Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Cornell improves upon its fifth and sixth place rankings a year ago.

September 24, 2017

Men’s Hockey Picked to Finish 3rd in Preseason Polls, Ranked No. 15 in Nation

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Fresh off a third-place regular season finish and an appearance in both the ECAC championship and NCAA tournament, Cornell men’s hockey was picked to finish third in ECAC by both the coaches and media, receiving one first place vote in each poll. No Cornellians were forecasted to land on the all-conference teams.

Picked to finish above Cornell are Harvard in first and Quinnipiac in second. All top three teams advanced to last year’s ECAC tournament, with the only remaining participant, Union, falling significantly in this year’s rankings to sixth. The Dutchmen have lost the team’s and conference’s top scorers — Mike Vecchione and Spencer Foo — to the NHL.

Cornell was also ranked No. 15 in the first poll ahead of the season, sandwiched between Quinnipiac at No. 14 and Union at 16. Reigning national champion Denver, Boston University, Minnesota, Harvard and UMass Lowell round out the nation’s top five.

Last year, Cornell was picked to finish fifth and sixth in the media and coaches’ poll, respectively, but fought through a tough, travel-heavy first half of the season to finish third with a 13-4-5 conference record and 21-9-5 record overall.

Though Cornell will have to replace eight seniors this season as opposed to four the year before, the team is aided by the fact that it returns its top three goal-scorers and a relatively untouched defensive corps. Junior Mitch Vanderlaan looks to build off a sophomore season where he led the team in both goals and points. Classmate Anthony Angello finished second in goals and just two points behind returning senior Trevor Yates, who more than tripled his 2015-16 production last year.

On the blue line, All-Ivy first-team defenseman Yanni Kaldis returns for his sophomore year after seeing heavy ice time as a newcomer. Alec McCrea, Matt Nuttle and Brendan Smith also return for their junior seasons after McCrea continued to play valuable minutes and the latter two saw their roles increase last season. Senior Ryan Bliss, who logged top-four minutes as a sophomore, reenters the lineup after he was sidelined for the 2016-17 season due to injury.

Ten freshmen will join the team this upcoming season, two of which have been drafted by NHL teams to bring the team total up to six. Of the 10 newcomers, two goalies join the lone returning netminder senior Hayden Stewart after the departure of Mitch Gillam ’17. Stewart has appeared in 15 games and notched two shutouts, but it’s unclear who will get the starting nod come first puck drop.

Cornell’s preseason kicks off Oct. 14, with a pair of exhibition games against Canadian schools. The home-heavy start to the regular season begins Oct. 27 with a two-game home series against the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

ECAC Preseason Polls:
Coaches                               Media
1. Harvard (9)                     1. Harvard (25)
2. Quinnipiac (1)               2. Quinnipiac (3)
3. Cornell (1)                      3. Cornell (1)
4. Clarkson (1)                   4. Princeton
5. Princeton                        5. Clarkson
6. Union                               6. Union (1)
7. St. Lawrence                 7. Yale
8. Yale                                   8. St. Lawrence
9. Dartmouth                     9. Dartmouth
10. Rensselaer                   10. Rensselaer
11. Colgate                          11. Brown
12. Brown                            12. Colgate

All-Conference Selections:
Coaches                                              Media
G – Merrick Madsen, Harvard      G – Merrick Madsen, Harvard
D – Adam Fox, Harvard                  D – Adam Fox, Harvard
D – Chase Priskie, Quinnipiac       D – Chase Priskie, Quinnipiac
F – Ryan Donato, Harvard             F – Joe Snively, Yale
F – Joe Snively, Yale                        F – Ryan Donato, Harvard
F – Veronneau, Princeton              F – Max Veronneau, Princeton

USCHO Preseason Poll:
1. Denver (48) – 998
2. Boston University – 837
3. Minnesota – 822
4. Harvard (1) – 744
5. UMass Lowell – 711
6. Minnesota Duluth (1) – 642
7. North Dakota – 632
8. Notre Dame – 611
9. St. Cloud State – 547
10. Penn State – 530
11. Providence – 494
12. Wisconsin – 414
13. Boston College – 366
14. Quinnipiac – 286
15. Cornell – 279
16. Union – 215
17. Air Force – 203
18. Minnesota State – 198
19. Ohio State – 180
20. Northeastern – 172
20. Western Michigan – 172