Preseason Top 16: #6 Cornell
Cornell pulled an upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament over Michigan, and were a goal away from advancing to the Frozen Four.
It was the best of times….
Cornell had two separate 7 game unbeaten streaks this year, the latter of which featured a tie and a win over eventual ECAC champions Union.
It was the worst of times…
Other than their season ending loss to Ferris State, Cornell's worst stretch was a 5 game winless streak that preceded (and coincided with) their big unbeaten streak. The winless stretch featured the Big Red being swept by Colgate.
The Coach - Mike Schafer (Cornell '86)
Schafer is the 12th head coach in Cornell history, and has been at the school since 1995. he has taken Cornell to 9 NCAA tournaments, and he is the winningest coach in Cornell history. He has won 3 regular season conference titles and 5 ECAC tournament titles at the school.
Notable Current NHL Alumni
Players to watch
Junior goalie Andy Iles had a .919 save percentage overall and a .922 mark in ECAC Hockey last year, which ranked 3rd in the league. He had a very impressive career with the NTDP and has continued that at Cornell. Although Union's Tony Grosenick has a higher save percentage, it would not be unfair to call Iles the most talented goalie in the league.
Cornell's big strength lies in its talented defensive corps. Nick D'Agostino had 8 goals and 20 points last year, which put him 6th in ECAC Hockey in defenseman scoring, and his 6 goals in league play were second only to Harvard's Danny Biega.
Joakim Ryan also showed off some impressive offensive skills from the blueline, scoring 7 goal sand adding 10 assists as a Freshman.
Half of Cornell's top 8 scorers were Freshmen last year, the most talented of which was Brian Ferlin. Ferlin had 8 goals and 21 points last season to rank second among ECAC Freshmen in scoring, and also second in goals. He also just narrowly missed inclusion on the United States' WJC team last winter.
As Cornell has grown into more and more of a national power, their recruiting classes have become better and better. This year is no exception: even though it is a small class, the Big Red are big on incoming talent.
Gavin Soick ('94) played for the NTDP last year, actually switching from forward to defense in his time in Ann Arbor. At 6'3", 215 lbs he will bring the physicality that the Big Red defense has become known for.
Christian Hilbrich ('92) will also bring some size, this time up front. He stands 6'6", 216 lbs and with 26 goals in 108 career USHL games he will most likely be depended on to be more of a defensive, physical presence for the Big Red.
Teemu Tiitinen ('92) served as Lincoln's (USHL) captain and also has the best name of any 2012 recruit. He is the first Finnish player in Cornell history and although he is smaller than Hilbrich he has the same type of work ethic and all around skills.
Non conference series to watch:
Cornell hosts Colorado College in the first series of the year, and while the Tigers may be doomed to struggle towards the bottom of the WCHA they still have a pretty experienced and talented lineup for the Big Red to contend with right out of the gate.
The Big Red have all the tools to be special. They did not lose a lot of talent or production, and were heavily reliant on Freshmen last season. Assuming Andy Iles does not take a big step back for some reason, and assuming most of the youngsters mature into even more dependable players, I will go out on a limb and predict that Cornell will be ECAC Hockey's second straight Frozen Four representative.