Hoping to rebound from a 4-0 trouncing at the hands of the Sacred Heart Pioneers, the Boston University men’s hockey team (4-5-5, 3-3-4 Hockey East) will travel to New York City to take on the No. 2 Cornell Big Red (8-0, 6-0 ECAC) in Red Hot Hockey at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
As one of two teams left in the national rankings with an undefeated record, the Big Red come into this contest with the nation’s third-most goals per game (4.50) and a power play that is working at a 33.3 percent clip, the second-best in Division I. As is the case for all Ivy League teams, the Big Red began their season a little after the rest of Division I as they have played six fewer games than BU. For the Terriers, their 3.07 goals per game are good enough for 21st in D-I with a power play percentage of 21.43 percent, 19th in the nation.
With as high-flying of an offense as Cornell has, head coach Mike Schafer’s squad is stingy defensively as well with a mere 1.50 goals-against per game (second in the nation), compared to Albie O’Connell’s Terriers, who allow 3.07 goals per game. Both squads have been below average on the penalty kill, as BU ranks 45th with a percentage of 77.59, and Cornell is right behind at 46th, working at 77.42 percent. The Terriers also take an average of 13.64 penalty minutes per game, the 15th-most in the nation.
Individually, the Terriers have been top-heavy in terms of who the production is coming from for the most part this season. All three members of the top line, including Patrick Curry (9g, 6a), Trevor Zegras (4g, 9a) and Patrick Harper (5g, 11a), are all averaging a point per game or better. Curry’s nine tallies are tied for the third-most in the nation, while Harper is tied for the seventh-most points.
Not to be forgotten is junior top-pair defenseman David Farrance, who is on a tear to start the season. Along with nine assists through 14 games, he is tied for the fourth-most points (19) nationally and second-most goals (10), leading all defensemen in both categories. His eight power-play tallies are also tied for the most in Division I.
For the Big Red, production has been a bit more balanced in the early proceedings of their season with junior forward Morgan Barron leading the charge, totaling six goals and six assists for 12 points. Five more skaters sit at point per game or better for the Big Red, including defensemen Alex Green (3g, 6a) and Sam Milinski (2g, 7a) as well as junior forward Brenden Locke (3g, 6a).
In net, junior Matthew Galajda has been sensational for Cornell, matching the team’s perfect 8-0 record, while boasting the third-best goals-against average in the nation (1.50). His .935 save percentage is also tied for the ninth-best mark nationally. For the Terriers, graduate transfer Sam Tucker has backstopped BU with a 2.69 GAA, a .910 save percentage, and a record of 4-3-5.
Hungry to get back in the win column, the Terriers look to have their hands full on Saturday night against a Cornell team aiming to stay hot at Red Hot Hockey. The Big Red won the last edition of this biennial event 4-3 in 2017, and the Terriers got their revenge in the national tournament later that season.
Puck-drop on Saturday night is slated for 8:00 p.m. Brady Gardner will be traveling south to provide you with everything you need to know through articles and in-game coverage on our live blog and Twitter (@BOSHockeyBlog).