In the 29 games junior forward Matt Buckles played last year, he took a total of 44 shots and scored 8 goals. He never took more than 4 shots in a single game last year. In tonight’s exhibition game against Ryerson, Buckles took 10 shots, finding the back of the net on two of them.
“I had faith in my shot,” Buckles said. “I like shooting the puck a lot. It went in tonight, and hopefully it continues to do that. If the opportunity presents itself I’m going to rip it as much as I can.”
The increased offensive output is part of the strategy shift orchestrated by Cornell men’s hockey head coach Mike Schafer ‘86. After a down-year offensively in 2014-15 that saw Cornell rank next to last in goals scored per game, Schafer has stressed team offense and increased volume of shots.
“We’ve done a lot in the fall so far, changing up our offensive philosophy,” Buckles said. “Basically we just try to get all pucks and bodies in the net, and we’re confident and we’re getting used to our new offensive systems, and it paid off in the first period.”
Both of Buckles’ goals came in the Red’s first period, a 20-minute flurry of shots and goals from Cornell that allowed the Red to take a 5-0 lead against the Rams.
“He did the things that we asked him to do,” Schafer said. “He shot pucks, he didn’t pass up shots on the power play and he forced it to the net.”
While Schafer was pleased with the success that Buckles found tonight, he also stressed the idea that the team has to continue to get shots from a variety of players throughout the season, contrasting last year’s offense which was highlighted by a few puck-dominant shooters.
“Our shots and our offense have to come from a lot of different guys,” Schafer said. “It’s a good performance. I hope he takes ten shots every game this year, but that’s not going to happen. But we have to have a shooting mentality. If guys see that and get rewarded for it, they’ll keep doing it.”