 first-team All-American Brian Hayward. He spent 11 seasons in the NHL, winning three William Jennings Trophies for the best goals-against average in the league. He played for Winnipeg, Montreal, Minnesota and San Jose in the 1980s and early 1990s.
You probably see Darren Eliot (first-team All-American 1983) on TV more now than when he was playing. the VERSUS commentator did play five years in the NHL with Los Angeles, Detroit and Buffalo, and he was Canada’s Olympic goalie in 1984.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the Big Red also sent goalies Corrie D’Alessio, Doug Dadswell (first-team All-American in 1986) and Parris Duffus (first-team All-American in 1992) to the NHL.
In recent years, the Big Red haven’t slowed down.
Matt Underhill was a first-team All-American and the ECAC goalie of the year in 2002. He’s played in the NHL.
The following year, David LeNeveu was a first-team All-American, the ECAC goalie of the year and Cornell’s first Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalist. He’s since played in the NHL.
And in 2005, David McKee was a first-team All-American, ECAC goalie of the year and Cornell’s second Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalist.
So is it really a surprise that this year’s goalie, junior Ben Scrivens, leads the country in goals-against average and save percentage right now?
At first, you have to think that part of their success comes from a tight defensive system style of play. You know, it’s like Texas Tech quarterbacks. No matter who they put back there throws for a million yards a season. But one big difference is that, unlike Texas Tech quarterbacks, these guys aren’t fizzling out at the next level.
So what does this mean for UND?
Coach Dave Hakstol says that in watching tape of Cornell, the Big Red rarely give up odd-man rushes. It’s usually the opposite. That says to me, the Sioux need to score some ugly goals this weekend.
A few out-takes from interviews this week:
Brad Miller said that the team had a couple of intense practices to start the week.
Ryan Duncan put the onus on himself to get the offense going. He pointed out the team’s struggles on offense and said that it starts with him. Duncan said he needs to get going and let it trickle down throughout the rest of the team.
I got an e-mail yesterday from UND saying that there are still tickets available for the Cornell series. I believe every game has been sold out so far this season.
We are two months into the season, yet the the Sioux have only played four times at home. I’m sure the players are enjoying a Thursday in Grand Forks, rather than in airports.
Here is a short Q&A with Brett Hextall. It seems that he’s already starting to get a reputation in the league. I’m sure he will be will aquainted with the officials by the time he’s done here.
Around the league…
It has been widely reported that Michigan Tech senior forward Malcolm Gwilliam is done for the year with health issues. He may apply for one more year of eligibility.
The AHL site has a story about Manitoba Moose defenseman Trevor Ludwig, the son of former Sioux standout defenseman Craig Ludwig.
Undefeated Air Force will get a big test this weekend facing Denver and Colorado College. The Gazette has a story about the budding rivalry between the two teams in the Springs. The Denver Post has a story about how Air Force is doing it with older players. Falcons coach Frank Serratore has intersting comments about how none of his guys are going to go to the NHL, they are going to serve a five-year commitment to the military after they are done playing. He also says all his players must play two years of juniors before arriving in Springs.
Lastly, I hope you were all dominant at the dinner table yesterday.