Aaron Snyder/Sun Sports Editor

Cornell will look to rebound after a tough loss to B.U. on the road.

January 19, 2023

Men’s Hockey Hosts No. 1 Quinnipiac and Princeton in High-Stakes Weekend

Print More

Men’s hockey will start the spring semester by hosting No. 1 Quinnipiac and Princeton this weekend.

For the second year in a row, Quinnipiac will come to Lynah as the top-ranked team in the country to open the spring semester. Last year, Ben Berard’s two goals led Cornell past the Bobcats in overtime. This year’s Bobcats squad looks even better than the team that Cornell swept in the season series last year.

The Red will be tasked with regrouping after a last-second loss to B.U. last weekend delivered a blow to its playoff chances. Cornell’s current position of 14th in the Pairwise would put the Red at risk of being left out of the 16-team NCAA tournament field after bids are awarded to conference winners. A win – or even a tie – against the Bobcats, who will enter the weekend ranked second in the Pairwise, would help Cornell reestablish its claim to an at-large bid.

Friday’s game against Quinnipiac will be an important opportunity for Cornell to make moves in the Pairwise, and Saturday’s game against Princeton will have major implications on the ECAC standings. The Tigers are currently just two points behind Cornell.

Friday’s contest will be a matchup of two of the nation’s best defensive teams. The Bobcats allow 1.73 goals per game, which is the fewest in the country. Cornell ranks fourth, with an average of 2.18 goals allowed per game.

Behind Quinnipiac’s stout group of blue liners is one of the best goaltenders in the country in Yaniv Perets. The sophomore’s numbers are not as eye-popping as they were last year, when he posted a .936 save percentage and a 1.17 GAA, but he has still been dominant. Perets ranks third in the country with a 1.67 GAA and his save percentage is sitting at .922. Perets and the Bobcats shutout Cornell in Hamden in November.

Sophomore goaltender Ian Shane and Cornell’s defense will be tasked with shutting down Quinnipiac’s potent offense. The Bobcats have scored an average of 4.14 goals per game this season, which is second in the nation. Quinnipiac has four skaters who average more than a point per game, including sophomore Collin Graf, who is third in the nation with 1.5 points per game.

The two teams met at Quinnipiac in November, where the Bobcats won 2-0. Quinnipiac is a perfect 12-0 in ECAC play and has not lost a game since Oct. 22 when it suffered its lone loss of the season at Maine.

On Saturday night, Cornell will welcome Princeton to Lynah. The Tigers (10-9, 6-7 ECAC) have climbed up to fourth place in the ECAC standings and have gone 8-3 over their last 11 games after a 2-6 start to the season. Cornell defeated Princeton, 3-1, in November in the Red’s first win of the season.

Princeton will enter the weekend just two points behind Cornell in the ECAC standings. The Red is just three points clear of fifth-place Colgate, and only the top four teams in the conference get a bye in the first round of the ECAC tournament.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. on Friday against Quinnipiac and 7 p.m. Saturday against Princeton.