The quickest route from Ithaca to East Lansing crosses through Ontario, which is no problem for citizens of the U.S. and Canada. But sophomore forward Max Andreev, a Moscow native, can’t cross in and out of Canada so easily.
“As soon as I heard that we’re going to have to bus to Canada I was like ‘Yeah, Schaf, I don’t think I can go through Canada,’” Andreev said of his conversation with his coach, Mike Schafer ’86.
Cornell may be the Ivy League school with a Big Ten heart, but its athletic department doesn’t have a Big Ten budget. So instead of chartering a plane like its upcoming opponent did for its trip to Ithaca last season, the team is bussing the eight hours each way to East Lansing, Michigan, for its season-opener against Michigan State.
But while his American and Canadian teammates are spending Wednesday night in London, Ontario, after an early-evening departure from Cornell, Andreev has a different non-luxurious travel itinerary: The Moscow native will sleep in Ithaca on Wednesday night and meet his teammates in Michigan after an early-morning flight out of Ithaca.
Though it caused a bit of a headache, Andreev isn’t too disappointed to be flying while his teammates take a bus.
“I get to fly on Thursday because I’m a Russian citizen and Russian citizens are not allowed to go to Canada without a visa,” he said, with a bit of sass presumably directed toward whichever international officials are responsible for his forced travel shakeup. “The only nice part about being a Russian.”
News and notes
Associate head coach Ben Syer, who filled in for Schafer at the team’s media availability on Tuesday, said he won’t know until later in the week regarding the status of players who missed exhibition games.
Schafer said after the game against the U.S. NTDP Under-18 team on Saturday that freshman forward Matt Stienburg and junior forward Cam Donaldson were almost good to go. There’s still no update on defensemen junior Cody Haiskanen and sophomore Joe Leahy.
Rookie defensemen impress:
Whether or not Haiskanen and Leahy can suit up, Cornell is expecting immediate contributions from its freshmen on the blueline — and in the preseason, the newcomers on the back end haven’t looked out of place.
Coaches and teammates were especially high this week on freshman Sam Malinski, who saw substantial time on the power play in exhibition games and will likely see big minutes on the blueline starting this weekend.
“I thought the freshmen D thus far have done very well when they’ve been called on in different situations,” Syer said. “I think these guys have come in and earned the respect of their teammates and shown that they can eat some of those minutes [left open by the graduation of three defensemen].”
Scouting Michigan State:
The Spartans enter the weekend 2-2 on the season, having split a pair of series at Northern Michigan and Colorado College. Last season, Michigan State’s ‘KHL’ line was one of the best in the country, with center Patrick Khoderenko — who had 18 goals and 37 points last season — flanked by Mitchell Lewandowski and Taro Hirose.
But Hirose, a Hobey Baker finalist a year ago, left school early for the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. Meanwhile, the Spartans recently split up Lewandowski and Khoderenko, giving the 2019-20 iteration of the Big Ten team a different look.
“They got a couple guys that return from last year that are extremely talented players up front,” Syer said. “They got two twins on the back end, the Krygiers, that are extremely tough, very physical. I think you’ll see a lot of what you saw last year in Lynah, it’s a similar makeup.”
After detailing his travel plans, Andreev may have accidentally insulted his team’s upcoming opponent, but said he looks forward to facing a team that plays a different style of hockey.
“It’s really a different style of hockey from what we’re used to in the ECAC so it will be nice to see how we match up against them because they’re trying to play pond hockey, as we call it,” Andreev said. “They don’t want to play defense, they’re trying to get going on offense as much as possible.”
Galajda glad to be back
After his sophomore campaign came to an abrupt end following a knee injury in the ECAC championship game, junior goaltender Matt Galajda is excited to finally retake the ice on Friday night.
“It was definitely a tough way to end last year; it really sucked, but after having a good summer, getting back on the ice and getting some more confidence, it was definitely a lot of fun to play in those exhibition games, just getting back out there and playing hockey again,” Galajda said.
What they’re saying in East Lansing:
Michigan State coach Danton Cole after his team’s recent win over Colorado State, in which it scored three goals in the first 6:48 of the first period: “We came out and we had some chances and the puck went in the net, which was nice because we’ve hit a lot of posts. That was important for our psyche — you get a few to go and you feel a little better about yourself and loosen up and play better. I was very happy with that.”
Cole on the team’s 2-2 start on the road: “We’re 2-2 on the road and it’s not bad. I’m kind of greedy — I’d love to be 3-1 or even 4-0, but the games we did lose, they were there for us [to win] but we have to get a little better every game and tighten up.”
TV, radio, game times:
The games at Munn Ice Arena are set for 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. A stream is available for a fee via BTN+, and the game will be on the radio in Ithaca on WHCU (870 AM, 97.7 FM).