Editor’s Note: This story was written by and republished with the permission of the Big Red Sports Network, which provides excellent Cornell sports coverage throughout the year for alumni, parents, students and fans everywhere.
After coming off an exciting weekend where the team picked up a win and a loss against two ECAC rivals, the Big Red will take on the Raiders from Colgate University in what looks to be another thrilling ECAC match-up. This past weekend, the Big Red a win against Harvard in a game that had tensions running high.
While the game began with the Lynah tradition of students throwing fish (both Swedish and real) on to the ice, it ended in dramatic fashion when freshman forward Eric Freschi netted the winning goal with 41 seconds remaining to lead the Big Red to victory. Cole Bardreau and Christian Hilbrich scored the other two goals in their 3-2 victory.
Unfortunately for Cornell, the momentum did not last as Dartmouth took control the following night with a 5-2 win. Cole Bardreau and Matt Buckles each picked up a goal in the loss. Coach Schafer described the team’s play against the Big Green as “extremely frustrating,” referring to the goal Dartmouth was able to score at the very beginning of the game when he believed that they had been mentally sharp. In any event, this weekend is a big one for the Big Red as they split the series with Colgate by starting in Hamilton, NY on Friday and coming back to Lynah Rink to finish the series on Saturday.
Colgate has been playing decently well in the ECAC. Ranked fifth, they have picked up ECAC wins against Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Brown, Princeton, and Union. Leading the way for the Raiders have been two forwards Tyson Spink, and Kyle Baun. Both Spink and Baun are juniors and have netted ten goals apiece this season with Baun adding eleven assists and Spink notching ten. Senior Joe Wilson is not too far behind with seven goals and seven assists, while defensemen Spiro Goulakos and Ryan Johnston each contributed eleven assists. The Raiders beat their opponents on average in almost every statistical category including penalties, goals, power plays, and shot attempts. Last year, Colgate tied and beat Cornell in their two conference meetings. In between the pipes for the Raiders is the same guy who was there a year ago: sophomore Charlie Finn has a .921 save percentage and a total of 561 saves on the season.
Cornell has played inconsistently all season long. However, this weekend could be the opportunity they have been waiting for. For the first time this season, the Big Red will be able to play an ECAC team twice in one weekend. Cornell has had numerous players shine throughout the season thus far, and this past weekend was no different.
Two standouts of both the weekend and the season are Cole Bardreau and Christian Hilbrich. Hilbrich leads the team in goals with six, while Bardreau leads in assists with nine. Both players have been remarkable when it comes to making things happen and bringing up the energy on the ice. Jake Weidner, who has added eight goals and two assists, has also been an offensive standout on the ice. Joakim Ryan and Patrick McCarron have been the backbone behind the blue line for the Big Red, while Jacob McDonald and Ryan Bliss have also been playing exceptionally well. McCarron, however, is out with an injury so this may become a problem for Cornell as time goes on.
While there has been a lot of good play on the ice, there also seems to be a lack of leadership for the Big Red. Much of the offensive production seems to be coming from the second, third, and fourth lines, while the first line (which usually consists of captain John McCarron, Joel Lowry, and John Knisley) has not been as productive or created as many opportunities. While Lowry has been the most productive on the line scoring four goals, he is expected to miss the remainder of the season due to injury. With Lowry out, others are going to need to step up to fill the shoes of the senior forward. Cornell has still not settled on a permanent goalie. This past weekend, Mitch Gillam played against Harvard while Hayden Stewart was in net during the loss to Dartmouth. While Gillam has played more throughout the season and has a slightly better save percentage, Coach Schafer is not ready to call him the next Andy Iles just yet.
Cornell will take on the Colgate Raiders on Friday night at 7 PM at Starr Rink, followed by a Saturday night game at 7 PM at Lynah.