No. 9 Cornell Open Postseason vs. Clarkson

ITHACA, N.Y. — The men's hockey team emerges from a bye week to take on Clarkson in the best-of-three quarterfinal round of the ECAC Hockey Championships this weekend at Lynah Rink. This weekend's games will be broadcast by Boxcast through the ECAC Hockey website with Jason Weinstein on play-by-play and Tony Eisenhut providing color commentary. Their call can also be heard in Ithaca on WHCU (870 AM, 95.9 FM) and accessed worldwide here.

Quarterfinals: CLARKSON at #9/9 CORNELL

PLACE: Lynah Rink • Ithaca, N.Y.
GAME 1: 7 p.m. Friday, March 10, 2017
GAME 2: 7 p.m. Saturday, March 11, 2017
GAME 3: 4 p.m. Sunday, March 12, 2017 (if necessary)
CORNELL: 18-6-5 overall, 13-4-5 ECAC Hockey
CLARKSON: 17-14-5 overall, 10-9-3 ECAC Hockey
TV: None
RADIO: WHCU (870 AM, 95.9 FM)

Cornell game notes (PDF)
Clarkson game notes (PDF)

Big Red Rewind:
•  Cornell was undefeated for the entire month of February, posting a 6-0-3 record over the final four weeks of the regular season to earn the No. 3 seed and a first-round bye for the ECAC Hockey Championships. The last time Cornell was undefeated in February was the 2004-05 season.
•  The Big Red earned a 3-3 tie with Union in its regular-season finale and
Senior Night on Feb. 25 at Lynah Rink. Five of the six goals in the wild affair were scored on the power play, including Mitch Vanderlaan's tying goal with 5:01 left in the third period.
•  Trevor Yates and Matt Buckles scored the other Cornell goals against the Dutchmen. Yates' goal was his seventh of the year on the power play.
•  Mitch Gillam made 31 saves in the Big Red's 2-0 shutout of Rensselaer in the regular season's penultimate game on Feb. 24. It was his third shutout of the season and the 11th of his career, which moved him up to solo possession of fourth on the program's all-time list.
•  This marks the 11th time Cornell has earned a first-round bye since ECAC Hockey went to its current playoff format of awarding the bye to the top four teams in the regular season.

Who's Who at CU:
•  Sophomore forward Mitch Vanderlaan (14-12–26) leads the team in goals and points. He's riding a five-game goal-scoring streak, which is the Big Red's first since Michael Kennedy did it from Dec. 28, 2007 to Jan. 11, 2008. Vanderlaan's plus-13 rating is also tied for a second-best on the team with senior forward Eric Freschi (1-11–12).
•  Senior defenseman Patrick McCarron (5-17–22) continues to lead the team in assists. He averages the fifth-most points per game for ECAC Hockey blueliners (0.76) and had an eight-game points streak earlier this season — a first for a Cornellian since Greg Miller from Oct. 29 to Nov. 22, 2011, and a first for a Big Red defenseman since Mark McRae from Jan. 25 to Feb. 21, 2003.
•  Junior forward Trevor Yates (11-10–21) leads the team with seven power-play goals and 12 power-play points. He has eight points in his last nine games and is the first Cornellian with at least seven power-play goals in a season since Blake Gallagher had 10 during the 2009-10 season.
•  Sophomore defenseman Alec McCrea (1-9–10) leads the team with a plus-15 rating, which is tied for fourth-best among ECAC Hockey blueliners.
•  Senior forward Jeff Kubiak (3-11–14) ranks third in team scoring relative to points per games played (0.74), having missed 10 of the team's first 11 games due to injury.
•  Senior Mitch Gillam (18-5-5, 2.12, .921, 3 SO) had the nation's longest active unbeaten streak for goaltenders snapped Jan. 27, having backstopped the Big Red to a 10-0-1 record over 11 starts. The Big Red's lone nominee for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award had a 1.63 goals against average and .931 save percentage over that span.

Road Warriors:
•  Cornell completed the road portion of its schedule with a sterling 9-2-2 record, with the .769 winning percentage ranking second-best in the country entering the weekend (Ohio State, .781). This marks the Big Red's best road winning percentage since the 2002-03 season (.821), when Cornell reached the Frozen Four.
•  This year marks the first time since 2004-05 that the Big Red has swept three ECAC Hockey road weekends in a single season.

Awards Season:
•  The All-Ivy League teams were announced last weekend, with the Big Red placing four players on the two teams for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Freshman defenseman Yanni Kaldis was named to the first team, while senior goalie Mitch Gillam, senior defenseman Patrick McCarron and sophomore Mitch Vanderlaan were all placed on the second team.

The Sum of Intangibles Is Tangible:
•  A quick glance at Cornell's traditional statistics illustrates some of the team's storylines, though several others fly beneath the radar.
•  Through 29 games, the Big Red has already accumulated 110 man-games lost to injury — which includes lengthy absences from the team's leading scorer last year (Jeff Kubiak, 10 games) and a top-four defenseman (Ryan Bliss, 29).
•  Senior Jake Weidner has the massive task of being the Big Red's leading faceoff man. He enters the weekend fourth in the nation in average faceoffs per game (25.0), and Weidner is also far and away the nation's top shot-blocker among forwards (2.24 per game).

Turning The Trick:
•  Mitch Vanderlaan's hat trick Nov. 12 at Yale was Cornell's first since Jan. 22, 2011, when Tyler Roeszler scored three times against Colgate. Subsequently, Vanderlaan was named the ECAC Hockey Player of the Week on Nov. 15.
•  Vanderlaan 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 at the start of the 2009-10 campaign.
•  Freshman forward Jeff Malott (4-3–7) 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.

What, Me Worry?:
•  Seven of Cornell's 18 victories so far this season have come in games in which the Big Red has surrendered the first goal.
•  The Big Red's resilience from an early deficit has become somewhat of a trend, with the team sporting a very respectable 12-11-4 record when conceding the game's first strike since the beginning of the 2015-16 campaign. 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).

Never Too Close For Comfort:
•  Cornell's 1-0 win Jan. 7 at Merrimack was hardly new territory for the team. The Big Red had four 1-0 victories last season for the first time in program history. Cornell also set a team record by going to overtime in 14 of its 34 games last year. The previous record was 12, set in 1985-86, then matched in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
•  Cornell went to overtime in seven of its final 15 games last year, with a 4-3-7 record in those games.

Gillam's Groove:
•  Senior goaltender Mitch Gillam moved up to fourth on the program's all-time list for career shutouts Feb. 24 vs. Rensselaer. By stopping all 31 shots from Rensselaer, Gillam earned his 11th career clean sheet.
•  Gillam posted the third-longest shutout streak in program history last season, spanning 213 minutes, 17 seconds over four games in November 2015 — including consecutive shutouts at Yale and Brown. That marked the Big Red's first back-to-back shutouts since Andy Iles did so Dec. 2-3, 2011 against St. Lawrence and Clarkson, and it was the Big Red's first consecutive road shutouts since Ben Scrivens blanked Princeton and Quinnipiac from Nov. 7-8, 2008.
•  An odd twist on Gillam's 11 career shutouts is that he's only won nine of them — Dec. 28, 2014 against Lake Superior State and Nov. 20, 2015 against Yale were both scoreless ties.

First Ivy League Coach To 400:
•  Already the winningest coach in program history and in Ivy League history, Mike Schafer has eclipsed another milestone in his career with his 400th victory in January. He 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).

Feel The Draft?:
•  Cornell has five players on the roster who have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft, including four from 2014. Sophomore forward Beau Starrett (Chicago Blackhawks) was selected earliest in the 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. Senior forward Matt Buckles was taken by the Florida Panthers in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.

Apple Harvest:
•  Freshman Yanni Kaldis (1-13–14) ranks second on the team in assists. His passes set up the shots resulting in all three of the Big Red's power-play goals Nov. 5 at Harvard, making him the first Big Red player to record three power-play assists in a single game since Byron Bitz on Jan. 7, 2006.

Helping Out:
Members and friends of the Cornell men's hockey program embarked on another mission trip to the Dominican Republic through the Portal de Belén Foundation over the summer. It was the fourth time the program has participated, following trips in 2009, 2012 and 2014. Current members of the team Ryan BlissAlec McCreaAnthony AngelloDan WedmanAlex RauterHayden StewartTrent ShoreJared Fiegl and Dwyer Tschantz were on this year's trip, as well as Mike Schafer, the Jay R. Bloom '77 Head Coach of Men's Hockey.
About Clarkson:
•  The Golden Knights are currently 24th in the Pairwise Rankings after a two-game sweep of Renssealer in an ECAC Hockey Championship first-round series last weekend. Clarkson scored the first six goals of Friday's Game 1 en route to a 7-4 victory, then held on for a 4-2 win in Saturday's Game 2.
•  Junior center Sam Vigneault (12-24–36) is the team's leading scorer, and his plus-12 rating is tied for the team lead with senior forward Troy Josephs (19-13–32). Josephs leads the team in goals, including seven on the power play.
•  Freshman Jake Kielly (15-13-5, 2.61, .913, 3 SO) has been the team's starting goaltender this season.
•  Clarkson is 6-2-1 in its last nine games, with the one time coming against Cornell on Feb. 18 at Cheel Arena.
•  Senior defenseman James de Haas (7-21–28) has five of his goals on the power play goal. Clarkson's power play has clicked at 32 percent over its last six games.

The Series Against Clarkson:
•  The Big Red owns a 64-53-16 record against the Golden Knights after the teams battled to a pair of 3-3 ties this season — Jan. 20 at Lynah Rink and Feb. 18 at Cheel Arena.
•  Clarkson stormed out to a 3-1 lead by the midway point of the Jan. 20 game at Lynah, but Cornell rallied to earn a point with a pair of goals from Trevor Yates.
•  Goals by Mitch Vanderlaan and Matt Nuttle gave the Big Red a lead with 3:15 left in the third period Feb. 18 at Cheel, but Troy Josephs equalized for Clarkson less than a minute later and the teams settled for another tie.

Postseason Series With Clarkson:
•  The Big Red is 20-8-1 against the Golden Knights in the postseason, including a 3-1 record in the ECAC Hockey finals and a 6-4 victory in the NCAA championship game in 1970 at Lake Placid.
•  The teams have met four times in the quarterfinals since the league adopted the current format of the round featuring a best-of-three series, and all four meetings have come at Lynah Rink.
•  Most recently, Cornell won Game 3 of the 2014 series, 1-0, on an overtime goal from Brian Ferlin. As a freshman, current senior defenseman Patrick McCarron scored a goal in Game 2 of the series.
•  As the ninth seed in 2004, Clarkson pulled off a big upset of second-seeded Cornell with wins in Games 2 and 3. The Big Red responded with two-game sweeps in both 2005 and 2006 – with the latter series featuring two double-overtime games.

Anniversary Season:
•  The Jan. 27-28 weekend marked a reunion for the 50th anniversary of Cornell's first national championship team in 1967. There were festivities throughout, highlighted by a special ceremony to honor the returning members of the team during the first intermission of the second game.
•  This is also the 60th year of hockey in Lynah Rink. The facility was dedicated April 6, 1957, a few weeks after it hosted an exhibition between the New York Rangers and the Rochester Americans (AHL).

The Offensive Defense:
•  Mitch Gillam leads the nation's goaltenders in career points. His quick outlet pass Jan. 21 against St. Lawrence set up the line rush leading to Patrick McCarron's goal, giving Gillam five career points on one goal and four assists.

An Empire State of Mind:
•  The Big Red's stars in the Nov. 26 win over New Hampshire at The Frozen Apple at Madison Square Garden all had ties to New York. Junior forward Alex Rauter, who scored on a penalty shot in the third period, is from nearby Chatham, N.J., participated in the New York Rangers prospect development camp in 2012 and once played youth hockey on MSG ice in between periods of a Rangers game. Freshman forward Noah Bauld, who scored the game-winner, was actually born in New York before moving to his hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia when he was a toddler, and senior goaltender Mitch Gillam once attended the New York Islanders' prospect camp.

Freshman Force:
•  The jump to college hockey can be a big one for newcomers, but forward Anthony Angello — a 2014 draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins — clearly felt right at home as a freshman last season. Angello was the Big Red's first player to have points in his first four collegiate games since Ryan Moynihan from Nov. 8-16, 1996 — which was Mike Schafer's second season as head coach of his alma mater.

The Streak Is Over!
•  Junior forward Alex Rauter's penalty-shot goal in The Frozen Apple on Nov. 26 ended a remarkable string of futility on such plays for the Big Red. Rauter became the first Cornellian to score on a penalty shot since Feb. 27, 1987 — 949 games since Joe Nieuwendyk scored on a penalty shot against Rensselaer.

Binational Interests:
•  Cornell has the unique distinction of having exactly 14 players hailing from both the U.S. and Canada. The Big Red joins just two other teams — Robert Morris and Michigan Tech — with an even split on their respective rosters.

Up Next:
•  The winner of this weekend's series will advance to the ECAC Hockey Championship semifinals on Friday, March 17 in Lake Placid, N.Y. If Clarkson wins this series, Cornell will hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The selection show for NCAAs is at noon Sunday, March 19, with regionals slated for the four sites the following weekend.