ITHACA, N.Y.—Cornell University’s men’s ice hockey team will start another bid for an elusive NCAA men’s ice hockey crown on Thursday against a rather tough foe: defending champion the University of Denver Pioneers.
The game will take place on Thursday, March 23 at 5:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPNews and ESPN+ and can be found on WHCU radio locally. The game is being held in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Denver won last year’s tournament and leads all of NCAA with nine men’s ice hockey titles overall. While a frequent Top 25 contender, Cornell hasn’t made a final since the 1970s. Denver is ranked #3 this year; Cornell is ranked #10. The two schools haven’t played each other since 2014.
Both teams are coming off of losses in their respective postseason conference tournaments, with Denver falling to Colorado College and Cornell losing to Harvard University.
On paper, at least, the game seems to be a fairly well-aligned matchup. From Cornell’s Athletics Department: “Denver ranks third in power play percentage (27.2 percent), while Cornell is right behind the Pioneers in fourth with its 26.4 percent clip. Cornell has the nation’s second-best scoring defense (2.00), while Denver is fifth at 2.15. The Pioneers have the edge in scoring offense with a 3.85 goals-per-game average that ranks sixth, and the Big Red is eighth with a 3.41 average.”
The winner of the game will face either Boston University or Western Michigan, depending on the outcome of their game.