The Boston University Men’s Hockey Team (4-8-2, 3-5-2 HE) will travel south to the “most famous arena in the world” in New York, New York to face the Big Red of No. 10 Cornell University (7-1) in the eighth rendition of “Red Hot Hockey” at Madison Square Garden.
The Terriers, who seem to be moving towards a bit more of a hot streak, are coming off four straight games with points against ranked teams in UMass Amherst and Northeastern, losing in a shootout to UMass before taking them down in overtime the following night, and then facing similar results against the Huskies with overtime and shootout losses this past weekend.
Despite the seemingly bad results, the Terriers dramatically outplayed their opponents, but struggled to get pucks past UMass’ Matt Murray and NU’s Devon Levi. Levi was recently named Hockey East Rookie of the week after stopping a combined 71 shots through the weekend, and essentially won both games for his squad.
Heading into the game against the Big Red, BU will need to bring a heightened level of aggression and offensive production to get through Cornell’s netminder. The Big Red have two solid candidates to start in the crease with freshman Joe Howe and senior Nate McDonald putting up impressive numbers with 1.75 and 1.98 goals against averages and save percentages at .922 and .907, respectively.
In past years, Cornell seemed to be more of a defensive team, but their veteran upperclassmen, who last played in the 2019-2020 season when Cornell sat at the top of the polls, have seemed to step up in the beginning of a wild season for the Big Red. They never fell out of the top three between November 4 2019 through the abrupt end of the season in March of 2020.
Senior Max Andreev and junior Matt Stienburg lead their group with 12 and 11 points, joined on the top line by freshman Ondrej Psenicka.
As a team, the Big Red are off to a flaming hot start, scoring 32 goals and only giving up 15 in eight games. Compared to BU, the Terriers have scored 33 and given up 43 in 14 games. While the numbers are a little disheartening, it’s worth noting that Cornell had an 11-goal game against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on November 13, and whether that’s a testament to an aggressive Cornell team or a fluke from RPI is unknown, the Big Red are on a five game win streak, looking for more.
The numbers and record are painting a different picture of this Terrier team compared to the game they’ve actually been playing. With hard defensive games against ranked teams, BU is itching for a regulation victory with all four of their most recent games requiring more than the typical 60 minutes.
Junior forwards Wilmer Skoog and Robert Mastrosimone still lead the squad with 11 points each, followed by blueliner Domenick Fensore with eight and sophomore Dylan Peterson with nine. In what has been an injury-ridden start, the team is looking to build on the past two weekends with the return of junior Jay O’Brien two weeks ago against UMass and Luke Tuch who inched back in for the Northeastern series. Since his return, O’Brien has two goals and an assist.
After the Northeastern game, Head Coach Albie O’Connell commented on his defense’s impressive drive to stop pucks and clear the zone. “Best weekend of Cade Webber’s career, [Joseph] Campolieto was dynamite, and I thought all 16 played well,” O’Connell noted.
Also looking ahead to the series against Cornell, O’Connell mentioned that Matt Brown may be available which will hopefully bring some much needed energy and scoring production to the big stage.
Cornell and BU have a long history as rivals, meeting 48 times. The Big Red hold a 25-20-3 record over the Terriers, and defeated BU in 1967 for their first ever national championship. Since the first rendition of Red Hot Hockey, BU has a 5-3 record over Cornell, falling most recently in 2019 in a 2-0 shutout.
“We’ll have some good team time. And then we’ll head down to New York City on Friday and try to beat the Big Red. That sort of venue and that game and that stage, guys will be ready to go for that,” O’Connell said.
The Boston University Alumni Association will also be hosting a pregame party for Terrier fans at Stout NYC starting at 6 pm with tickets sold separately here. The BHB will have coverage on Instagram @Boston.Hockey.Blog and on Twitter @BOSHockeyBlog, with a recap and quotes from Coach O’Connell after the game.