With high hopes abound for the 2017-18 season, Cornell men’s hockey announced Thursday that senior forward Alex Rauter and junior forward Mitch Vanderlaan will co-captain the squad looking for a return to the ECAC championship and NCAA tournament.
The team also announced senior forwards Trevor Yates and Jared Fiegl will serve as alternate captains. This year marks the first time since 2010-11 Cornell has gone with the format of a pair of co-captains.
Rauter, the senior captain, enters his final year with the team after a junior season which saw his role increase tremendously. The New Jersey native became one of the Red’s go-to penalty killers while also setting career highs in goals (eight) and assists (nine). He was one of 11 skaters to see the lineup every game last year — a list that includes all four captains — while alternating between his natural forward position and also defense when called upon due to injuries to the blueline. Rauter spent his summer at the San Jose Sharks development camp.
Vanderlaan, the only junior of the quartet, is fresh off an All-Ivy second-team campaign which saw him leading the team in goals with 15 and points with 28. The compact, 5-foot-7 forward is the first junior to be named captain since John McCarron ’15 was selected for the post in 2013-14. Immediately since arriving on campus in 2015, Vanderlaan has been an impact player, never missing a game in his two seasons so far and currently serving as the program’s leading active point-scorer.
Like Rauter, Yates enters his senior year following a breakout junior season, which saw him double his career point total with 12 goals and 10 assists — the former of which ranked second on the team. Yates’ success has come on the power play, as eight of his 12 goals last season came on the man-advantage. And as the team got deep in the season last year, so did Yates — the Quebec native put up nine points in a 10-game stretch from Feb. 3 to March 10.
Fiegl, a draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes, rounds out the group of four selected to lead the team in 2017-18. Not especially known for his point-scoring, Fiegl has instead made his name with his grittiness, earning the team’s Iron Man Award last year by battling through injury to appear in all 35 games. But while he may not score often, Fiegl makes it count when he does. His resume includes a game-tying goal against then-undefeated and No. 1 Providence in 2015-16, a game Cornell eventually won in overtime, as well as the first goal in last season’s Nov. 18 comeback win over Princeton.
This quartet of captains will be tasked with leading a nationally-ranked No. 15 Cornell team, selected by both the coaches and media to finish third in the ECAC standings, back to the conference championship weekend and the NCAA tournament.
The four upperclassmen will get their first chance at donning the C’s and the A’s in two exhibition games against Canadian schools the weekend of Oct. 14. The regular season begins two weeks later, Oct. 27, with a two-game home series against Alabama-Huntsville.