ITHACA--Lynah Rink can be downright cruel sometimes. Especially for a visiting goalie.
Lynah's lewd, rude, and crude bunch of students will do anything to rattle an opposing netminder. Chant the goalie's name, label him a sieve (along with other spacious structures) and throw objects that would repulse many a nun.
It's as if these students were saying, "Come on, we are showing you our best. Now let's see yours'. See if you can knock us down."
Last night here at Lynah Rink the target these Cornellians went for was Crimson goalie John Devin, who was playing in his first game this year since he injured his knee against the U.S. Olympians.
Three periods and 20 saves later, Devin responded to Lynah's challenge and shot it down with authority. As if he were to say, "Is that the best you can offer?"
"I always kind of enjoyed playing on the road," Devin said. "I never really had problems with the crowd. Sometimes it's kind of funny."
Despite giving up a goal in the opening period, when Harvard was down two men, Devin shut down the Cornell offense to help seal the Harvard victory. He also shut up the entire Big Red student section.
"I love the way he stood up and challenged everyone," Harvard Coach Bill Cleary said.
At one point in the second period, Cornell's Tom Genz fired a shot from the blue line which Devin nonchalantly blocked. It was the kind of save that told the crowd, "Are you sure that's the best you can offer?"
The senior's best weapons against the Lynah lynch mob were his crucial saves. Some he dived on. Others he kicked out to stop several Cornell attacks. By the third period, the jeers ceased. So did the chants. And no one dared to throw another object at Devin. He blocked everything that came his way.
"Dev's got a lot of poise," Clearly said. "I'm pleased for him, for the team, and for the confidence of the team. He's a competitor."
So the Crimson's starting goalie has returned to a Harvard team that was 5-0 without him and in first place in the ECAC. With him, Harvard's hold on first place hasn't weakened. In fact, his presence will only make the Crimson stronger.
But of all the members of the team who welcomed Devin's return, it was Cleary who expressed the greatest sentiment.
After the game, Cleary said, "I told him, It's nice to have you back."