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Coach Syer on the Bench

Coach Schafer’s Notes for 11/4/2019

CORNELL 3, @Michigan State 2 | CORNELL 6, @Michigan State 2

This was an interesting weekend and a lot more satisfying than a year ago at Lynah Rink, when we dropped two games to Michigan State. At the beginning of the game, I looked out on the ice and I saw eight freshmen in the starting lineup and I said,  “How could we be picked No. 4 in the country with so many new, young faces?”  They played well, played really solid, and the “older crew” knocked off some rust. On a personal note, my view came from the press box as I was recovering from hernia surgery earlier in the week!  It was a pretty good view. This was the first time since 1992 we had so many newcomers on our starting lineup opening night.

Michigan State scored first with a power-play goal at 7:11 of the first period. We answered at 15:51 with our own power-play tally. On our fourth man advantage of the opening period, freshman forward Jack Malone shot the puck into an open net with assists to junior forward Tristan Mullin and junior defenseman Alex Green. Just 1:50 into the second stanza, the Spartans went back on top with their second power-play goal of the game. About nine minutes later, we came back to tie the score with the only even-strength goal of the game. Senior defenseman Yanni Kaldis cleaned up a scrum near the high slot. His shot flew through many bodies and under the legs of the goaltender.

The game-winner came at 14:31 of the second period on another power play. On our seventh power play opportunity of the night, freshman defenseman Sam Malinski and junior forward Morgan Barron completed passes on the perimeter to create space. Sophomore forward Max Andreev received the puck at the top of the right circle and  rifled a shot that rang off the post and past the goalie’s catching glove.

Now it was time to hang on and we had a whole third period, plus minutes, to protect our 3-2 lead. We killed off two penalties in the third period. Our freshmen were hanging tough. We were strong and won a lot of battles. We played well defensively and didn’t give up many chances. Tactically, we were pretty sound. Especially, in our defensive zone. Guys didn’t lose their checks very often, and if they did, they got lots of help. Junior goaltender Matthew Galajda made 26 saves (9-8-9), while the Michigan State goaltender stopped 27 shots. We were 2-for-8 on the power play; the home team was 2-for-6.

We had 24 hours (actually less) to enjoy our success and get ready for Saturday night against the Spartans at their arena. The game started slowly with neither team generating a scoring chance during the first 12 minutes. We had the game’s first power play opportunity and junior forward Brenden Locke rung the puck around the boards behind the net. Freshman forward Ben Berard got to the puck first and without hesitation, flipped a backhand pass into the middle for Tristan Mullin to slam the puck over the goaltender’s glove. That was all the scoring in the first period; each team had six shots.