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Coach Schafer’s Notes for 11/27/2023

#16 CORNELL 2, #5 Boston Univ. 1 … Red-Hot-Hockey @ Madison Square Garden … Box-score | Game Recap | Video Highlights |Schafer Post Game Interview | Photo Gallery 1 | Photo Gallery 2

It’s always exciting for our players and fans to play at Madison Square Garden, and it’s even better when you win. And when the opponent is BU, everyone is excited. We had a good week of practice, and our young team showed progress. Our team always loves playing for the alumni, and the crowd of over 15,000 certainly showed its appreciation for our winning effort. The Kelley-Harkness Cup returns to Lynah Rink, as this was our fourth consecutive win in the biennial Red Hot Hockey game.

I’m very proud of our team for just finding a way to win on Saturday night. It wasn’t beautiful or pretty, but with a young team, you must learn how to win and overcome adversity.

The first period was scoreless with junior goaltender Ian Shane making 10 saves. It’s fortunate to have a great goaltender who can make huge saves for us, including one on a shorthanded breakaway.

In the second period, both teams had scoring chances before BU made it 1-0 at 14:13, when we failed to properly clear the puck. The goal snapped Ian’s Madison Square Garden’s shutout streak at 94:13 minutes. He stopped the first 44 shots he faced, dating back to last season’s 6-0 triumph over UConn. The score remained BU 1, Cornell 0 after 40 minutes of play, and we were out-shot by a large margin.

We haven’t been very productive on the power play recently, so certainly the power play goal scored early in the third period was a big one. We called a timeout and set up what we wanted to do. And it happened just like we drew it up. Freshman forward Ryan Walsh fired a laser wrist shot from the middle of the slot that got by the BU netminder. Assists were given to freshman defenseman Ben Robertson and junior defenseman Tim Rego. We were tied at 1-1 with just 3:58 into the final period. Walsh’s goal marked the seventh time in the last eight games that a Big Red freshman has scored a goal at MSG.

Less than five minutes later (8:24), junior forward Ondrej Psenicka recorded the game-winner. It all started with sophomore forward Nick DeSantis finding freshman forward Jonathan Castagna skating toward the net. Castagna tipped the pass to Psenicka who buried the puck in the back of the net. Ondrej has played three times in MSG, and he has scored in each game. This was the eventual game-winner, but there still was much hockey to be played against a team ranked No. 5. Later in the third period, we faced a 5-on-3 penalty, but superb goaltending by Ian (he got a standing ovation from the crowd) kept us ahead. With time winding down (1:30), the Terriers pulled their goaltender, but our defense was up to the challenge.

The crowd gave us tremendous support, especially in the last few minutes. This is about playing for our university and our alumni, and we take a lot of pride in that.

Shane made 35 saves and the BU netminder made 17 saves. We were 1-for-5 on the power play, and they were 0-for-4. We are now 18-8-2 at Madison Square Garden, which includes a 7-1-1 mark over the last nine games.

We return to ECAC competition this week against our Central New York foe, Colgate. On Friday night, we travel to Hamilton to face the Raiders who are 5-7-2 overall, and 2-3-1 in the ECAC. On Saturday evening, we return to Lynah Rink for a rematch with Colgate. Hope you can come and see us at friendly Lynah Rink, or when we are in your area.

Mike Schafer