Series Record: 7-6-2 Cornell
Saturday, December 29
December 30, 2010; 3-2 OT Maine
In the last meeting between the two host schools of the Florida College Classic, Cornell and Maine met in the consolation game. In case no one else recalls the 2010-11 season, it was one where Cornell had four wins total in the first half of the season. This game was the last loss for the first half before Cornell went on a tear, won a first-round bye in the ECAC playoffs, making it to the championship final. Both teams failed to make the NCAA Tournament that year, but it marked a turnaround for a struggling Cornell team. Notable scorers included now-seniors Nick D'Agostino with a goal and Greg Miller with the assist.
To say that Maine has been struggling would be a huge understatement. Last year, Maine was the Hockey East runner-up, making it to the NCAA Tournament before losing to Minnesota-Duluth. This year could not have started more differently. Maine has two wins in the first half, against Army and UMass-Lowell. Two total wins on the first half. Eleven losses and two ties complete the record for the Black Bears that own a winning percentage at approximately 0.200 for the season so far. They will be looking to turn around their record this weekend at Estero.
Keys to the Game:
Maine is an abysmal 7.0% on the power play. The only team behind them in the country is Harvard. In addition to this, Maine is one of the most penalized teams in the country, coming in at fourth in overall penalty minutes per game. Their penalty kill on the other hand is middling at 83.3%. Cornell is going to need to capitalize on the penalty opportunities it will be afforded and not take for granted the even-strength opportunities it gets.
Maine is a co-sponsor of the Florida College Hockey Classic along with Cornell. The name of the Cup associated with winning the championship is the Ned Harkness Cup after Cornell's legendary coach. The MVP of the tournament is named in honor of Shawn Walsh, the Maine coach who led the Black Bears to two national championships. Maine and Cornell have won four and three Harkness Cups respectively over the eleven times the tournament has been held. Other winners include St. Cloud State, Boston College, Northern Michigan, and UMass-Lowell. The last year that Cornell won was 2008, with goaltender Ben Scrivens receiving the MVP Award. Maine won the inaugural tournament (then called the Everblades College Classic), having also won last year's match, beating UMass for the Cup.
This tournament is the only winter tournament that will be host to four teams who competed in the NCAA Tournament the previous year. Not only is that true, but both first-round matchups were rematches of games in the Tournament last year. Maine lost to Minnesota-Duluth in the first round while Cornell lost to Ferris State in the Midwest Regional Final. Maine often wins the year after Cornell does and vice versa. Never once has a team won back-to-back Harkness Cups, so should Maine defeat Cornell, it will be the first time in the history of the Florida College Hockey Classic.