ITHACA, N.Y. — ECAC Hockey announced Sunday that freshman Matthew Galajda has been named the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year.
Galajda has wasted little time establishing himself as one of the nation’s top goaltenders, backstopping Cornell to its first Cleary Cup since 2005. While he remains the national leader in goals against average (1.43) and shutouts (nine), his numbers within ECAC Hockey play this year were even better. His 1.34 goals against average in league play was the lowest since Cornell’s own David McKee in 2004-05 (1.17). It’s also the lowest goals against average by a freshman in league play since those statistics became available in the 1978-79 season.
Seven of Galajda’s nine shutouts so far this season came within his 20 starts in ECAC Hockey play, plus last night’s 22-save blanking of Quinnipiac to close out a Cornell sweep in the ECAC Hockey Championship quarterfinal series at Lynah Rink. His nine shutouts have blown away the previous Cornell record for most clean sheets by a freshman, and his shutout streak of 227 minutes, 11 seconds back in January was the second-longest such streak in Big Red program history and 13th all-time on the NCAA Division I list.
With postseason awards continuing to roll in, Galajda has already been named the Ivy League Player of the Year, Ivy League Rookie of the Year, and a unanimous first-team All-Ivy League selection, a semifinalist for the 2018 Mike Richter Award. He is also a finalist for the ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Year and ECAC Hockey Player of the Year, with those honors expected to be released in the next few days.
This is the ninth time Cornell has claimed the league’s top rookie since the honor’s inception in 1962, with the last being forward Brian Ferlin in 2012. The only other time a Big Red goaltender has won the award was in 2004, when David McKee shared the accolade with Brown’s Brian Ihnacak. Other finalists for this year’s ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year honors were Clarkson’s Jack Jacome and Quinnipiac’s Odeen Tufto.
Galajda and the rest of the Big Red are back in action at 4 p.m. Friday, when it takes on Princeton in the semifinals of the ECAC Hockey Championships at 1980 Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid.