Game Notes: Cornell Tunes Up With Exhibitions This Weekend

Game Notes:  Cornell Tunes Up With Exhibitions This Weekend

ITHACA, N.Y. — While the men's hockey team's season doesn't officially begin for another couple of weeks, the Big Red will play a pair of exhibition games this weekend against Canadian universities. Guelph visits for the opener at 7 p.m. Saturday, then a contest against Ottawa follows at 5 p.m. Sunday. Both games will be streamed on Ivy League Network. Jason Weinstein (play-by-play) and Tony Eisenhut '88 (color commentary) will have the call, which can also be heard in the Ithaca area on WHCU-AM (870 AM, 95.9 FM) and around the world via the station's website. Their call can also be accessed here.

PLACE: Lynah Rink  •  Ithaca, N.Y.
TV: None
RADIO: WHCU (870 AM, 95.9 FM)
VIDEO: Ivy League Network

Cornell game notes (PDF)
Guelph team page
Ottawa team page

Big Red Rewind:
•  Cornell returned to the national stage last year by earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, where its season ended with a 21-9-5 record. The Big Red advanced all the way to the ECAC Hockey championship game after finishing third in the league's regular-season standings.
•  Cornell was particularly hot down the stretch, where it went unbeaten in its final nine regular-season games.

On Offense:
•  Junior co-captain and All-Ivy League selection Mitch Vanderlaan returns after leading the team in goals (15) and points (28) last year. His 47 career points are the most for a Cornellian after his first two seasons since current Boston Bruins forward Riley Nash in 2009.
•  Senior Trevor Yates scored eight of his 12 goals last year on the power play, and junior Anthony Angello tied Yates for second-most goals on the team after scoring seven times in the season's final 14 games.
•  Senior co-captain Alex Rauter returns to full-time duty at forward after filling in on the blue line late last season. He broke out for 17 points last year after posting just six in his first two seasons with the Big Red.
•  Junior Beau Starrett played top-six minutes during the second half of last season and posted 14 points on four goals and 10 assists. Sophomore Jeff Malott led the team's newcomers with six goals.
•  Five of Cornell's six NHL draft picks are forwards.

On Defense:
•  Three of the team's top four blueliners return from a team that ranked 10th in the nation defensively last year, despite being ravaged by injuries.
•  Junior Alec McCrea led the team's defensemen with a plus-11 rating last year, despite frequently matching up against the opposition's top forwards.
•  Sophomore Yanni Kaldis was selected to the All-Ivy first team and ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team last year. His 14 points in league play were the most for a Cornell freshman blueliner in 20 years.
•  Senior Ryan Bliss should return after missing all of last year due to injury.
•  Three freshmen join the defensive corps, including Edmonton Oilers draft pick Matt Cairns.

In Goal:
•  Senior Hayden Stewart is the lone incumbent in the crease, having posted a 2.27 goals against average and .918 save percentage with two shutouts in eight starts and 15 career appearances.
•  Freshmen Matthew Galajda and Austin McGrath join the squad via Canadian Junior A leagues. Galajda is a former BCHL All-Star, and McGrath was a
finalist for AJHL Rookie of the Year.

Exhibitions In Name Only:
•  Cornell is 24-1-3 in exhibitions since 2000, including victories against UOIT (3-1) and Brock (8-1) last season.
•  The one loss since 2000 came against the U.S. National Team Development Program's Under-18 team, when future Cornellian Andy Iles '14 made 39 saves to backstop the visitors to a 3-2 victory on Oct. 24, 2009.
•  The average margin of victory for Cornell's exhibition wins since 2000 is 4.4 goals.

Turning The Trick:
•  After having no hat tricks since 2011, the Big Red had two last year. Mitch Vanderlaan's hat trick Nov. 12 at Yale earned him ECAC Hockey Player of the Week on Nov. 15. He potted a couple more goals Nov. 19 against Princeton to become the first player from Cornell with seven goals in the first seven games of the season since Blake Gallagher did so in 2009-10.
•  Jeff Malott then scored his first three collegiate goals in a span of 8 minutes, 44 seconds during the first period to power the Big Red past Princeton on Jan. 13. He was subsequently named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week after becoming the first Cornell freshman with a hat trick since current NHLer Matt Moulson on Feb. 7, 2003.

Feel The Draft?:
•  Cornell has six players on the roster who have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft, including four from 2014. Junior forward Beau Starrett (Chicago Blackhawks) was selected earliest in that group, having been taken in the third round with the 88th overall pick.
•  Classmate Anthony Angello, also a forward, was selected in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Junior forwards Jared Fiegl (Arizona Coyotes) and Dwyer Tschantz (St. Louis Blues) were then picked in the seventh round.
•  Two newcomers are also NHL draft picks — forward Morgan Barron (N.Y. Rangers in 2017) and defenseman Matt Cairns (Edmonton Oilers in 2016).

What, Me Worry?:
•  Eight of Cornell's 21 victories last season came in games in which the Big Red surrendered the first goal, with the team maintaining a winning record even when it conceded first.
•  The Big Red's resilience from an early deficit has become somewhat of a trend, with the team sporting a very respectable 21-20-8 record when yielding the game's first strike over the last two years. That's a stark turnaround from the team's 14-34-5 record when yielding the game's first goal from the previous three seasons (2012-15).

First Ivy League Coach to 400:
•  Already the winningest coach in program history and in Ivy League history, Mike Schafereclipsed another milestone in his career with his 400th victory last January.
•  Schafer ranks 10th in victories among active Division I coaches and is Cornell's fifth-winningest coach across all sports — second among current coaches, behind just Dave Eldredge (men's and women's polo).

About Guelph:
•  The Gryphons opened their Ontario University Athletics season Wednesday with a 3-2 victory over Brock. Nick Boyer scored the winning goal with 6:41 left.
•  Andrew Masters made 35 saves to earn the victory. He was on Miami's roster last season, but did not appear in any games before transferring to Guelph.
•  The Gryphons tied Clarkson, 3-3, in a Sept. 30 exhibition in Potsdam. Guelph scored all of its goals in the second period — the last coming from defenseman Patrick Kudla, an Arizona Coyotes draft pick.
•  Guelph was 15-13 last year, when Seth Swenson led the team with 32 points on 12 goals and 20 assists in 28 games.

About Ottawa:
•  The Gee-Gees play their OUA regular-season opener Thursday at Carleton before Saturday's home opener against Concordia, but they have already played six exhibitions.
•  Two of those were against NCAA Division I teams — a 5-1 loss Sept. 30 at Robert Morris and a 4-3 overtime victory the next night at Penn State.
•  Ottawa was 15-13 in OUA play last year, which was its first under head coach Patrick Grandmaitre. Kevin Domingue led the team in scoring with 31 points on 16 goals and 15 assists in 28 games.
•  Goaltender Anthony Brodeur is the son of legendary former NHL goalie Martin Brodeur, who is now an assistant GM with the St. Louis Blues.

Up Next:
•  Cornell will take a week off from game action, playing its annual Red/White Game next Saturday before opening the regular season with a pair of non-league games Oct. 27-28 against visiting Alabama-Huntsville.
•  The Big Red then opens ECAC Hockey play on the road, starting Nov. 3 at Quinnipiac.