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Cornell Seeks 13th ECAC Hockey Championship This Weekend

For the sixth time in the last seven years, the Cornell men's hockey team will be at the ECAC Hockey Championship weekend.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – For the sixth time in the last seven years, the Cornell men's hockey team will be at the ECAC Hockey Championship weekend when the Big Red takes on top-seeded Union at 4 p.m. Friday at 1980 Rink - Herb Brooks Arena. A second semifinal later in the day will pit Colgate against Quinnipiac, with the winners advancing to Saturday night's championship game.

ABOUT THE BIG RED
After finishing the regular season fourth in the ECAC Hockey standings, Cornell advanced to the semifinals in dramatic fashion with a 1-0 overtime victory in Game 3 of a quarterfinal series against fifth-seeded Clarkson. Leading scorer Brian Ferlin (13-14–27; 6 PPGs; 6 GWGs) provided the winner in the 13th minute of overtime, jamming a forehand shot from close range under the left arm of the Golden Knights' goaltender. Senior goaltender Andy Iles (16-9-5, 2.11 goals-against average, .921 save percentage) made 23 saves for his first shutout of the season and the ninth of his career, having started 100 of the Big Red's last 101 games dating back to the 2011 league championship game. ... Linemates Joel Lowry (7-17–24) and captain John McCarron (7-17–24) are tied for second in team scoring, followed by junior defenseman Joakim Ryan (7-16–23). Ryan is 11th in the nation in points per game for blueliners (0.74) and is one of the Big Red's three All-Ivy League First Team selections. ...  Cornell is undefeated when scoring first (12-0-3) and has not lost when leading after any period (8-0-3 after one; 13-0-1 after two; 3-0-5 after three).
 
BLANK YOU VERY MUCH
Cornell has recorded at least one shutout in each of the last 19 seasons – a streak that was kept alive with Sunday's 1-0 overtime victory against Clarkson in Game 3 of the ECAC Hockey Championship quarterfinals. The last time the Big Red went a full season without posting a shutout came during the 1994-95 season under former coach Brian McCutcheon, as Cornell finished that year 11-15-4. The following year marked the first season for current head coach Mike Schafer, and his clubs have never gone a full year without recording a shutout.
 
SITTING ATOP THE IVY
With its win Feb. 22 at Princeton, Cornell locked up the outright 2014 Ivy League championship. It's the second time in the last three years the Big Red claimed the Ivy crown, the 17th time its done so outright and the 21st time overall in program history. Cornell came up just short of even more history when a 1-0 loss to Dartmouth on Feb. 28 proved to be the squad's only loss against the Ancient Eight this season. Just three times in program history has the Big Red completed the Ivy League schedule undefeated. The last time Cornell was unbeaten in Ivy games was 1996, when it was 9-0-1 in Mike Schafer's first season as the Big Red's head coach. The other two occasions were in 1969 and 1970.
 
THE PUCK STOPS HERE
Senior goaltender Andy Iles made history with 3:16 left in the second period on Feb. 28, setting the program record for career saves when he stopped a shot by Dartmouth's Nick Bligh from the right circle. While it was far from the most difficult stop in Iles' career, it was the 2,874th save of his Big Red career – a program record. Now with 2,962 stops entering play this weekend, Iles has surpassed the old mark set by current Edmonton Oilers starting goalie Ben Scrivens (2,873).
 
ABOUT UNION
The two-time defending league champions are primed to make a run at a third straight, currently riding an 11-game unbeaten streak after a quarterfinal sweep of Dartmouth. Union has climbed all the way to second in both national polls and is essentially a lock to be the top seed in the NCAA tournament's regional in Bridgeport, Conn. next weekend. The Dutchmen won the ECAC Hockey regular-season title with just three losses in 22 league games. ... Senior winger Daniel Carr (20-20–40; 6 PPGs) leads the team in scoring, followed by junior Daniel Ciampini (18-15–33). Senior Mat Bodie (4-25–29) and junior Shayne Gostisbehere (8-20–28; 4 PPGs) are two of the top defensemen in the league. ... Junior Colin Stevens (1.95, 22-4-2, .931) handles the bulk of the team's goaltending duties.
 
THE SERIES WITH UNION
Friday's game will be the 56th all-time meeting between the Big Red and Dutchmen, with Cornell holding a 32-16-7 lead in the series. The Big Red holds an 9-4-2 advantage over the teams' last 15 meetings, though the Dutchmen swept the regular-season series between the teams this year. Playing without top center Cole Bardreau and coming off a hard-fought tie the night before at Rensselaer, Cornell mustered just 11 shots on goal in a 3-0 loss Nov. 9 at Union's Messa Rink. The Dutchmen then came to Lynah Rink and secured a 4-1 victory on Feb. 14. Jake Weidner scored his first collegiate goal on a first-period breakaway for the Big Red. Mike Schafer is 23-12-6 against Union in his tenure as the Big Red's head coach.
 
POSTSEASON SERIES WITH UNION
Even though the Big Red and Dutchmen have co-existed in ECAC Hockey since the 1991-92 season, they have only met twice before in the playoffs. The first clash came in a quarterfinal series in 2008, with Cornell earning a road sweep. Both games finished 3-2, with the Big Red scoring the winners on third-period power plays. The last time the teams met in the postseason was 2010, when Cornell defeated Union in the ECAC Hockey Championship, 3-0, at Albany, N.Y.
 
LET THE POSTSEASON AWARDS BEGIN
While the year-end ECAC Hockey honors won't be doled out until next week, the Ivy League handed out its postseason awards March 6 – and there is a strong presence from the Big Red. Senior goaltender Andy Iles was named the Ivy League Player of the Year and was one of three Cornellians on the All-Ivy First Team alongside junior forward Brian Ferlin and junior defenseman Joakim Ryan. Iles, who was also named to the first team in 2012, is Cornell's first Ivy player of the year since goaltender David McKee in 2005. Ryan was one of just two unanimous first-team selections after being named to the second team in 2013. Ferlin was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2012, was also placed on the second team that season. The last time Cornell had three first-team representatives was 2010, when it won the program's 12th ECAC Hockey championship. Junior forward John McCarron also earned All-Ivy Honorable Mention.
 
POLLS PROSE
The Big Red slipped one spot to 13th in both the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine and in the USCHO.com polls this week. More importantly, the Big Red has falled all the way to 16th in the PairWise Rankings, which are used to help determine which teams qualify for the NCAA tournament. That would most likely place Cornell outside the NCAA field, which means the team likely will need a strong performance this weekend to continue its season. The Big Red has been ranked as high as eighth in the USA Today/USA Magazine poll, ninth in the USCHO.com poll and sixth in the PairWise Rankings.
 
BRINGING BACK THE POWER
The Big Red ended an 11-game slump on the power play in a Feb. 22 win at Princeton. Cornell was 0-for-32 on the man advantage before Brian Ferlin and Jacob MacDonald both scored power-play goals to lead Cornell to its second road sweep in a four-week span. The Big Red's power play is still converting at a respectable 17.9 percent clip (ranked 30th in the country), despite just the three goals over the last 53 opportunities.
 
AND THE WINNER IS ...
Senior Andy Iles was named the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week for a third time this season on Feb. 25 after stopping 64 of 66 shots in an impressive road sweep of Quinnipiac and Princeton. Iles' other two weekly honors came after games against Yale and Brown (Nov. 26 and Feb. 4). The Big Red also had the league's Rookie of the Week on Feb. 4, when freshman Jeff Kubiak was honored for scoring his first collegiate goal against Yale and adding two assists on the weekend, and Dec. 3 after goaltender Mitch Gillam scored a goal in his collegiate debut.
 
NOT JUST A DEFENSEMAN
Junior blueliner Joakim Ryan enters the week ranked 11th in the nation in points per game for defensemen (0.74). Just six games into the season, Ryan had already equaled his goal total from all of last year with three. Two of his strikes came in a 3-3 tie Nov. 8 at Rensselaer. He led the team with 20 assists last season and was tied for third in points with 23. Over the last two years, he has been on the ice for 86 of the team's 158 goals (54.4 percent). The production was nothing new for the San Jose Sharks draft pick, who set a program record for goals by a freshman defenseman in 2011-12 with seven.
 
CLASS-Y GUY
Andy Iles is one of 10 national finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, which is presented annually to an NCAA Division I senior that has notable achievements in four areas of excellence — community, classroom, character and competition. Iles is continuing the program's tradition of highly decorated goaltenders, having been named the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year (2011) and an All-Ivy League First Team selection (2012). Outside of the rink, he has been involved in a service trip with the Portal De Belen Foundation to Don Juan, Dominican Republic, and is the organizer and planner of the Cornell Hockey Teddy Bear Toss, which donates proceeds to Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes and the Franziska Racker Centers. He is also a five-time member of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Dean's List and carries a 3.78 cumulative grade point average. Iles is one of just two Ivy League student-athletes to make the list of finalists (Brown's Dennis Robertson is the other).
 
FIVE-ON-THREE PROWESS
There are few situations in hockey more dire than when a team is facing a two-man disadvantage, but the Big Red has made a habit of rising to the occasion in those scenarios. Cornell is a perfect 15-for-15 killing off a two-man disadvantage over the last two seasons, spanning a total of 13 minutes, 12 seconds. The last time Cornell surrendered a five-on-three goal was against Yale on Feb. 11, 2012.
 
IRON MAN
Andy Iles started 80 consecutive games in goal for the Big Red, spanning all of the last two seasons and the final game of his freshman campaign, before the streak came to an end Nov. 26 with Mitch Gillam getting the nod against Niagara. Iles' 80 consecutive starts are tied for fifth in NCAA Division I history, leaving him 24 games a familiar leader. Cornell's Ben Scrivens holds the current record of 104 consecutive starts from 2006-10. Iles was one of just two goalies to be used exclusively by his team in 2011-12, with Minnesota's Kent Patterson being the other. By starting and finishing all of the Big Red's games that season, Iles became the first goalie at Cornell to accomplish that feat since Darren Eliot in 1982-83, and the first Cornell sophomore to do so since Laing Kennedy in 1960-61 — when the season was just 19 games long.
 
FEEL THE DRAFT?
Cornell has seven players on the roster who have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft, including one pick from last June. Freshman forward Matt Buckles became the first Cornellian to be selected by the Florida Panthers, when the NHL's southern-most team nabbed the Toronto native in the fourth round with the 98th overall selection. Other NHL draft picks on the team include defensemen Reece Willcox (Philadelphia Flyers), Joakim Ryan (San Jose Sharks) and Kirill Gotovets (Tampa Bay Lightning; has since been traded to the Chicago Blackhawks) and forwards John McCarron (Edmonton Oilers), Brian Ferlin (Boston Bruins) and Joel Lowry (Los Angeles Kings).
 
GOLDEN AGAIN
Junior forward Cole Bardreau won a gold medal while serving as an assistant captain for the United States at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. He then scored a goal and added an assist in his first game back with the Big Red last weekend against Union. It wasn't the first time Bardreau's earned gold with the U.S. either — he also wore an "A" while capturing gold at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship in April 2011. Junior defenseman Joakim Ryan was also among the 45 players who started in camp for the United States before the roster was trimmed in advance of the World Junior championships.
 
GLOBAL INFLUENCE
The Big Red has 14 players on the roster born in the  United States. Cornell also now has players native to seven different countries on its squad. Aside from the bulk of its roster hailing from the United States and Canada, Cornell also has a player from Belarus (Kirill Gotovets), Denmark (Christian Hilbrich), Finland (Teemu Tiitinen), Singapore (Dustin Mowrey) and South Africa (Armand de Swardt).
 
THE 35th TO 350
Already the winningest coach in program history, Mike Schafer hit 350 victories for his career — all of which have come from behind the Big Red's bench — with a 4-2 win over Princeton on Nov. 1. He became the 35th coach all-time to rack up 350 victories across all NCAA divisions, with four of them passing the milestone last season (Ferris State's Bob Daniels, Connecticut's Bruce Marshall, Notre Dame's Jeff Jackson and Quinnipiac's Rand Pecknold). Schafer is also just the third coach to pass 350 victories with Ivy League tenure, joining Ned Harkness (Cornell, Union and Rensselaer) and Tim Taylor (Yale).
 
NOW THAT'S A STREAK
It has been 1,546 games since the Big Red has been shutout in back-to-back contests. The streak dates back December 1963 with games vs. Clarkson and St. Lawrence.
 
COLLECTING HARDWARE
While forward Cole Bardreau became the first Cornell player to earn gold with the U.S. at the IIHF World Junior Championships, goalie Andy Iles was the first to earn a medal with Team USA. Iles claimed bronze at the 2011 tournament in Buffalo, N.Y., with the only player before him to compete with the United States being goaltender Jean-Marc Pelletier in 1998.
 
FOR THE RECORD
With three consecutive shutouts in November 2011, Andy Iles recorded the second-longest shutout streak in program history, spanning 213 minutes, 35 seconds over a five-game span. The only Cornell shutout streak that went longer was posted by Los Angeles Kings goalie Ben Scrivens, who held the opposition scoreless for 267:11 during the 2010 playoffs. But Iles wasn't done there — he posted back-to-back shutouts against St. Lawrence and Clarkson on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3, respectively, spurring a other lengthy shutout streak of 152:36 that ranks ninth all-time in Big Red history. His success has stretched into the postseason, as evidenced by a career-high 46 saves in a March 9 double-overtime victory against Dartmouth. Iles was third in the nation with six shutouts and 10th in goal-against average (2.12). He also set a record for longest streak in ECAC Hockey play of 286:54 from November 2011 to January 2012.
 
CLOSER TO HOME
Hometown fans of the Big Red got a rare treat when goalie Andy Iles became the first Ithaca native to play for the team since Mike Tallman in 1988-89. Forward Kevin Cole then made his collegiate debut in 2011, marking the first time in at least 50 years — and perhaps the first time in program history — that two Ithaca natives have played for the Big Red in the same season. Yet another Ithaca area connection came on board last season when the Big Red added 6-foot-4 defenseman Craig Esposito, who is also from Lansing and also competes on Cornell's men's golf team.
 
INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE
Junior Kirill Gotovets got a taste of the big time when he was selected to represent his native Belarus in the 2010 IIHF World Championships — not an age group World Championships (though he did play for Belarus at the U20 World Championship as well) — playing against some of the best players the world has to offer. He played in three of Belarus' eight games at the World Championships.
 
UP NEXT
The semifinal winners will advance to Saturday's championship game. If the Big Red doesn't win the league title, there is still a chance its season could continue at the NCAA tournament, which starts with regional play March 28-30.

(CU Athletics)
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