Games during the intersession typically spell disaster for attendance and home-ice advantage. Such a series in the wake of a humbling, if not humiliating, shutout to Ohio State further complicates the situation. Cornell Athletics has done its part. Tickets to the January 8 and 9 games are now on sale for $10.00. This value puts those tickets at less than half the price of all other contests at Lynah Rink. Considering this figure's reasonability, the contributors of Where Angels Fear to Tread provide regional fans, alumni, and students with 10 reasons why this series is worth the trek to Cornell University's haven.
10. 34 days have passed since carnelian and white danced across the ice of Lynah Rink.
9. Mark Dennehy is one of college hockey's most honest and entertaining coaches.
The word, ‘decommit’ doesn’t exist. It’s an oxymoron. If you’re committed to something you see it through. If you don’t see it through then you were never really committed. On the whole, I think across America, and really North America, a problem we’re having as a society is the deterioration of your word. Really, that’s all you have.
8. Clash of two disgruntled teams immediately becomes must-see fodder.
Merrimack is winless in its last three outings. One win and three consecutive losses mark time for the hockey team from Merrimack College since it returned to action after a nearly three-week break. Merrimack did not return with the winning pace that it expected. The Warriors have earned 75% of its first-semester losses in just four outings. They are hungry to return to their winning ways.
The hockey teams of Cornell and Merrimack are known for their physical styles. The bruised ego of Cornell and the disappointed start for Merrimack sets up quite the volatile combination for a two-game series that undoubtedly will begin to grate on its participants. With two hard-hitting times, as they times gets tough, the hitting only grows harder.
7. Merrimack's faltering penalty kill presents a chance for Cornell to regain special-teams confidence.
6. Merrimack College is among élite of Hockey East.
The answer simply is yes. Forgotten in all the ruckus that has been Eastern hockey over the last five seasons, is the fact that the Warriors charged triumphantly to the Hockey East tournament's championship game in 2011. That season was the last time that Cornell played for its prized Whitelaw Cup. Since the 2010-11 season, the hockey teams of Maine, Notre Dame, and Vermont have appeared in the same number of championship weekends as the team of Merrimack. Would either the Red or the Lynah Faithful look over those programs if they were on the docket for this coming weekend? Merrimack should be treated no differently. If Providence were braving Lynah Rink, would it be overlooked? The Friars have not equaled Merrimack's appearance in Hockey East's title game in the last five seasons. Providence has not kept that date in 14 years.
Cornell respects championships. Cornell respects playoff runs. Merrimack produced one of the best of the latter in the last few seasons. That season, the Warriors earned a second-seed bid to the NCAA tournament, the same as what Cornell would earn if the Red did not have to play out the remainder of the regular season and Eastern playoffs.
5. Merrimack could have been Union.
4. Harvard's Jimmy Vesey needs a good weep.
It always comes down to Cornell and Harvard. Well, in this case, Cornell and Harvard's daddy...err, Jimmy Vesey's father.
Jim Vesey, the father of the current Harvard senior, was a player on the first hockey team from Merrimack College to make the NCAA tournament at the Division I level. The Warriors with the elder Vesey on board won a two-game total-goals series against Northeastern on the road. Jim Vesey's team fell to the eventual national champion with getting outscored two to one in a national quarterfinal series against Lake Superior State. This season and its associated NCAA-tournament run (the first of two bids that the Warriors have earned) are regarded as important benchmarks in the history of Merrimack hockey.
Jimmy Vesey, the legacy to Merrimack College, not his father who helped ensure the relevance of Merrimack hockey, may be a bit perturbed if the Crimson's archnemesis wrests victories from his father's alma mater at Lynah Rink. The Cornell-Harvard rivalry is a deep one. One can assume the younger Vesey would react in such a manner. Hey, he will still have that Whitelaw Cup and, of course, grade inflation to aid his sleeping easily at night as his head hits a pillow in Manhattan.
3. Any gain of scoring esteem after the Buckeyes' shutout will be earned, not given.
2. Warriors have battled (and defeated) quality opponents.
The Warriors defeated on the road a Massachusetts team that took publicly touted Yale to overtime. St. Lawrence met greater defeat at the hands of the Warriors than it did at those of the carnelian and white. The Warriors twice forced Lowell to settle for a tie. Merrimack did what Cornell could not in defeating Boston University. Merrimack has quality wins that Cornell does not. Those wins that the two program share, arguably Merrimack has more quality in their execution.
1. The Red's second-semester deficit of respect for opponents will be tested.
Merrimack, like Ohio State, does not have the banners that Cornell does. Neither has the history of Cornell hockey. Both do have determination. Any lack of respect for the Warriors immediately will lead to Buckeye-like embarrassment. For the idle pairwise gazers, Cornell's rating is not static. The system is dynamic and volatile. Cornell is not guaranteed a bid to the NCAA tournament on the back of its solid first-semester play. One of four teams with the Red's current rating fail to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. If the carnelian and white fail to respect the Warriors like Coach Schafer's charges did the Buckeyes, it may be a few weeks off, but this team's season may be found seasonally appropriately roasting on an open fire.