Seven players competed for the Meco Cup, one competed at the US National Winter Camp and the others returned early to Ithaca to get ready for a trip to Boston. The ECAC still has an uneven number of games played with Quinnipiac and Princeton at 12, Cornell, Colgate, RPI, and Union at 10, Harvard and Dartmouth at 9, and Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Brown and Yale at 8. So while Harvard is undoubtedly first in the league, still unbeaten, Quinnipiac has played two more games than Cornell so the one point differential is not troubling. Cornell has a lot of ECAC games to improve its standing in the second half.
The next games that the Big Red play are against #9 Northeastern on Saturday and #3 Boston College on Sunday before returning to Lynah to host Syracuse. This Roundup will look at what Cornell needs to do in order to best each of these three teams. The next Roundup will recap what happened and look to ECAC play yet again against North Country teams.
The first Hockey East opponent of the weekend is the Northeastern Huskies. Northeastern goes into the game at 11-7-2. And they are not an opponent to be trifled with. While they lost soundly to St. Lawrence, they defeated then-2 Clarkson last weekend in a close (4-3) game. Admittedly Clarkson was down players (two of which were competing in Germany at the Meco Cup), but either way, it was a well-fought game at Cheel. Northeastern boasts the seventh-best power-play unit in the country, at 25 percent. Cornell's for comparison is 19.6. Northeastern also boasts one of the best penalty-kill units, coming in at fifth, right after Minnesota, Harvard, Cornell and CHA team Robert Morris. Northeastern's kill percentage is 89.2 percent while Cornell's is 90.5. Northeastern averages 32.5 shots per game and allows 28.5. Their goaltender is fair, with a save percentage of 0.908. Cornell is going to need to pepper their goaltender with shots and stay out of the box. Cornell averages 4 more minutes in the box than Northeastern. If they do this, they will be able to take on Northeastern.
Boston College Eagles
The Lady Eagles are 14-3-2 this season, having just played in the North Country opposite the Huskies before the mid-week game against Northeastern. The difference was, Boston College took two wins out of the weekend. BC beat Clarkson in a convincing 5-1 rout of the team which managed to down Cornell. However, it was St. Lawrence that would provide the tougher challenge for Boston College as the Saints pushed the game into overtime before the Eagles claimed the 4-3 victory. BC decidedly trounced Northeastern 6-2. BC is currently ranked number three in the nation. Their three losses thus far have come to Boston University, the University of New Hampshire, and Minnesota-Duluth. Boston College is no slouch of a team. As one of the least penalized teams in the nation, their penalty kill is ninth in the country (Cornell is three), but their power play is second at a staggering 32.4 percent. If the goal for the Northeastern game was to stay out of the box, it is even more so for the Boston College game. The Lady Rouge are the third-most penalized team in the country and will need to limit those penalties as much as possible when playing the Eagles. Their goaltender is more than solid, topping out with a save percentage of 0.926 (merely 0.002 above Slebodnick). Goaltending will not be an issue for the Eagles, but the penalties will most certainly be.
Syracuse is currently 10-8-1, but they will play two more games before facing Cornell on Tuesday. They just trounced the Big Red's travel partner Colgate 6-0, and will follow up their run-up to Ithaca playing a weekend series against Mercyhurst, an opponent the Big Red will see later this season. Syracuse is a team the Big Red usually take for granted as a win, but all of their losses this season have been by two goals or fewer, excepting one 5-2 win by Northeastern. How Cornell plays against Syracuse will say a lot about both teams this year. Syracuse's power play is at 17.1 percent, much less impressive than the Boston opponents that Cornell will face first, but no less menacing. Syracuse likes to take a lot of shots, not unlike the Big Red, but the Big Red likes to keep their opponents well below that in terms of shots. The Lady Rouge should be able to defeat their Orange neighbors so long as they manage to take them seriously and play their own game.
Points (as of January 10)
19 - Jenner
18 - Saulnier
12 - Rougeau
10 - Woods
9 - Cudmore
8 - Fortino, Gagliardi
7 - Fulton, Murray
6 - Brown, Campbell
5 - Zorn
4 - Barley-Maloney, Leck, Poudrier
1 - Pittens, Richardson, Slebodnick