For the first two weeks of the season, the No. 8 men’s hockey team demonstrated exactly why Lynah Rink is one of the most fearsome home venues in the country. With 23 goals in its first four games, the Red also showed that it has arguably the best offensive unit in the nation. The only remaining undefeated team in the NCAA, it has soared to the top of the national rankings in scoring offense (5.75 goals per game), scoring defense (1.00), scoring margin (+4.75), power play (.308), penalty kill (.958), and combined special teams (.620). Cornell (4-0-0, 2-0-0 ECACHL) will look to make all of those accomplishments stand up when it takes its first road trip of the season, a two-game series against Michigan State beginning tonight at 7:05 p.m.
“We’re finally leaving the friendly confines of Lynah, so it will be a good test for our players,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “We need to make a statement when we get out there.”
The Spartans (4-4-0, 3-3-0 CCHA) have been up-and-down so far this season, going 3-3 in conference and dropping a home game to the ECACHL’s St. Lawrence. Michigan State, which is led by its top line of Jim Slater, Mike Lalonde and Tommy Goebel, has not had much trouble putting the puck in the net this season, as it has only averaged 3.125 goals per game. However, on the defensive end, the Spartans have been victimized by a couple of blowouts, but have been generally solid, ranking 16th in the nation, allowing 2.62 goals per game.
Forward Colton Fretter leads Michigan State with six goals this season and has added five assists, good for fifth on the team. He is currently riding a five-game point streak and had two assists in the Spartans’ 4-2 win against Ferris State last Friday.
For the Red, the story so far this season has been the way in which the team has spread the wealth on both the offensive and defensive ends. Fifteen different players have scored goals for Cornell over the team’s first four games, testament to Schafer’s commitment to a full-team effort. Junior assistant captain Matt Moulson has led the way with four goals. He is also tops in total points with seven.
On the defensive end, Cornell has been equally effective. The two goals allowed Saturday night against Brown were the most the Red has let up in any game this season, including the exhibition against McGill. Sophomore goaltender David McKee has had a pretty easy time so far this year, as he has faced only 70 shots overall. He has a sparkling 1.04 goals against average (good for second in the country) and a .952 save percentage (which ranks fifth), and is quietly moving up the Cornell career charts. He is currently in a fifth-place tie with Brian Cropper ’71 and Matt Underhill ’02 on the Red all-time list with six career shutouts.
The Red has not faced the Spartans in nine years, when Michigan State won, 6-2, at the Munn Ice Arena. However, with the Red looking to prove itself as a potent road club, the team is viewing this weekend as vitally important.
“There is nothing better than going on the road and playing some hockey,” Schafer said.
Archived article by Owen Bochner
Sun Sports Editor