ITHACA, N.Y. — ECAC Hockey announced Tuesday that for the third time this season, freshman goaltender Matthew Galajda has been named the league’s Rookie of the Week.
The nation’s leader in goals against average (1.47) and shutouts (eight) continued his fine form last weekend, backstopping the Big Red to a pair of home victories against Brown and Yale. He made 25 saves in the 2-1 win on Friday over the Bears, including four in a frenetic final 20 seconds in which Brown had pulled its goaltender in favor of an extra attacker. The Bears cleanly won a faceoff and set up a blast from the point, and chaos ensued – but Galajda dind’t break, snagging a backhander by Zach Giuttari at the buzzer to secure the victory. He then stopped 30 shots the following night against the Bulldogs, including a blocker save on Dante Palecco’s first-period breakaway.
For the week, Galajda’s 1.50 goals against average was tied for best in the league, and his .948 save percentage ranked second. Now 18-3-2 on the season, Galajda continues to lead the nation in victories for freshman goaltenders.
The honor was Galajda’s sixth weekly ECAC Hockey award of the season. In addition to being named the circuit’s top rookie three times over just the last four weeks (Jan. 29, Feb. 13, Feb. 20), he has also been tabbed the top goaltender three times (Nov. 14, Jan. 23, Feb. 13). He is also the reigning Hockey Commissioners’ Association Goaltender of the Month, the ECAC Hockey Rookie, and the league’s Goaltender of the Month for January.
Currently ranked second in the nation in both the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls and sitting atop the ECAC Hockey standings, Cornell can clinch sole possession of the Cleary Cup – awarded annually to ECAC Hockey’s regular-season champion – with a tie or victory in either game this weekend. The Big Red will look to avenge an earlier loss to Rensselaer at 7 p.m. Friday, then shuttle across state Route 7 to take on second-place Union at 7 p.m. Saturday in the regular-season finale.