Sophomore forward Tristan Mullin had the Red's seventh goal on Sunday.

Boris Tsang / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Sophomore forward Tristan Mullin had the Red's seventh goal on Sunday.

October 21, 2018

Notebook: Men’s Hockey Thrashes Guelph in Final Exhibition Game

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Cornell men’s hockey made use of its final tune-up exhibition game before the start of the regular season by putting on a display of domination against Guelph Sunday at Lynah Rink. Twelve Cornell skaters recorded at least one point and seven players each scored a goal en route to the Red’s 7-0 victory.

In a game that saw 13 total penalties, Cornell made use of its special teams units to score a power play goal and two shorthanded goals as Guelph was left scrambling to put any sort of pressure on the home juggernaut.

Dominant penalty killing
Scoring goals is one way to kill penalties, and Cornell recorded two shorthanded tallies while killing one minor penalty in the second period. First, nifty passing on a 2-on-1 rush between junior Noah Bauld and senior Beau Starrett set up Starrett for a top-shelf snipe. Moments later, Bauld forced a turnover in the Cornell zone and took it all by himself for a shorty of his own.

But the Red’s most impressive penalty killing display of the game came earlier, when two Cornell minors just 19 seconds apart set up a Guelph 5-on-3 that lasted 1:41. Some key shot blocking and a few nice saves by sophomore goaltender Austin McGrath allowed the Red to fend off the Guelph offense’s most sustained attack of the afternoon.

“The amount of blocked shots we had on the 5-on-3 was outstanding,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “And that’s what you look for from your team. That they’re willing to sacrifice even in an exhibition game. They’re willing to do the right thing at the right time.”

In total, the Red killed off seven minor penalties across all three periods — a crucial part of what allowed them to keep the affair so lopsided.

Offensive opportunities
For all the scoring Cornell did Sunday there were plenty of near-misses in the offensive zone. Winning 7-0 is impressive no doubt, but it felt as though Cornell could easily have scored several more goals than it did.

“We had a big push in the first period, and I just thought after that was for us kind of an average hockey game,” Schafer said. “We couldn’t capitalize on a lot of chances like we did last week. We missed a couple of wide-open nets.”

Last week against Laurentian, Cornell notched five power-play tallies in 11 opportunities. Against Guelph Sunday, the Red mustered just one in six tries.

The Red seems to have found a pair of power-play units, at least for now. Sophomore defenseman Yanni Kaldis, sophomore forwards Tristan Mullin and Morgan Barron, freshman forward Michael Regush and senior forward and captain Mitch Vanderlaan took the ice at the start of most early power plays for the Red, and were followed by sophomore defenseman Alex Green, junior defenseman and alternate captain Alec McCrea, senior forward Beau Starrett, freshman forward Max Andreev and sophomore forward Cam Donaldson.

These are nearly identical to units employed last weekend, except that Donaldson took the place of Bauld, and could forecast what Cornell throws out for next week’s season-opener against Michigan State.

“I really liked our pace coming through the neutral zone on our power play breakout,” Schafer said. “We had some good looks on the entries, guys moving around.”

Forward thinking
Although Cornell’s forward lines are far from set in stone, the Red’s groups looked good Sunday. Sophomore Brenden Locke centered a productive line with freshmen Chase Brakel and Liam Motley. In the first period, the line scored a goal, hit the post and drew a penalty.

The Barron-Regush-Mullin line also produced a first-period goal, with Mullin and Barron earning the assists on Regush’s tally. Starrett’s line with junior Connor Murphy and Bauld — and on which extra forward Zach Bramwell also saw time — recorded Cornell’s fourth first-period score.

“We’ve played together a bit for a couple of weeks now and we’ve been together on the power play, so we’ve just been trying to click and it’s starting to come together,” Regush said of his chemistry with Barron and Mullin.

The Cornell line which could be a preview of a “top” line was the only one that didn’t score in the first period. Vanderlaan, Andreev and Donaldson all played meaningful power play minutes, however. Andreev had the primary assist on Donaldson’s power-play snipe.

Sophomore Kyle Betts and junior Jeff Malott both didn’t play due to minor injuries (Betts didn’t play in Saturday’s red-white scrimmage and Malott wore a blue “no contact” jersey). Schafer said these two could have played but there was “no need,” and they’ll be available Friday.

As a team, Cornell did well on faceoffs, winning 38 to Guelph’s 26. Barron fared best, winning eight of his nine attempts at the circle. Starrett took 17 draws in total, winning nine.

Worth noting
All three goaltenders played once again, with sophomore Matt Galajda getting the start this time around. Galajda had very little work to do, saving both shots he saw in the entirety of the first period. McGrath was the busiest of the day, making 11 saves in an impressive showing in the second period. Nate McDonald played the third and made seven stops.

“Nate’s a great guy, we all get along well so it’s really good to have that competition, everybody pushes each other,” McGrath said of his battle with McDonald for the No. 2 job.

Freshman Zach Bramwell played against his brother, Connor. The two both started the game, and matched up for the opening faceoff.