Ohio State comes into this game with alot to prove against a formidable opponent in Cornell.
Ohio State is coming off a thrashing of Towson (16 - 6) and is on a seven game streak with 10+ goals. OSU is scoring and look in sync on all sides of the field
Cornell is entering this game after a similar thrashing of Maryland (16 - 8). Similarly, Cornell is looking good, but
Lets cut right to the chase on this game. It will come down to two things only.
Can OSU contain Rob Pannell, and will Fiore bring his “A” game?
In Cornell’s losses to Syracuse and Princeton, Pannell was held to 2 or less goals. More importantly in those 2 losses, Fiore gave up 27 goals and made 13 saves (Save percentage 32.5%).
Pannell is a Tewaaraton finalist, one of the most prolific offensive players in Ivy and NCAA history, and one of the most important pieces to this Cornell team. How will OSU stop him?
No one has really been able to figure it out because when he doesn’t score goals, he is getting assists. You can’t stop Pannell…just try to contain/slow him down.
His passing and vision is superb and it shows as he has 47 assists on the year. While he has put up 40 goals, his actual shooting percent is lowly 26%. If I had to plan against him, I would try to lock him out and play 5 on 5. Lock him off, try and get him frustrated and make some bad decisions… of which he hasn’t all year, but there has to be a first.
Since there really is no stopping Pannell, the only other option for OSU is to just score more goals. While not as inconsistent as Duke’s Wigirizer, Fiore has OK games, and then he has games that are simply wretched. Look at the 2 losses. Don’ get me wrong, Fiore is a good goalie, just when he is off…its real bad.
While I think OSU will at least be able to slow down Pannell, at this point Fiore will be bringing his A game, and Cornell should be able to get by OSU by a couple.