This post will be updated.
It’s not just playoffs but awards season for the Cornell men’s hockey program. After an accolade-heavy 2017-18 season, Cornell will look to earn some more hardware along with the Ivy championship and Cleary Cup, with individual awards set to be announced in the coming weeks.
Follow along with this post for a running list of each Cornell finalist and award winner.
Ivy League Coach of the Year Winner: Mike Schafer ’86
Schafer is the Ancient Eight’s top coach for the second straight year after leading Cornell to a pair of consecutive Ivy titles and a 7-2-1 record in 2018-19, the league announced March 13. Schafer is now the first coach to capture the honor multiple times since the award first began in 2016.
First-Team All-Ivy League: Sophomores Austin McGrath, Morgan Barron, Junior Yanni Kaldis.
Three Cornell players have been honored as first-team All-Ivy, the league announced March 13. Barron, a breakout forward for the Red this season, has shown stellar play in all areas on the ice, excelling at faceoffs and special teams and leading Cornell in scoring this season. Barron’s is the team’s top line and includes his classmates Brenden Locke and Cam Donaldson.
Kaldis, one of Cornell’s most talented defensemen, earns his third consecutive first-team selection — a first for Cornell since future-NHL star Matt Moulson ’06. Kaldis represents a complete defenseman who leads the team in ice time and leads units on both the power play and the penalty kill while remaining a dynamic part of the Red’s offense this season.
McGrath started just seven games in goal this season in relief of his injured classmate Matt Galajda. Fortuitously, he happened to start in four of the Red’s Ivy contests. Despite the fact that all Ivy League schools with hockey programs also compete in the ECAC, only Ivy League statistics are considered for the awards within the Ancient Eight, so McGrath’s solid performances are enough to land him a spot on the list. In his four Ivy starts, the sophomore netminder posted 1.94 goals against and a .925 save percentage.
Honorable Mention All-Ivy: Senior Mitch Vanderlaan and Sophomore Cam Donaldson.
Two of Cornell’s top forwards, Vanderlaan and Donaldson are each dynamic offensive contributors. For Vanderlaan, the team captain, it’s his third All-Ivy selection and his second straight honorable mention. For Donaldson, it’s his first All-Ivy selection which he earned despite missing a pair of league games due to injury.
ECAC Goaltender of the Year Finalist: Sophomore Matt Galajda
Galajda is the ECAC’s reigning goaltender of the year, after posting a 2017-18 season that catapulted him near the top of the list of best goalies in the entire country. Now, after struggling with injuries mid-season, Galajda has returned as a finalist for the award named for Cornell’s own Ken Dryden ’69, the conference announced Wednesday.
After his early-season struggles and mid-season injury, Galajda leads all goaltenders in the conference with 1.59 goals against average and a .934 save percentage since Jan. 1. In that time span, the Ontario native has posted eight wins including three shutouts. For his efforts, the league named him goaltender of the month for February.
ECAC Best Defensive Forward Finalist: Sophomore Morgan Barron
Barron paces the Cornell roster in goals, points and shots, but it’s his defensive aptitude that is being recognized as he has been named a finalist for the ECAC’s Best Defensive Forward, the league announced March 12.
Barron’s duties lie on both the power play and penalty kill, and along with classmates Cam Donaldson and Brenden Locke, his line has distinguished itself as the team’s most dependable, often finding itself paired up against other teams’ top lines. A participant in every game so far this season, Barron’s plus-10 rating ranks third on the team.
The last Cornellian to win the award was Jake Weidner ’17, who won it in the 2016-17 campaign.
Winner of the award is set to be announced Tuesday, March 19. The other finalists are Cole Maier of Union and Nico Sturm of Clarkson — the reigning award-winner.
ECAC Best Defensive Defenseman Finalist: Senior Matt Nuttle
After entering Cornell an offensive-minded defenseman and playing just two games his freshman year, Nuttle’s night-and-day evolution has earned himself a spot as a finalist for Best Defensive Defenseman award in the ECAC, the league announced March 12. Nuttle has helped anchor a Cornell defense that has conceded less than two goals per game and under 25 shots on goal per game.
A fixture on the team’s penalty killing unit, Nuttle paces all Cornellians in plus/minus this season at plus-17, which is good enough to be tied for No. 5 in the conference. The alternate captain has played in every game this season, and alongside his 53 blocked shots, his offense has continued to evolve, too: he’s racked up two goals and 14 assists for a career-high 16 points so far this year.
Alec McCrea, Nuttle’s classmate and fellow alternate captain on the blueline, won the award last season.
Winner of the award is set to be announced Tuesday, March 19. Chase Priskie of Quinnipiac and Greg Moro of Clarkson are the other two finalists, and all three hail from the top defenses in the ECAC.
ECAC Coach of the Year Finalist: Mike Schafer ’86
For the second time in as many years, Cornell’s bench boss has been named a finalist for coach of the year in the ECAC, the conference announced March 11. Schafer won the Tim Taylor Coach of the Year award last season, and should he win this year, it would be his fifth time as the recipient.
In the 2018-19 campaign, Schafer faced a much tougher path than the 2017-18 season but still guided Cornell through an injury-riddled season to a second consecutive Cleary Cup for best regular season finish, this time in the form of a shared title with Quinnipiac. The Bobcats’ Rand Pecknold and Clarkson’s Casey Jones ’90 are the other two finalists for the award — the three teams occupy the top three spots in the ECAC standings.
The winner of the award is slated to be announced Tuesday, March 19.