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Coming off opening weekend of ECAC play, Cornell (0-2-1, 0-1-1 ECAC) emerged with just one point after a 1-1 tie at Dartmouth and 4-3 loss at Harvard. While the Red isn’t happy with the results this weekend, the team will look to wrap up its first five-game away stretch in program history by taking away the positives of last weekend’s games.
“I think we’re a little disappointed, we worked pretty hard this weekend, but to come out of it with only one point is a little disappointing for the team,” said senior forward Jake Weidner. “But I think at the same time there’s a lot of positives we can take out it from the team.”
Senior goaltender Mitch Gillam echoed these sentiments and added that the team is becoming more cohesive.
“It sucks that we’re down 0-2-1 in the start of our season, but we just have to keep a positive mindset and work hard every single day,” Gillam said. “We’re still working hard in practice, it’s not like we’re down on ourselves of anything like that. I think from Merrimack to Dartmouth to Harvard, our game has grown so much and guys are starting to gel a little bit more on the ice.”
Head coach Mike Schafer ’86 said he would have liked to see the team come away with more than one point, but pointed out that this weekend’s games accomplished some of the team’s long term goals.
“[I’m] not happy with coming away with a point, but I think that looking at things on a larger scale, one of our objectives is to be a better team, better player, everyday throughout the course of the season,” Schafer said. “You can’t sacrifice continuing to lay the foundation of our season to try to just change everything right now to get a win on the weekend. We want to win, but we have to stick with the process because that’s what’s going to carry us.”
The Red will begin the weekend by taking on Brown (0-4-0, 0-2-0) on Friday, a team that is currently tied with Princeton for last place in the league. Nevertheless, Schafer called Brown “the best team [he’s] seen on video so far” and said he expects his team to tackle the challenge.
“[They’re] better than Merrimack, better than Harvard, better than Dartmouth — they’ve played very, very well,” he said. “Our guys are going to have to be ready for it.”
Schafer was asked if he stands by these comments given the team’s record, but rebutted the question, saying the record doesn’t reflect the team, which is one of the similarities he sees between the Bears and the Red.
“I don’t think our record reflects who we are either,” he said. “They had to go out on the road against Union and RPI, teams that are playing their 11th and 12th games, so that’s a tall order to go up and play against those guys. Just by the naked eye and looking at them they’re a good hockey team.”
After the trip to Providence, the Red travels to New Haven on Saturday to take on Yale (2-1-0, 1-1-0), who also took on both Union and RPI last weekend. Yale lost star goaltender Alex Lyon, who decided to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Flyers and forego his senior season. Gillam discussed his respect for Lyon, a player that has given the Red difficulties the past few years, and how Gillam was inspired by Lyon’s play.
“It’s been fun playing against Alex — he’s a great goaltender and I’ve respected his game and how he’s played,” Gillam said. “He’s made me elevate my game when I’m watching him on the other end.”
Weidner said he has high esteem for Lyon, but is making sure the team doesn’t overlook new goaltender, senior Patrick Spano.
“[Lyon’s] a great goalie, but we always have tough games no matter who we play – it’s the ECAC so every team’s always good,” Weidner said. “I’m sure their new goalie is going to be a good goalie as well so it’s just about sticking to our process, doing the things we do best and doing them for a consistent 60 minutes for two games over the weekend.”
Schafer pointed out Yale’s ability to turn defense into offense, a skill that the Red needs to guard against well.
“They’re a team that stays above you and they’re more defensive oriented with a splatter of guys that can really capitalize on scoring chances, and they’re good at it,” he said. “They generate a lot of their offense from being in good defensive position and they have the speed and skill to go with that.”
The team is ready to finish off its away streak with a strong showing.