Leilani Burke/Sun Staff Photographer

Zach Tupker will reunite with his twin brother Ben on Saturday night.

February 2, 2023

Men’s Hockey Starts Homestretch with RPI and Union

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With four weekends remaining in its season, men’s hockey will host RPI and Union at Lynah this weekend.

After a grueling travel weekend at Dartmouth and Harvard, Lynah will be a welcome sight. Cornell settled for a split last weekend, beating Dartmouth on Friday night before falling to Harvard.

“The guys were unhappy with how they played, and it carries an edge to practice when you’re disappointed in yourself and disappointed in the result,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. 

The series will start a stretch of home games for Cornell – five of the Red’s next six games will be played at Lynah, and the only road game will be played at nearby Colgate. 

“It’s definitely something really nice, playing in front of the Lynah Faithful,” said senior defenseman Sebastian Dirven. “Limiting the travel is really nice… the bus rides get pretty long and the body gets a little tight so it’s nice to have the facilities here to treat the body well.”

In terms of conference standings, the Red (13-7-1, 10-4 ECAC) is standing at third in the ECAC and will look to grab all six points against two teams that sit toward the bottom of the conference. The top two teams in the conference – Quinnipiac and Harvard – will play this weekend, which will give Cornell an opportunity to gain ground.

This weekend will be the second time in just a few weeks that Cornell faces RPI and Union, which is uncharacteristic of the ECAC schedule. Despite the short turnaround, the Red isn’t approaching the weekend any differently.

“It doesn’t factor in too much,” Schafer said. “At this time of year, teams all play different ways and different systems in the neutral zone, defensive zone, powerplay, penalty kill.”

Cornell will battle RPI (10-15-1, 5-9 ECAC) on Friday. The Red defeated the Engineers 6-4 on January 7th. It will be RPI’s first trip to Lynah since a lopsided 11-3 Cornell win in November 2021. Cornell will look to continue that offensive mindset after a slow weekend against Dartmouth and Harvard.

“We definitely have some familiarity with the goalies there,” said senior forward Zach Tupker. “I think guys will come in having confidence that they can beat these goalies, which is huge.”

The same can be said about Saturday’s game against Union – Cornell was the victor in a dominant 6-1 match in Schenectady on January 6th. However, after Union (10-14-2, 4-9-1 ECAC) recently beat RPI 6-0, the Dutchmen are not to be overlooked and underestimated. 

“It’s definitely not something we’re taking lightly,” Tupker said.

Saturday night will feature the return of Ben Tupker, who spent three years and two seasons with the Red. He’ll make his first visit back to Lynah as an opponent, battling against his twin brother Zach.

“The first game was pretty special, and the second game is kind of even more [special] where it’s on the line,” Zach noted. “[Ben’s] pretty excited, we’ve got a lot of high school friends and family coming up for the game.”

With every game mattering as the end of the season nears, emotions will be high.

“There’s a lot of pride coming along with this weekend for sure,” Tupker said.

Puck drop at Lynah is set for 7 p.m. on Friday against RPI and 7 p.m. Saturday against Union.