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Coach Schafer’s Notes for 1/1/2024

#17 CORNELL 2, #11 Massachusetts 2 [SOW] … Box Score | Game Recap | Video Highlights
#17 CORNELL 2, #13 Arizona State 2 [SOL] … Box Score | Game Recap | Video Highlights

The inaugural Adirondack Winter Invitational in Lake Placid could easily been an NCAA Regional tournament; the caliber of play was outstanding and competitive. The first night, I was concerned because we only had two practices before Lake Placid and we have been both good and sloppy at times. I was pleased that after the holiday break we returned to the good habits that make Cornell hockey successful. We wanted to be more physical on puck battles and have the betterment of possession on special teams.

Friday’s game was an even affair. The first period was scoreless. We got on the board at 2:52 of the second period. Freshman Hoyt Stanley scored his first collegiate goal after taking a pass from classmate Ryan Walsh from behind the net. Stanley fired a laser from the right point into the back of the net. Four minutes later, the Minutemen tied the score with a one-timer from the low slot. At the 14:44 mark we went up 2-1, as sophomore Dalton Bancroft chipped in a loose puck after a shot from the point by freshman Ben Robertson, with freshman Ryan Walsh also credited with an assist.

The score remained 2-1 late into the third period. UMass pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker and scored with 1:02 remaining in regulation by potting a rebound. We were disappointed to be scored on 6 on 5, but overall, we gave a solid effort against a good team. The 5-minute overtime was scoreless leading to the three-player shootout. Bancroft opened the scoring with a snapshot and the UMass shot was deflected by junior Ian Shane. Senior Gabriel Seger scored on a wrist shot and UMass missed on their second shot giving us the win.

Shane played very well in goal with 23 saves, while the UMass goalie stopped 24 shots. We were 1-for-2 on the power play and the Minutemen were 0-for-3. It was an even affair.

In the championship game against Arizona State on Saturday, I felt the team played well and deserved better in the end. The Arizona goalie was outstanding and stopped a lot of our quality chances. This was another step in the right direction and even though we lost the shootout, our play was very solid.

We jumped in front, 1-0, at 15:07 of the first period as Seger scored just seven seconds into our first power play opportunity. We increased the lead to 2-0 at 4:55 of the second period one second before our second power-play chance evaporated. Freshman defenseman George Fegaras fired a wrister from the point with one second left on the extra-man chance. Both teams had a number of scoring chances for the rest of the period but both goaltenders were excellent. Arizona narrowed the score to 2-1 at 5:12 of the second period and tied 43 seconds into the third period on a power play carried over from the end of the second period.

In overtime, we had at least three excellent shots by Robertson, and the Sun Devils had a couple of odd-man rushes that failed. In the shootout, the first two attempts by both teams failed. Arizona scored on their third attempt and we failed to tie. I thought their goaltender was outstanding and he made some great saves.

Shane was called upon for just 18 saves, and the Arizona State goaltender stopped 25 shots. We were 1-for-4 on the power play, and they were 1-for-3.

We have two weeks before heading to Tempe, AZ for two more games against Arizona. We’ll have an opportunity to work on some things that need improvement, but overall, I was extremely pleased with our two-game performance. Our next two games are at the Sun Devils rink on Friday, Jan. 12, with a 9 pm ET (7 pm MT) start time and Saturday at 7 pm ET (5 pm MT) game. Both games will be broadcast on Pac-12 Insider and on WHCU (870 AM, 97.7 FM, And of course, we always welcome Cornellians at these games. Our guys appreciate your support when far away from home. Happy New Year to all of you!!!

Mike Schafer