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Coach Schafer’s Notes for 12/2/2019

RED HOT HOCKEY @ Madison Square Garden | CORNELL 2, Boston University 0

Obviously, we are pleased with our ninth straight victory before 15,000+ fans at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” … Madison Square Garden. Even though we don’t play BU every year, this is still an exciting rivalry.

In the first period, BU came out flying but the scoring chances were even and I felt we did a good job being physical. But, we gave them too much time and space in our defensive zone. We did a much better job in the second and third periods. Our three freshmen defensemen were a little edgy early on, but they settled down and did a great job the rest of the game. It’s all about ignoring the noise and managing expectations.

Our two goals were scored in a span of 20 seconds in the second period. On the first goal, freshman defenseman Sebastian Dirven made a great stick-handling play at the blue line to avoid a BU rush the other way and helped us keep possession of the puck. Sebastian fired the puck to the opposite boards to junior forward Morgan Barron. Morgan stick-handled through several BU defenders before sending a backhanded pass to senior defenseman Yanni Kaldis entering the zone. Yanni rifled a shot that was kicked out, but sophomore forward Michael Regush was free on the weak side to slam the puck into the wide side of the net. Twenty seconds later, we took a 2-0 lead. We had possession in the offensive zone and junior forward Cam Donaldson fed freshman forward Ben Berard in the opposite corner. Ben immediately picked up the puck and saw junior forward Brenden Locke popping out from the top of the crease into the slot. Brenden had enough space to fire a one-timer that got by the goaltender’s left arm.

Certainly the key to the game was the outstanding performance turned in by junior goaltender Matthew Galajda, who recorded his first shutout of this season and the 15th of his Cornell career. Matthew absolutely can’t stand being scored upon, even in practice, and it definitely carries over into the game. He definitely was the key to our success in that first period. Probably his biggest save came in the 14th minute of the game, when he stopped a breakaway attempt from a BU player. Galajda made 28 saves and only eight in the third period. The BU goalie stopped 26 shots.  Both teams were 0-3 on the power play.

We need a good week of practice to prepare for another very tough road trip.  On Friday night, we play at Harvard, followed by a Saturday game at Dartmouth. A week ago, Cornell and Harvard were the only undefeated Division I teams in the country. Last week, the Crimson lost a game to Boston College. They are 6-0 in the ECAC and 6-1 overall. Playing at Dartmouth is always tough, and the Big Green is 3-2-1 overall and 3-1-1 in the league.

If you live in New England, here’s your chance to see Cornell hockey live! We’re expecting a lot of Big Red support in Cambridge. And, if you are farther north, we hope to see you in Hanover, NH for the Dartmouth game. Both games are at 7PM.

Mike Schafer