The No. 7 men’s hockey team returns to the Great Lakes states this weekend as it aims to continue its winning ways against non-conference opponent Western Michigan (7-7-1, 6-6-0 CCHA). The Red (8-1-0, 5-1-0 ECAC) will face the Broncos tonight and tomorrow night for a pair of games at Lawson Arena with 7:05 p.m. starts.
Cornell is coming off a pair of non-conference wins against rival Boston University last weekend, and has won its last four games since dropping a 5-2 contest to Dartmouth.
Meanwhile, Western Michigan is also riding a four-game winning streak, having recently taken a pair of games from Lake Superior. The Broncos have been streaky all season long, as their latest winning streak was preceded by a four-game string of losses. They also began the season with three wins followed by three defeats.
Western Michigan has had mixed success against ranked teams this year. It split a home-and-home series with No. 9 Ferris State, and salvaged a tie at No. 3 Maine after being shut out the night before by the Black Bears.
Offensively, freshman winger Brent Walton has paced the Broncos this season, leading the team with seven goals and 14 points. Junior Jeff Campbell has also been a major contributor with 13 points and a pair of gamewinners.
Western Michigan head coach Jim Culhane has been splitting time in net between sophomore Mike Mantua (4-4-0, .898 save percentage) and freshman Scott Foster (3-3-1, .852), and will likely give each goalie a game this weekend.
The Broncos have never beaten the Red in five tries, the most recent of which came three years ago at Lynah Rink. Cornell took a pair of games over winter break that season by scores of 4-3 and 3-1.
Despite the small number of games between the two teams, there is a strong connection between the programs. Red head coach Mike Schafer ’86 was an assistant at WMU for five years, and assistant coach Brent Brekke played for the Broncos. In addition, Western Michigan assistant coach Scott Garrow coached under Schafer at Cornell for four years.
The weekend’s games will be the second and third against a CCHA opponent this year for the Red. Cornell opened the season with a 3-1 win at Ohio State.
Senior Sam Paolini is coming off a stellar performance in the Terriers games, scoring a goal and adding three assists en route to an ECAC Player of the Week nod. Junior Ryan Vesce is leading the Red in points with 13.
Sophomore David LeNeveu is expected to get two more starts in net this weekend before leaving Cornell to take part in the Canadian Junior National Team’s camp and the World Junior National championships. LeNeveu has been in goal for each game this season and is second in the nation with a 1.11 goals against average.
The Red will have four games after the WMU series over winter break. Cornell will take part in the Everblades Classic in Estero, Fla., on Dec. 28 and 29. After the games there against Maine and either Ohio State or Massachusetts, the Red will resume its ECAC schedule when it visits St. Lawrence and Clarkson on Jan. 4 and 5.
Archived article by Alex Fineman