The men’s hockey teams of Boston University and Cornell will see red when they face off this Saturday for the first time in five years. The teams share the color, and the stands at New York City’s Madison Square Garden will be flooded with it when this storied hockey rivalry is renewed before a sold-out crowd.
The BU-Cornell rivalry dates back to 1925, when the Terriers posted a 7-2 win in the first meeting of the two teams. In the late 1960s, when both schools were members of the ECAC Hockey League, they were fighting for the title every year, each winning the league crown five times from 1967 to 1977. BU won national championships in 1971, 1972, 1978, and 1995, and Cornell took home the trophy in 1967 and 1970.
In 1984 BU left the ECAC to join Hockey East, ending the yearly conference matchups with the Big Red. The last time the two teams met was during the 2002–2003 season, when Cornell skated to a 5-1 victory. The Big Red’s all-time record against the Terriers is 26-16-1.
“The rivalry flourished in 1966, my sophomore year,” says BU head hockey coach Jack Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97). “Cornell’s program was just starting to emerge. Everyone knew of their coach, Ned Harkness, who came from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a national championship under his belt. We were the two best teams in the East and always met up in the league and national tournaments, and it became a heated rivalry.”
“In 1967 we sold out the Boston Garden in the ECAC championship — people were literally sitting on the stairs. There was a fight that same year during the national championship game, but there was always a great deal of respect from both teams. They brought out the best in us, and we brought out the best in them.”
The Terriers traveled to Alaska and Michigan for games in October, returning to beat Providence 5-2 and UMass Lowell 7-4 in early November. BU fell to UMass Amherst 5-3 on November 9 and tied Northeastern 2-2 the next day. The Terriers split a two-game series against Vermont last weekend and took to the ice once more on Tuesday, November 20, falling to Harvard 2-1 in overtime before Saturday’s matchup against Cornell. The team is 3-7-2 on the year with a 3-3-1 Hockey East mark.
BU finished last season 20-10-9 overall, with a 13-6-8 conference record. A season highlight was BU’s exciting overtime win in the Beanpot final on February 12. Brian McGuirk (MET’08) scored the game-winning goal for a 2-1 rout of archrival Boston College. The Eagles got their revenge later in the season, though, beating the Terriers 6-2 in the Hockey East semifinals. Eventual champion Michigan State University bested BU 5-1 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Terriers welcomed seven newcomers to the roster this season: forwards Nick Bonino (CAS’11), Joe Pereira (CAS’11), Victor Saponari (SMG’11), and Colin Wilson (CAS’11), defenders Colby Cohen (CAS’11) and Kevin Shattenkirk (CAS’11), and goalie Adam Kraus (CAS’11).
Abby Jordan can be reached at email@example.com.