December 4 , 2002
LeNeveu's been Big for Red

By Nate Ewell

 East Notebook

Could Cornell goaltender Dave LeNeveu have his eyes on a move to major juniors? (Photo courtesy of Cornell Sports Information)

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Dave LeNeveu is the only college player to receive an invitation to Team Canada's upcoming World Junior Championship selection camp.

But the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League would like that to change they want Cornell's star goaltender to join the major junior ranks. Tuesday the Hitmen acquired LeNeveu's WHL rights in a trade with the Vancouver Giants.

The trade came just a day after LeNeveu learned of his camp invite. Should he make the Canadian roster, there will be 18 collegiate players at the worlds. USA Hockey annouced the members of the U.S. National Junior Team earlier this week, with 17 college student-athletes slated to participate at the World Junior Championship in Nova Scotia, Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.

Cornell and LeNeveu, for their part, shrugged off the Hitmen's transaction. Head coach Mike Schafer downplayed the move's impact, but expected the Hitmen to make a pitch to his star goaltender. LeNeveu told the Canadian Press that his immediate future was in Ithaca.

"For the time being, I'm at college," he said. "I know what I'm doing right now is the best decision for my career."

By making the trade, the Hitmen clearly have hopes of convincing LeNeveu to take the major junior route. Three seasons ago Denver forward Matt Pettinger joined the Hitmen for the second half of the season following his appearance for Canada at the World Junior Championship.

But LeNeveu, by all accounts, is a conscientious student who values his education. And he understands how college hockey can help a player's development, especially for goaltenders (like Cornell's own Ken Dryden).

"Obviously we don't have a heavy a schedule as some of the CHL players do, but we do have a heavier practice schedule which allows us time to develop," said LeNeveu. "There's both positives and negatives that come out of that.

"I play with a lot older guys up to the age of 26, whereas in the CHL it's mainly guys 16 to 20. I do have experience playing against older guys and hopefully that will benefit me."

For now, the second-round draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes focuses on making Team Canada. If he does so, he'd be only the second college goaltender to make a Canadian Junior Team, following Michigan State's Norm Foster (who beat out Patrick Roy in 1985).

All LeNeveu really has to do is play in camp the way he has thus far this season. He's posted an 8-1-0 record, a 1.11 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage while playing every minute for the Big Red thus far.

Should LeNeveu play at the World Junior Championship, Schafer would choose between junior Todd Marr and freshman Louis Chabot for the four games the starter would miss. (Non-league games at Western Michigan this weekend would seem to be a perfect chance to get one or both a little work.)

Meanwhile, Schafer, the Big Red and their fans will hope that their man remains a hit in Ithaca, not Calgary.


1. Caught in a trap – Connecticut head coach Bruce Marshall had good reason to be glowing after his team's 3-1 loss to New Hampshire in Durham last Saturday. Not only did the Huskies turn in an impressive effort against one of the nation's top three teams his team may have also found an identity as it eyes the rest of the MAAC schedule.

UConn had surrendered 4.7 goals per game before their marvelous defensive performance against the Wildcats. They hung back in a 1-2-2 trap, played the body wisely and blocked shots as often as summertime visitors shoo Granite State mosquitoes. For the game, UConn blocked 27 shots; New Hampshire, by contrast, blocked three.

It was a completely different approach from the previous week's 8-0 loss to Union, as well as much of UConn's 3-8-1 campaign (2-5-1 MAAC). Marshall liked what he saw.

"Our season has been kind of up-and-down, and we're trying to define which team we're going to be," he said. "We grew up a lot tonight. The league is really where it's going to matter in the long run, and we need to make sure that we take that to the next step.

"Offensively we're going to have to be a little more creative, but we saw some positives out there. Here we are playing a team that was in the Frozen Four last year and we stayed in the game for 60 minutes. Maybe there are some plusses to our game plan tonight, and we might look at that a little bit."

Yeah, What He Said

"Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it."
– George Bernard Shaw

We often debate the merits of players leaving early to pursue pro careers, a subject Jess Myers explored in depth earlier this season.

But when it comes to leaving for four games to participate in the World Junior Championship, there's no debate at all the player's got to go.

This seems obvious to hard-core hockey fans. But fans who pledge allegiance to their schools first and hockey second probably miss the tiny type the tournament receives in U.S. newspaper coverage. They wonder why their best young players miss big games, including popular post-Christmas tournaments.

The fact is, the World Juniors are the best international tournament this side of the Olympics (making it a hockey player's equivalent to studying abroad). It is the single-biggest showcase for future NHLers (isn't college all about preparing for a career?). And players usually get one, maybe two, shots to represent their country in the tournament (unless they're, say, Scott Young or Mike York, who played three times each).

Sure, it would be great to see Jim Howard and Dave LeNeveu face off for Maine and Cornell, respectively, in the Everblades College Classic in late December.

But it will be even better if they play for the gold in Nova Scotia. Just be sure to check back here in case your local paper misses it.

The game plan worked so well that the Huskies had a 1-0 lead 37 seconds into the second period, a score that left the home crowd more befuddled than silent. Goaltender Jason Carey was in the midst of an outstanding performance in which he stopped 37 shots.

Although UNH netted three in a 9:01 span of the second period to secure the win, it was the Huskies who left the Whit with their heads held high.

2. This week's Games of the Century – New Hampshire continues its stretch of six straight non-league games this week. Good thing Maine and Boston College are poised to face off at Conte Forum in what seem like the seventh and eighth "must-see" matchups of the Hockey East season. And December has just begun.

"This should be a great series," Maine head coach Tim Whitehead told "BC will have the fan advantage which always is a big factor. We'll go into the series confident, but careful. BC may be younger up front, but there is a lot of talent there. Those Eaves brothers (Ben and Patrick) and (Ryan) Shannon and (Tony) Voce are big-play forwards."

Shannon (5-11—16), who joins Patrick Eaves on the U.S. National Junior Team, also shares the team lead in scoring with the younger Eaves. The seventh-leading scorer on last year's Eagles' team, Shannon has recorded his points somewhat quietly as the Eaves-Eaves-Voce line garners attention.

Balance like that not only between forward lines, but between offense, defense and goaltending has fueled Maine's success. Offensively, 10 players have at least eight points through 12 games, led by Martin Kariya (4-12—16).

Kariya (121 career points) needs just three points to tie his brother Paul's total from 51 career games as a Black Bear.

If BC were to sweep this weekend, Jerry York would tie Inside College Hockey's own Jeff Sauer for fifth all-time with 655 career victories.

3. For real – Massachusetts would have a 4-0-0 league record right now if the Minutemen played in the ECAC, with wins over Rensselaer, Vermont, Dartmouth and Princeton the last three coming consecutively last week.

But Don Cahoon's Hockey East team will take the 8-5-0 overall mark it has surged to with those latest wins. The eight victories match UMass's season total from each of the last two years.

The new forward line of freshman Stephen Werner, freshman Matt Anderson and sophomore Greg Maudlin combined for nine goals and 12 assists in the last three games. Maudlin recorded a hat trick in the team's impressive 7-2 win over Dartmouth, the first hat trick by a UMass player since 1996.

That line helped UMass average 6.0 goals per game in its three games last week after posting only 2.7 goals per game over its first 10 games.

4. Upstate fun? – Rochester, N.Y., is in the running to host the 2005 World Junior Championship.

The 10-team tournament would bring some fantastic hockey to Upstate New York between Dec. 26, 2004, and Jan. 5, 2005. The Rochester area would seem to have a strong shot at securing the bid, which is assured to go to a U.S. city, although others including Omaha, Neb.; Madison, Wis.; Columbus, Ohio; and Seattle reportedly submitted bids.

Three Great Weekend Getaways
120x60 - Brand Red
1. Maine at Boston College (Fri.-Sat.)
If this series isn't circled on your calendar, you might have opened the 2003 edition too early. Yeah, you couldn't wait to see each month's puppy photo, but put it back under the tree and focus on what's important now: the Eagles (6-1-0 in Hockey East) and Black Bears (4-0-0).
While You're There: Check out Cityside in Cleveland Circle. It can fit your mood, whether you're looking for a bar (downstairs) or a bite (upstairs).

2.Harvard at Yale (Sat.) – The Crimson and Elis sit atop the ECAC standings with 14 and 12 points, respectively, entering the weekend. Yale's high-flying offense – which features five players among the top eight in conference scoring – goes up against Harvard goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris.

3. Mercyhurst at Canisius (Sat.) – Both teams have eight losses overall, but hover within striking distance of the top of the MAAC standings. The Lakers look to halt a four-game losing skid.

5. Fresh face – Freshman Jeff Pietrasiak got the start in goal for New Hampshire against Connecticut, stopping 22 shots to earn his first career win. He battled a few rebounds, including the Huskies' only goal, but produced saves when needed in a game where another timely UConn goal could have led to a huge upset.

Head coach Dick Umile was pleased with Pietrasiak's performance and hopes to give him more opportunities as the season progresses. But make no mistake, with Mike Ayers posting a 1.88 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage thus far, it's his team.

Ayers who had played every minute for the Wildcats before Saturday showed why he's a team leader without even playing against UConn. At game's end, he raced to grab the puck for his backup to commemorate Pietrasiak's first career win.


Carolina Hurricanes – Recalled goaltender Jean-Marc Pelletier (Cornell) from Lowell of the AHL.

Colorado Avalanche – Assigned center Steve Moore (Harvard) to Hershey of the AHL.

Los Angeles Kings – Recalled right wing Steve Heinze (Boston College) from Manchester of the AHL.

New York Islanders – Assigned goaltender Rick DiPietro (Boston University) to Bridgeport of the AHL.

San Jose Sharks – Hired head coach Ron Wilson (Providence).


Florida Everblades (ECHL) – Acquired right wing Kevin Brown from the Augusta Lynx for left wing John Campbell (UMass Lowell).


• Providence's Peter Fregoe, UMass Lowell's Ed McGrane, Northeastern's Mike Ryan and Vermont's Jeff Miles may not be leading their teams to the top of the standings, but all three are putting up impressive goal totals. Fregoe leads Hockey East with 12, with McGrane and Ryan close behind with 11 apiece. Miles leads the ECAC with 11 goals. Ryan and McGrane have accounted for one-quarter of their team's goals, and Miles is close behind.

• Garrett Stafford has practiced with New Hampshire's forwards while academically ineligible this fall, thereby allowing the defensemen to get more work. But Dick Umile plans to use the offensively gifted Stafford on the blue line when he returns, hopefully for the Wells Fargo Cup in Denver after Christmas. “I hope it will be a big lift," Umile said of his return. "I think he can do some things with the power play. You spend a couple of years having someone run the power play and you had a learning curve and then you lose him and you’ve got to start over. It’s not automatic he’s going to make us score, but he can bring a lot to generate some offense.”

• In Stafford's absence, senior Kevin Truelson has been a great stablizing force on the Wildcat blueline. He picked up the game-winning goal against Connecticut last Saturday.

Three Stars
3. St. Lawrence-Clarkson weekends
Whether it's Providence and Northeastern visiting (last weekend), or trips to New Hampshire and UMass Lowell (this weekend), it's a treat when the North Country travel partners play outside the league.
2. ECAC home ice
Harvard, Cornell and Dartmouth all perfect at home this season.
1. Eastern D
Cornell (1.33) and Maine (1.42) are easily the top two defensive teams in the nation.

• Dartmouth is 6-0-0 at home, 0-4-0 on the road.

• Harvard won seven games in November (7-3-0) for just the second time in school history. The first? The 1988-89 NCAA Championship team.

• Eight players scored goals for Cornell last weekend as the Big Red outscored Boston University, 9-2. Cornell is now on the road for eight straight games, starting this weekend at Western Michigan. The team makes the trip on two planes to accomodate Ithaca's small airport.

• Maine has outscored opponents 17-3 in the first period this season.

• Providence ended its five-game winless streak at St. Lawrence thanks to the first two goals of the season from junior defenseman Stephen Wood.

• Brown's power play is 0-for-29 in the Bears' last four games after opening the season 8-for-16.

• All 11 MAAC teams are in action this week after only five played last weekend. They combined for an 0-7-0 record.

• Six Dartmouth players are averaging at least a point per game.

• Quinnipiac snapped its three-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 2-1 win over Bentley. The Bobcats had lost their previous two games by 2-1 scores, to Northeastern and Maine.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.

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