The last time the Big Red men's ice hockey program opened the postseason on the road was in 1999, also at Princeton, but this time the results were better for Cornell. The ninth-seeded Red rolled into Hobey Baker Rink and rolled back out with a weekend sweep, including a 4-0 win in last Friday night's game 1, Andy Iles's second shutout of the season.
Cornell is now 6-1-1 in its last eight games, and heads back out on the road this weekend, for a quarterfinal matchup against the #1 seed Quinnipiac Bobcats. Atop the ECAC, Quinnipiac enjoyed a first-round bye, and is ranked first in the nation, but they're just 3-2-1 since St. Lawrence snapped their stunning 21-game unbeaten streak.
"Our guys will be up to the task," says head coach Mike Schafer. "As players and coaches, we know how much pressure the home teams are under after receiving first-round byes. The pressure is on them to get to Atlantic City. So, it's going to be fun to play on the other side of that."
Cornell often enjoys that first-round bye, and nearly always earns home ice for the playoffs.
The Bobcats posted a pair of 4-1 wins over Cornell earlier this season, though Cornell enjoys a 14-7-2 all-time series lead. Their first meeting was a 2002 NCAA East Regional win for the Big Red, which leapt out to a 6-0 lead before allowing the Bobcats a single goal.
Games 1 and 2 are at 7pm on Friday and Saturday at TD Bank Center in Hamden, and a third game, if necessary, will be played on Sunday. The winner of the best-of-three series will advance to the ECAC tournament in Atlantic City. The Red advanced to the ECAC tournament in Atlantic City in each of the league's first two years there, and won the championship game in the tournament's final appearance in Albany, in 2010. Next season, the tournament moves to Lake Placid for the first of a three-year commitment.
The quarterfinal games will be webcast on America One and on the radio on WHCU, and Saturday's game will be broadcast on New England Sports Network.
Cornell's women also advanced in the postseason, beating Harvard on Sunday to earn an NCAA first-round spot. The Big Red will host Mercyhurst in a 1pm game on Saturday.