The last time the men’s hockey team broke the top five in the national rankings, it was about to enter the 2003 NCAA tournament, ranked first in the country and in excellent position to reach its first Frozen Four in 23 years.
The Red didn’t disappoint, as it swept through MSU-Mankato and Boston College in the NCAA Regional to be the top seed at the Frozen Four in Buffalo. The road ended there two years ago, and much has changed for the Red since.
In rankings released Monday afternoon, Cornell took the No. 5 spot in both the USCHO.com/CSTV and USA Today/American Hockey Magazine polls.
It marked a milestone in Cornell’s road back to ECACHL dominance, as the Red used a dramatic weekend series against travel partner Colgate to make the one spot jump in the rankings. The Red defeated Colgate, 1-0, on Friday night in Hamilton on a goal by senior assistant captain Mike Iggulden at the 18:27 mark in the third period. The next night, Cornell skated to a 2-2 tie against the Raiders at Lynah, claiming three points on the weekend. Colgate, one of three ECACHL teams in the top 15, fell from No. 11 to No. 12 in both polls. Harvard, tied for second in the conference with the Raiders, remained at No. 10 after beating Union last Tuesday and Dartmouth last Friday.
Dartmouth and Vermont received votes in both polls, but did not crack the top 15.
Before last weekend even began though, the Red received some good news on the individual front. Sophomore goaltender David McKee was named a runner-up as the Hockey Commissioners’ Association player of the month for January on Friday.
Later that night, he would lock horns with Colgate’s Steve Silverthorn, saving 24 in one of the best goaltending battles all year.
For the month of January, McKee compiled a sparkling 7-1-0 record and made 162 saves on 170 shots faced for a .953 save percentage.
He recorded a dominating 0.99 goals against average, to drop his season GAA to 1.39, which is the best in the country. In January, he was named ECACHL goalie of the week twice, most recently for the week ending Jan. 17.
Cornell will hope to continue its recent success when it takes a road trip for the first time in nearly a month this weekend, as it pays visits to Princeton and Yale.
The Red is currently riding an eight-game unbeaten streak, which included seven straight victories before Saturday night’s tie against Colgate.
The Red has also been dominant at home this season, going 11-0-1, which is a substantial improvement over last year’s 7-7-5 mark. Cornell will look to extend its success to the road, as it plays four of its final six games away from Lynah Rink.
Archived article by Owen Bochner
Sun Sports Editor