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Cornell opens their season with a win over Michigan State

It was the first time since 1992 the Cornell men’s hockey team had so many newcomers in its lineup on opening night – but just like that night 27 years ago, those newcomers helped deliver a Big Red victory. Cornell fought off the early jitters and a pair of one-goal deficits on Friday night to storm back for a 3-2 victory over Michigan State at Munn Ice Arena.

“We were obviously shaky early on. You look out there and you see eight freshmen in the lineup, and I’m wondering how we ever got picked fourth in the country with so many young faces,” said Mike Schafer ’86, the Jay R. Bloom ’77 Head Coach of Men’s Hockey at Cornell. “But I think those young faces played really well, and the older crew knocked off the rust.”

Michael Regush congratulates Max Andreev after the latter's goal during the Cornell men's hockey team's 3-0 victory over the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 squad in an exhibition on Oct. 26, 2019 at Lynah Rink in Ithaca, N.Y. (Eldon Lindsay/Cornell Athletics)

It’s an annual rite of passage for the Big Red and the other five Ivy League schools that have hockey programs to play their first games of the season several weeks after the rest of the country. But this season saw an added pressure – both from the pure volume of new faces and from the fact that this very same Michigan State (2-3) team handed Cornell two shocking losses to start last season.

Special teams once again helped spur the Spartans. Both of their goals Friday came on the power play, bookending a strike from freshman forward Jack Malone. His power-play goal in the first period marked the second straight year that Cornell got its first strike of the year from a freshman.

The Big Red then got its last two goals from players who scored against the Spartans last year in a two-game series at Lynah Rink. Senior defenseman Yanni Kaldis got the first to clean up a scrum off a broken play on the rush to tie it.