Freshman right wing Anthony Angello has been dominant for the Cornell men’s ice hockey team this season, leading the team in scoring with eight goals. Angello has the ability to electrify the Lynah Faithful with his rare combination of skill and physicality. When Angello scored an overtime game winner against Colgate earlier this season, the crowd erupted and the student section chanted his name.
It wasn’t always this way for Angello, who played his first game at Lynah back in high school.
“Coming out to play for my first time at Lynah it was about as quiet as it could get for a high school game,” Angello said. “It was still pretty surreal knowing that Lynah was going to be my future home a couple years down the road.”
The game also didn’t go as well as Angello would have liked.
“It was a lot fun until I got a hitting from behind penalty,” Angello said. “All the coaches were here and I ended up sitting in the box for 12 minutes when I should have been on the ice playing.”
Towards the end of his sophomore year of high school, Angello began to receive interest from colleges, including Cornell.
“I took some time to figure out what schools I wanted to look into and that’s when I heard Cornell was interested in me,” Angello said.
Angello was immediately drawn to the Cornell style of play. The Red stresses physical, two-way hockey that begins with defense. Cornell forwards are expected to contribute both offensively and defensively. Angello recognized the opportunity to develop his skills as a two-way player by coming to Cornell.
“Watching [Cornell’s] style of play on my visit, it just seemed like a fit,” Angello said.
Angello, the 6-foot-5 forward who plays as tough as he stands tall, fits very well into the Cornell system.
“I wanted to use my size to not only strengthen my performance, but the performance of the team,” Angello said. “Looking at it as an outsider, my style of play matched up [with Cornell’s style of play].”
When Angello was younger, it was all about finding the right sport to go along with his gifted size and athletic ability. It’s a good thing that Angello, the 5th round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins, chose to focus on hockey after trying several sports.
“I tried basketball, but that didn’t turn out too well,” Angello said. “I shot whenever I got open. Once I stepped over half court, I would shoot every time and miss by about 25 feet.”
Fortunately for Angello, players are often encouraged to shoot when they find openings in ice hockey. Angello also has a very accurate and powerful shot that makes him a scoring threat from anywhere on the ice.
Growing up, Angello looked up to his father who instilled in him the importance of a strong work ethic.
“The biggest role model in my life is my dad,” Angello said. “He had to work for absolutely everything he earned and nothing was given to him.”
Angello carries over his father’s teachings each and every time he steps onto the ice. His father’s hard work and determination was something Angello tried to emulate from an early age.
“He told me the harder you work, the luckier you get and I believe that’s extremely true,” Angello said.
Angello’s dedication and hard work paid off last year on draft night, when the Pittsburgh Penguins selected him with the 145th pick. Angello was unsure whether his name would be called. He waited nervously at home with his family surrounding him.
“I got a call from my advisor who screamed into the phone ‘you just got drafted by Pittsburgh,’” Angello said. “I saw my name pop up on NHL Network, dropped the phone and got a big hug from my dad.”
“It was one of the few times I ever saw my dad cry,” Angello said.
Being drafted gave Angello even more motivation to develop as a hockey player. Angello said he looks up to NHL players who maybe aren’t the most skilled, but achieved success due to their strong work ethic.
“Growing up, I always liked watching Tim Connolly,” Angello said. “He’s from central New York and is a local hero.”
Nonetheless, Angello also appreciates the play of stars Sidney Crosby and Milan Lucic — skill guys who are not afraid to get gritty and take pucks to the net.
When Angello looks back on his Cornell career, he hopes to have restored the Cornell tradition of hockey.
“Coach [Mike] Schafer [’86] always talks about wanting to get back to how things were in the past,” Angello said. “To me, there would be no better way to go out than winning an Ivy, ECAC and National Championship.”
So long as Angello keeps improving, he seems very capable of leading Cornell to the highest level.