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Coach Schafer’s Notes for 11/26/2019

@CORNELL 2, Quinnipiac 1 | @CORNELL 5, Princeton 1

Obviously, when you take four points on an ECAC weekend, you have to be pleased with the results of your team, especially one as young as ours.

On Friday night, the first period was scoreless with both teams flying around a lot. Quinnipiac had the first two power plays and junior goaltender Matthew Galajda came up with three saves on the first penalty kill.  We actually got the better of the second power play with a shorthanded breakaway by senior forward Jeff Malott and an ensuing wraparound attempt from junior forward Morgan Barron.

Still in the first period, we came up empty on our own power play and the most exciting segment of the game followed. At full strength, Quinnipiac had a 2-on-1 break stopped by junior forward Brenden Locke. Eight seconds later, Galajda stopped a breakaway and the rebound was blocked by freshman forward Ben Berard. Nineteen seconds later, the Bobcats missed on a third breakaway with a shot that hit the crossbar. It was fast and furious at this point but Matt kept us in the game.

At 3:36 of the second period, we took a 1-0 lead as junior forward Brenden Locke scored his third goal of the season with assists from Berard and junior defenseman Alex Green. Less than 4 minutes later, the visitors  tied the game at 1-all. The winning goal came at 9:09 of the second period.  On the power play, all five players on the ice helped us keep possession down in the visitors end. Senior defenseman Yanni Kaldis fired a puck on net that hit the goaltender’s skate. The rebound came out to the skate of sophomore forward Max Andreev and bounced into the path of sophomore forward Michael Regush crashing down the slot. Michael patiently waited for flailing bodies to hit the ice, then flipped the puck into a virtually empty net for his fourth goal of the season. The third period was scoreless though Quinnipiac out shot us, 13-4.

Matt was our best player on Friday night making 22 saves. He was outstanding—he saved us. Lack of awareness from our players resulted in the three breakaways and he made huge saves. You have to manage to win games in different ways.  On Friday night, our penalty-kill played well, our goaltender was superb, and we defended home ice. We came away with a victory and moved on to the next game. We were 1-for-4 on the power play and the visitors were 0-for-5.

On Saturday night, five different players scored, giving us goal-scoring from seven different individuals for the weekend.  For the second straight night before sellout crowds, we played a scoreless first period. Princeton came out flying after a 2-2 tie at Colgate on Friday. The Tigers had an excellent scoring chance just 50 second into the contest, but once again Matt turned away 11 shots on goal in the first period. He had more saves in the first 3 minutes than he had in the entire first period vs. Quinnipiac.

We scored just 41 seconds into the second period. Senior forward Noah Bald forced a turnover and junior forward Kyle Betts passed to Malott for a one-timer goal. Princeton stayed in the game and forced Galajda to make several acrobatic saves. Midway through the second period, we scored three goals in less than 5 minutes. The first came on a 4-on-4 play. Betts won a face-off (he was 12-1 on face-off wins for the game) back to junior forward Tristan Mullin at the top inner portion of the circle.  His laser shot flew over the goaltender’s blocker. Forty-five seconds later, Kaldis found Berard in the right circle and his one-timer found the back of the net for his first collegiate goal. Berard was named ECAC Rookie of the Week with a goal and an assist and a league-best plus-4 rating. Our final goal of the second period was an unassisted goal by junior forward Cam Donaldson with a backhanded scoop past the goaltender. It was our first unassisted goal of the season. We went into the final intermission leading 4-0.

At 1:37 of the third period on a power play, Princeton cut the deficit to 4–1. Our final goal was scored by junior defenseman Alex Green with a shot from the right circle.

Galajda made 25 saves, including 22 in the first 40 minutes, and two Princeton net-minders stopped 23 shots. We were 0-for-6 on the power play and they were 1-for-6.

This weekend our guys saw how hard other teams are going to play against us and how competitive our league is. It will be a grind throughout the season but the team has responded well every step of the way. We are still ranked No. 2 in both national polls and are tied for first place with Harvard in the ECAC. We are now 8-0 for the first time since the 1971-72 season.

Our next game is Saturday night, November 30th … Red Hot Hockey vs. Boston University at Madison Square Garden. It’s a thrill for our team to play this game in front of many alumni, friends, and family. Most are too young to know the fierce rivalry between Cornell and BU, as many of you do.  We just need to play our game as we have all season long. I hope many of you can join us in New York City and be a part of the dominant crowd that Cornell brings to the Garden.

Mike Schafer