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Coach Schafer’s Notes for 12/7/2021

CORNELL 4, @St. Lawrence 1 | CORNELL 4, @Clarkson 4 [OT]

This week, I’m going to reverse our report because the Saturday game sticks so vividly in our minds. We took a 4-0 lead into the third period at Clarkson but the Golden Knights scored four times in the final 5 minutes, 17 seconds tying with less than two seconds remaining! It was a tough ending … something that has never happened to our program. As the coach, I take responsibility for Saturday night by not having the team better prepared for a 6-on-5 situation. I thought we were but I have to take responsibility that we were not detailed enough, so this result rests on my shoulders. Despite the disappointing game at Clarkson, we are 9-1-1 overall and 6-1-1 in the ECAC. We increased our unbeaten streak to eight games and maintain sole possession of first place in the conference.

We scored at 10:29 of the first period with Junior forward Jack Malone’s third goal of the season. Junior defenseman Sam Malinski put us up 2-0 early in the second period with a power play goal and that score remained into the third period. In the third, Senior forward Max Andreev scored two goals at 7:44 and 11:53. Clarkson didn’t pack it in and scored three goals in three minutes with their goaltender on the bench in favor of an extra attacker. They tied with a fourth goal with just 1.4 seconds remaining.

Malinski had an assist in addition to his second-period goal and Senior forward Brenden Locke had three assists. Senior goaltender Nate McDonald had 34 saves in his second start of the weekend. The Clarkson netminder stopped 17 shots. We were 2-for-4 on the power play and Clarkson was 0-for-4.

Our team played hard and unfortunately the game got away. We will use this as a lesson and make sure we never make these mistakes again.

On Friday night at St. Lawrence, we skated sluggishly through a scoreless first period. There just wasn’t much space on the ice for the first 20 minutes. It was just a grind of a game. Just 29 seconds into the second period, St. Lawrence scored on a power-play with a tip-in shot. At 12:01, Junior forward Ben Berard chipped a backhand over the Saints’ goaltender’s glove to knot the score. I thought we got our legs under us about halfway through the second period by playing better and moving the puck quicker.

The third period was a good one for us led by Junior forward Matt Stienburg. Matt is coming into his own. He didn’t get a lot of ice time the past two years because of our veteran team. Now, the fact that he’s on the power play and a consistent penalty killer, he’s over the boards a lot. He deserves the ice time, he is mature and is really coming along as a player.

Stienburg scored the go-ahead goal 55 seconds into the third period after relentless forechecking by Andreev created a turnover in the Saints’ zone. Junior defenseman Sebastian Dirven sent the puck from the outside hash mark near the left wall toward the goal for Stienburg to tip it in. Less than 3 minutes later, Stienburg scored goal number two. Junior defenseman Travis Mitchell fired a shot from the point that was tipped wide by Andreev, only to have it carom back toward the edge of the crease for Matt to jam the puck into the net. With 2:10 remaining in the third period, he scored a natural hat trick, sprawling to sweep the puck into the net after Junior defenseman Sam Malinski flipped the puck from 200 feet away. Mitchell also got an assist, his third of the game.

We got back to pursuing pucks, staying above the St. Lawrence forwards and getting our sticks down. Hockey is not a very complicated game. I think if you don’t bring urgency and you don’t bring competitiveness, there’s just a fine line with finding that edge.

McDonald made 19 saves for the Big Red and the Saints’ goaltender stopped 21 shots. We were 0-for-3 on the power play and they were 1-for-4. I thought Nate did a solid job at St. Lawrence. He had a great week in practice and was better at controlling rebounds.

We have no games for nearly four weeks, wrapping up final exams and taking a break for the holidays. Then we hit the road for a big trip around the country. We play a pair at Arizona State on Jan. 1-2 and another pair at North Dakota on Jan. 7-8. We don’t play at home again until the Princeton/Quinnipiac weekend Jan. 21-22. We look forward to and appreciate all the alumni support wherever we are playing. It’s been an exciting couple of months for our team and they deserve this break but I know they’re eager to return to action.

On behalf of the team, the coaching staff and the Cornell Hockey Association, we wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

Mike Schafer