Cornell men’s hockey dominated Canadian opponent Laurentian in an exhibition contest Saturday, 6-1. Six players scored for the Red and each goaltender saw a period of action as the team prepares for its Oct. 26 opener against Michigan State. The Red scored an impressive five power play goals in six man-advantage opportunities. Cornell dominated all night, allowing many players to see time on special teams units and a handful of freshmen to get on the score sheet. Here are some notes and thoughts from Lynah Rink:
Five freshmen were in the Cornell starting lineup for their first college hockey action. Freshman goalie Nate McDonald played the third period. Moscow native Max Andreev centered a line with classmate Zach Bramwell and senior captain Mitch Vanderlaan. Michael Regush played between sophomores Tristan Mullin and Morgan Barron and Liam Motley and Chase Brakel played alongside senior center Beau Starrett.
Hello from Lynah. Exhibition game number 1 for No. 7 Cornell men’s hockey tonight, vs. Laurentian. 5 freshmen forwards in the lineup. I’ll have occasional updates. pic.twitter.com/2I0WvlX21j
— Raphy Gendler (@raphy_gendler) October 13, 2018
“Traditionally I only like to have one freshmen on each line, but with three upperclassmen out tonight we had to play multiple freshmen on lines,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “Our lines were all over the place, they kind of won’t represent what we’ll have down the road.”
Bramwell and Brakel scored the Red’s fifth and sixth goals, respectively. Both came via primary assists from fellow newbies. Regush set up Bramwell for his tally, and Motley found Brakel to complete the Cornell six-pack.
“A bunch of [freshmen] got on the score sheet which is great but I think more importantly they were doing the little things right,” Barron said. “[Regush] played great down the middle on my line. There were guys on the power play, there were guys killing penalties … I know from being in their shoes last year it’s a good feeling to get the first game under your belt.”
Said Andreev: “[The freshmen] talked a little bit before the game and everyone said they’re excited [and] they want to play their best and show off their skills to the coaching staff because everyone’s trying to earn a spot in the lineup right now.”
Between the pipes
Sophomore Austin McGrath, who didn’t see any game action last season after the preseason, played the first period. Last year’s third-stringer allowed a goal less than three minutes in but settled in and finished with three saves.
Sophomore Matt Galajda, fresh off a stellar 2017-18 campaign in which he was the first ever freshman to be a finalist for the Hobey Baker award, pitched a scoreless second. Freshman Nate McDonald, presumably battling with McGrath for the No. 2 job, made seven saves in the third.
Laurentian had only 16 shots in the game compared to Cornell’s 54, and while a good sign in the defense department, Schafer would have liked to see more pucks sent toward his netminders.
“They didn’t get tested a whole lot,” Schafer said. “We’ll go back to it, watch them in practice and see how they preform, how they work in practice right now … They did a good job in the net but they weren’t tested a whole lot tonight.”
Cornell scored five power play goals against the Voyageurs and got even more special teams practice than it would’ve liked.
The third period was the power-play show. Since Cornell was on the man advantage nearly the entire period thanks to seven Laurentian penalties, many skaters saw time on the power play. Early in the game, however, two power play units got into a rhythm: Starrett, Andreev, junior forward Noah Bauld, sophomore defenseman Alex Green and senior defenseman and alternate captain Alec McCrea set up a quick Green goal on the Red’s first power play. This unit played together a handful of times in the first two periods.
Vanderlaan, Barron, Regush, Mullin and Yanni Kaldis made up the second early-game power play unit. Although these units may not exactly mirror a regular-season man-advantage group, they’re units that could play together going forward.
“[Power play] is something we want to improve on from last year, so we’ve been practicing it a lot and … it’s going to be important to keep putting pucks on the net,” Barron said adding of his unit with Vanderlaan, Regush, Mullin and Kaldis: “We’ve been practicing a little bit together, and I think the biggest thing we had out there was just a shooting mentality … we all have faith in our shot that we’re going to bury one.”
Schafer on the third-period special teams circus: “They just got run around in the third period … Zach Bramwell and Chase Brakel both scored power play goals. They hadn’t even practiced power play this week but they obviously showed the instincts to get pucks in the back of the net. After the second period we never used any of our guys on the power play that regularly play power play.”
Sophomore forward Brenden Locke, sophomore Cam Donaldson and junior Jeff Malott weren’t in the lineup and could see time on the power play in the future. Donaldson and Locke both saw power play ice time last year.
— Cornell Video (@CornellVideo) October 14, 2018
Centers of attention
Even with Locke not in the lineup, Cornell’s centermen impressed on Saturday night. Regush and Andreev, both freshmen, had two and one assists, respectively. Regush was 9-for-13 on faceoffs and Andreev was 4-for-6.
Starrett centered a line with two newbies. The six-foot-five Blackhawks prospect, who centered a line in all but one of the Red’s 33 games last year, had a power play goal.
Sophomore Kyle Betts saw lots of time on the Cornell penalty kill, a unit which successfully killed six minor penalties. Betts was 13-for-17 on the faceoff dot and played alongside junior Noah Bauld and a handful of other teammates on the PK.
Not in the lineup
Freshman Joe Leahy, freshman Misha Song and senior Ryan Bliss joined Donaldson, Malott and Locke as the scratches. Several of these players are “banged up,” according to Schafer. Bliss hasn’t played in the last two seasons, recovering from a long-term injury.
On Starrett’s goal in the second period, Galajda picked up a secondary assist. On a Cornell 5-on-3, Galajda played the puck to Barron, who found Starrett for the goal.
“[Galajda] was pretty excited about it,” Barron said. “I’m sure I’ll hear about it more in the next couple of days, he’ll want me to do it again.”
A goal that never was
Barron scored his second goal of the night with a few minutes remaining in the third period — or so it appeared. The puck went through the net, play continued and the goal never was recorded. Conveniently, the Red already led by five goals and Barron’s preseason stats don’t count anway.
“It is what it is, I thought we had a good game tonight and in hindsight we didn’t need that one,” Barron said.