No. 10 men’s hockey (4-1-1, 2-1-1 ECAC) will look to bounce back after a couple of shaky showings against Dartmouth (2-1-3, 2-0-3 ECAC) and Harvard (1-1-3, 1-1-3 ECAC), the latter which presented Cornell with its first loss of the season.
“In the game against Harvard, the will was there, the want was there, but we got result-driven,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “When you get into that game, you want to win so bad that you start to do too much…and things start to break down.”
The Red will look to get back on track with two road matchups against tough ECAC rivals, including defending national champion Quinnipiac (7-3-1, 3-0-1 ECAC) on Friday and Princeton (2-1-1, 2-1-1 ECAC) on Saturday.
The last time Cornell faced the Bobcats, the Red took down, at the time, the No. 1 ranked team in the NCAA in a 4-0 shutout.
Taking down Quinnipiac this time will be no easy feat. The No. 7 Bobcats penalty kill ranks second in the NCAA, allowing just two on 39 opponent attempts. Cornell has allowed five goals on the PK so far, including three this past weekend. The Bobcats have also posted some impressive performances thus far, including a 6-0 walloping of then No. 19 Harvard.
“I think when you look at last weekend, all four of the goals we’ve given up on the power play have all been rebound goals, like pucks popped out to the side,” Schafer said. “We have to do a better job of collapsing into the net and picking up sticks on those rebound chances.”
The Red’s matchup with Quinnipiac will also bring a familiar face, when Zach Tupker ’23, now a grad transfer at Quinnipiac, faces his former team.
“Zach’s a tremendous kid,” Schafer said. “He was a great leader for us…Quinnipiac’s fortunate to have him, he pays attention to detail, he works hard [and] competes hard.”
Tupker compiled 21 points in 86 career games for the Red and was named as a finalist for ECAC Hockey’s Best Defensive Forward Award in 2023. This season, Tupker’s been a strong defensive presence, chipping in for six assists so far.
“It’s unfortunate that he’s on their side and not ours….he’s doing a good job [so far] and [I] wouldn’t expect anything else,” Schafer added.
Cornell will also look to tap into its offense further after going a combined one-for-10 on the power play over the weekend. This is easier said than done, as Quinnipiac ranks second in the nation in opponent goals against per game with a 1.73 average, second only to Cornell, whose opponents average a mere 1.33 goals per game.
Saturday’s matchup against the Tigers will be one for the Red to gain momentum going into the brief Thanksgiving break. Cornell has taken eight out of the last 10 matchups against Princeton, which has a very small sample size of games to attest to their strength. They rank second in the nation on the power play, but have only received 13 opportunities, while other high-ranking teams have gotten upwards of 40 power play chances.
Cornell will look to capitalize this weekend and earn six big ECAC points before shifting gears to next Saturday, where they will play in their biennial Red Hot Hockey contest against Boston University at Madison Square Garden.
Puck drop on Friday is slated for 7 p.m. in Hamden. The Red will then travel down to New Jersey to take on Princeton at the historic Hobey Baker Arena for a 7 p.m. puck drop Saturday night.