Friday, November 16, 2018

Weekend Preview: Cornell/Colgate

Craig Martin and the Quinnipiac Bobcats head to Cornell & Colgate this weekend

Cornell Head Coach: Mike Schaefer (24th Season) 441-250-91

2018-2019 Cornell record: 4-2 (2-0 ECAC)

All-time vs. Cornell: Cornell leads 22-16-3

Cornell Key Players: Mitch Vanderlaan (F), Morgan Barron (F), Cam Donaldson (F), Max Andreev (F), Michael Regush (F), Yanni Kaldis (D), Alec McCrea (D),

Headline: How Sweep It Is. That was the Cornell Daily Sun on Monday March 12, 2018 two days after Cornell dispatched Quinnipiac with ease in the ECAC Quarterfinals headlined by a 9-1 thrashing in Game 1. That headline has been in the Quinnipiac locker room all summer from all reports and now the time has come for redemption up in Ithaca, NY this weekend when Quinnipiac takes on Cornell at Lynah Rink in a matchup of ranked teams. Fast forward 8 months and the undermanned Quinnipiac team that got beat up has completely changed with 12 new faces that have helped Quinnipic off to a 7-2 start. After dropping its first two games to Michigan State, Cornell has bounced back and won four straight to come into this match-up at 4-2. Per the Cornell Daily Sun, the Big Red will be without junior forward Jeff Malott, Sophomore defenseman Alex Green while Brenden Locke and Brendan Smith are both questionable for the game.

Despite losing three of their top four scorers and no one that scored more than 10 goals, Cornell still possesses some good talent up front. Mitch Vanderlaan and Morgan Barron are two talented players up front along with sophomore Cam Donaldson. A pair of freshman in Max Andreev and Michael Regush have impressed for the Big Red. The Cornell power play has been solid this season at 20%.

Cornell had some early defensive issues in the series against Michigan State that they looked to have corrected in the last four games only allowed seven goals in those four wins. With Alex Green sidelined and Brendan Smith questionable to play, the Big Red defense will get challenged a bit this weekend and will rely a lot on Alec McCrea and Yanni Kaldis to keep things together. The teams penalty kill has been a weakness so far only killing 70.8% of opposing teams power plays. That will need to improve as Quinnipiac possesses a solid power play at 24.4% and will look to add to that this weekend.

Matthew Galajda was the goaltender and rookie of the year in the ECAC and a first team All-American a season ago and was a big part of the Cornell success a year ago. This season he had a sub .900 save percentage (.880) and a 2.71 goals against but that was due to two poor games against Michigan State. Since those two losses he has a goals against of 1.75 more in line of what we all know Galajda is as a player. Expect him to be on his game this weekend and for those Michigan State games to be just a blip on the radar this season.

Colgate Head Coach: Don Vaughan (26th Season) 409-426-99

2018-2019 Colgate record: 2-6-1 (0-1-1 ECAC)

All-time vs. Colgate : Quinnipiac leads 21-15-2

Colgate Key Players: Bobby McMann (F), Adam Dauda (F), Josh McKechney (F), Jared Cockrell (F), Nick Austin (D), Trevor Cosgrove (D), Mitch Benson (G)

Don Vaughan's team is coming off a respectable 17-17-6 campaign one year after bottoming out at 9-22-6. With the team is expected to improve they got the surprise news that star goaltender Colton Point was leaving after his sophomore season to turn professional with the Dallas Stars organization. Without Point in net that left a huge void that was expected to be a strength for the Raiders this season. The team has gotten off to a slow start at 2-6-1 but that is more because the offense has really struggled this season.

Offensively this team has been challenged this year to score goals. In nine games played this season they have only scored ten goals. That just is not going to cut it if they want to have success this season. They need more scoring from the likes of McMann, Dauda, McKechney, Cockrell among others if they want to start winning games. The power play for Colgate has been dismal as well at 11.8%. If the offense doesn't turn it around soon it could be a long season in Hamilton, NY for the Raiders.

Colgate's defense has been up and down this season. They have had games where they have looked solid and games where they have looked very poor. As a team they are giving up over three goals per game which is not a recipe for success. The defense played solid against Ohio State last weekend only really giving up three goals in two games. The fourth goal was an empty net goal. That should give them some confidence heading into a tough weekend series against Princeton/Quinnipiac who are sure to have an onslaught of shots. The penalty kill also needs to show improvement as its sub 80% at 75.9

Filling Colton Points shoes is a major task and not one that Colgate likely expected after last year. Freshman Mitch Benson has gotten the majority of the time in goal and has a .919 save percentage and 2.59 goals against average in eight games played. He's one of three freshman goaltenders on the roster for the Raiders this season and the one that is expected to get the start in goal for this weekends games.

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