Preview: Cornell at Miami
WHO: No. 5 Cornell Big Red (9-1-0) at Miami RedHawks (6-6-2).
WHEN: Friday, 7:35 p.m.; Saturday–7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.
CORNELL RADIO: WHCU-AM (870, WHCU-FM (95.5), Ithaca, N.Y.
NOTES: Following a four-year run of mediocrity, Cornell is a rejuvenated hockey team.
The Big Red were a force the first few years of this century, advancing to the NCAA Tournament seven of 11 seasons starting in 2001.
But Following that run, Cornell won no more than 17 games four straight campaigns and did not compete on college hockey’s biggest stage.
That trend reversed quickly, as 23rd-year coach Mike Schafer’s squad won 21 games last season and after a 9-1 start this fall, it has has a .722 winning percentage since the start of 2016-17.
Cornell moved up two places after wins over Niagara and Boston University last week, and its lone loss this season was to then-No. 8 Clarkson on Nov. 18.
The Big Red have also beaten Quinnipiac and Harvard this season, so their early-season resume is legitimate.
And this is a team built to win for a while, as only one senior (Trevor Yates) has played all 10 games, and in addition to Yates, who is 7-4-11, a freshman and sophomore round out the top three in team scoring.
Yates leads the team in goals and points, and Morgan Barron and Jeff Malott both have three goals and six assists for nine points. Barron is the rookie, Malott the sophomore.
Anthony Angello and Mitch Vanderlaan have two goals and five assists each, and Beau Starett is 1-5-6. All are juniors.
Cornell’s defense corps has scored 11 goals but combined for just 13 assists. Alec McCrea leads Big Red blueliners with four goals, but he has just one assist.
Defensemen Brendan Smith (no relation to the former Miami F/D of the same name) and Yanni Kaldis have five points each.
This blue line corps may not rack up the points, but it has shut down its opponents in the shot column. Cornell allows just 23.6 shots per game.
Freshman Matthew Galajda has started all 10 games in net for the Big Red, going 8-1-0 with a 2.04 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. Senior Hayden Stewart pitched 40 minutes of relief earlier this season and is 1-0, 1.50, .929.
Cornell is sixth in Division I scoring at 3.60 goals per game and third in goals against (2.00). The Big Red also rank in the top 20 on both the power play and penalty kill.
These teams have met six times, but none have come in Oxford. Each team has won three times.
Last season’s series vs. Cornell was less than memorable for the RedHawks. They gave up three unanswered third-period goals in a 4-3 loss in the opener and falling behind by two early in a 2-1 defeat in the finale.
Miami’s other loss to the Big Red came in the opening round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament.
The RedHawks are riding a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) and are 4-2 in their last six home games.
Josh Melnick recorded three points vs. Cornell last season, and Carson Meyer scored once in each game.
This is the last non-conference series of 2017-18 for Miami and the team’s last home series of the calendar year. The RedHawks will host just one more series prior to February and have only eight home games on their slate after this weekend.