As if the glory of beating Harvard in dramatic fashion wasn’t enough, Cornell men’s hockey will have another accomplishment to celebrate Monday afternoon, earning the No. 6 and 5 spots in the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls, respectively, following a weekend sweep over the Crimson and Dartmouth.
Resembling the only undefeated team left in the country, Cornell also earned four first place votes in the USCHO poll and five in USA Today poll, a total second to only No. 1 Denver’s 43 and 25, respectively.
Monday’s ranking in the USCHO poll is the highest for the Red since March 22, 2010, which came only after the team captured the ECAC championship over Union, and it’s the team’s highest mark in the USA Today poll since Feb. 1 of the same year.
For the first time in 46 years, Cornell has started the season 6-0, which includes a pair of wins over higher ranked teams — then-No. 5 Harvard, which has now dropped to No. 13/11, and then-No. 11/12 Quinnipiac, which is now unranked.
A major part of Cornell’s success has been the special teams. The Red’s penalty kill sits at No. 1 in the country, giving up just one goal in the 30 times it had been called upon. And at goalie, a bit of a question mark heading into the season, the team has found a more-than-capable starter to rely in rookie Matt Galajda. The freshman has earned the job between the pipes, posting two shutouts in six career starts while boasting a 1.32 goals against average — second best in the country — and a .942 save percentage — fourth-best in the country.
Cornell, never one to live too much in the rankings, knows there is plenty left to improve on heading into another big weekend home series against newly-anointed No. 8/7 Clarkson and St. Lawrence.
The weekend gets underway against St. Lawrence Friday night at 7 p.m.