After Cornell men’s and women’s hockey simultaneously achieved the No. 1 ranking on Feb. 24 for the first time in school history, they ended the season with the same distinction.
In the final USCHO.com poll, the men and women occupied the top spot in their respective rankings. The polls were released after both of the team’s seasons were cut short in the middle of the postseason in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
For the women, this marks the first time in program history that they have slotted in at No. 1 in the season-ending poll. While the Red’s final game of the season ended up being a loss to Princeton in the ECAC Championship, it still accumulated a myriad of accolades.
Cornell went undefeated in ECAC play (19-0-3), resulting in an Ivy League title and an ECAC regular-season title. The Red boasted the nation’s best winning percentage (.932) and also earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. As Cornell was gearing up for its first-round matchup against Mercyhurst, the NCAA canceled the tournament, denying the Red a shot at its first national title.
Meanwhile, the men achieved similar success. Cornell notched the No. 1 ranking on Jan. 13, but shaky play that culminated in a blowout 5-0 loss to Quinnipiac saw the Red unseeded from the top spot on Jan. 31.
The Red responded with a vengeance though, dominating its opponents throughout February to enter the postseason on a nine-game winning streak. After earning both the Ivy League and ECAC regular-season titles, Cornell looked poised to claim its first Whitelaw Cup since 2010, as well as make a run in the NCAA Tournament.
Unfortunately, those dreams were dashed as the ECAC Tournament and NCAA Tournament fell into an ever-increasing line of cancellations. Several teams withdrew from the conference tournament, and the ECAC eventually pulled the plug. The NCAA followed suit, and Cornell’s season ended before it even took the ice for the postseason.
“One of the things we instill within our program is to not waste time and energy on things you can’t control – and the sudden end to the year is one of those things,” men’s head coach Mike Schafer ’86 told Cornell Athletics. “It’s disappointing to not have a crack at the postseason, but we’re still very thankful for the season that we did have and appreciate being voted No. 1.”