With a legion of enthusiastic Big Red hockey fans showing their support, the Cornell men's hockey team skated to an easy victory over the University of Michigan Wolverines at "The Frozen Apple" at Madison Square Garden Nov. 24.
The Big Red dominated the game, a rematch of its 3-2 win over Michigan at the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal game in March. Following a power-play goal by sophomore forward Joel Lowry at 15:37 in the first period, the Big Red went on to score two goals in the second period and two in the third period, sealing a 5-1 victory over the Wolverines.
Cornell didn't just dominate on the ice. Drawing on Cornell's strong alumni base in the New York City area, Big Red fans filled many of Madison Square Garden's 18,200 seats, making the sold-out arena feel -- and look -- a lot like Lynah.
"Wherever Cornell plays, there's such an incredible outpouring of fans," said Bill Howard '74. "It really does feel like we're playing from Lynah Rink away from home."
Jon Weinberg '13 and Michael Mallon '14 exemplified the passion of the Lynah Faithful, leading the crowd in a spirited "Hey Michigan" cheer late in the third period. "Seeing the Garden bleed red, it's electric," Weinberg said. "It's really a testament to Cornell's strong base in New York. The Lynah Faithful are everywhere. Even a big school like Michigan, they can't outdo us. We've got spirit like no other. When we play like this, we can do anything. It's phenomenal to see the team play like this."
Cornell hockey sprit was evident long before the game began. By late afternoon, Cornell alumni were gathering at such nearby watering holes as the Local Café and Cocktails, the Blarney Stone and Mustang Harry's to rev up and reconnect.
The Local Café and Cocktails, host to the Classes of 1971 to 1979, was standing room only. "It's a little crowded," said event organizer Deb Gellman '75, of the patio packed with nearly 200 alumni. "It brings backs memories of fraternity parties, the Chapter House, The Nines, Collegetown, being at a lacrosse game, being at a football game, being at a hockey game, sleeping over to get hockey tickets."
While some alumni attended to reconnect with old friends, for others, Cornell hockey games at Madison Square Garden are becoming a family institution.
"I love this new tradition. It doesn't matter who you're playing. It's just so fun," said Kelly McCune '08, whose family drove from Ithaca for the game. "Hockey is the epitome of the spirit of Cornell. Win it or lose it, you always have a good time."
For Lisa Lofgren, an Ithaca resident attending the game with her family, seeing the team in Madison Square Garden held special significance. "I used to babysit Andy Iles," Lofgren said of Cornell's junior goaltender. "I knew he was going to go all the way. That's how intense he was, how dedicated. He knew what he had to do to become what he is today since he was little."
Claire Lambrecht '06 is a freelance writer in New York City.