Cornell tops year-end poll for first time in program history
ITHACA, N.Y. – The Cornell men’s hockey team has been named the #1 team in the season-ending USCHO Division I Men’s Hockey Poll.
Though the season was cut short to help in the efforts to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Big Red essentially accomplished all that it possibly could have in 2019-20. By finishing the season with a 23-2-4 record, Cornell’s winning percentage (.862) led the nation for the second time in the last three years. It’s also the nation’s highest winning percentage at season’s end since 1993, when Maine won the national title.
“One of the things we instill within our program is to not waste time and energy on things you can’t control – and the sudden end to the year is one of those things,” said Mike Schafer ’86, the Jay R. Bloom ’77 Head Coach of Men’s Hockey that was recently named ECAC Hockey’s Tim Taylor Coach of the Year for a record fifth time. “It’s disappointing to not have a crack at the postseason, but we’re still very thankful for the season that we did have and appreciate being voted #1.”
Cornell proved to be a juggernaut that went 18-2-2 in league play, which gave it a five-point cushion for first place and a 38-point total that hasn’t been seen in the league since Cornell posted an identical ECAC Hockey record in 2005.
As usual, Cornell finished among the top defensive teams in the country. The Big Red ranked second in the nation in team defense by surrendering a paltry 1.55 goals against per game — including a remarkably low 24 even-strength goals in 29 games. But what’s brought the Big Red back among the national elite of late is a deep, potent offense that scored 104 goals in 29 games. That average of 3.59 goals per game ranked sixth in the country and was the highest posted by Cornell since 2002-03.`
Though the Big Red was unable to delve into its postseason because of the season’s abrupt conclusion, it was able to lock up its third consecutive Ivy League and Cleary Cup titles in February.