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Coach Schafer’s Notes for 1/13/2020

#2 CORNELL 3, @Rensselaer 0 | #2 CORNELL 3, @Union 3 (OT)

Home-Sweet Home! It will be nice to be back home playing before the Lynah Faithful. Starting the season with 11 of 15 games on the road has been a challenge! But, if you told me at the start of the year we would be 12-1-2 at this juncture, I’d say I’ll take it.

On Friday night at RPI, we started well, played the first period with pace and I thought our guys did a good job going after it on the road. We scored on the power play at 16:45 of the opening period. Early in the extra-man situation, we had several good chances and junior forward Tristan Mullin scored his team-leading third power-play goal this season. His goal was set up by some good passing between sophomore forward Michael Regush and junior forward Brenden Locke. The PP goal gave us a 28.3% conversion rate to rank No. 4 in the country. We went into the locker room leading 1-0.

RPI came out for the second period with the clear motive to force more pucks on net quickly. Junior goaltender Matty Galajda did an outstanding job of fighting through traffic to see the puck and excelled at limiting rebounds. Our guys were up to the task and really ramped it up in the second period. We killed off their only power play of the night and quickly scored at 7:10 on Brenden Locke’s sixth goal of the season. This came with some nifty puck handling by junior forward Cam Donaldson who drew the attention of the RPI goalie before feeding Locke for an open-net goal.

At 9:29 of the second period, we made it 3-0 on senior forward Jeff Malott’s fourth goal of the season after some strong offensive zone play by freshman forward Matt Stienburg. The puck banked off an RPI player defending Stienburg at the near post and right to Malott crashing down the middle for the score.

I think we moved pucks a little quicker and played with our heads up without getting predetermined on what we wanted to attack off of. We made some pretty good touch plays down by the net that resulted in goals. After Malott’s goal, we got a little bit loose, weren’t as tight defensively and slowed down.

The third period was scoreless though Matty was tested, as RPI seemed to get a second wind. Galajda made 25 saves, including 14 in the second period, while the RPI goaltender stopped 26 shots. Matty made some big saves to secure the shutout. We were 1-for-2 on the power play and the Engineers were 0-for-2. Overall, it was a really good road win for us.

The next evening at Union was a different story. Our guys fought back for the tie after going down twice but overall, we made some technical mistakes we have to correct. That will be the goal in this week’s practice.

We came out strong in the first period, dominating though the first 10 minutes. Mullin got his second goal in as many nights at 3:19 of the first period. Union answered at 14:45. Galajda made a big save on Union’s first shot, but the rebound was sent back on net and past Matty’s blocker. It was 1-1 after 20 minutes of play with us leading shots on goal, 13-7.

In second period, Union found a scoring lane on the power play and deflected a shot past a helpless Galajda. We went into the third period, trailing, 2-1.

We came out for the third period with vengeance and Regush tallied his sixth goal of the season assisted by Mullin to tie at 2-all. Union went on the power play again and bombarded us with shot after shot. Four consecutive shots went on goal before the fifth ended in the back of the net at 9:09. Thirty-eight seconds later, Locke scored the tying and final goal of the night. Give Union credit, as they capitalized on their power plays and we didn’t do a very good job defending. They also did an excellent job when a man down.

Both teams had opportunities to score in the overtime but we finished with a tie rather than a four-point weekend. Galajda made a total of 19 saves, while the Union goalie stopped 31 shots. We were 0-for-2 on the power play and Union was 2-for-3. This is an area we need to address: killing penalties!

Obviously, analyzing is just a game-by-game process. We did some things on Saturday at Union that we didn’t do Friday at Rensselaer. Now we have two weekends at home to get back to where we need to be.

This weekend on Friday and Saturday night at Lynah Rink we host Northern Michigan for our final non-league contests of the regular season. Many students are still on holiday break so it’s a great time for locals to come and see the talent that will be on the ice. Lynah Rink has always been a tough place for the opposition and this weekend will be no different.

Mike Schafer