Junior goaltender Andy Iles kicks off the season by being named the ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Week. This award is based on his performance this past weekend during the Red’s season-opening match-up against Colorado College.
Cornell defeated the Tigers 2-0 on Friday and then 3-2 on Saturday.
“I think that on Saturday, especially in the first period, [Colorado College] came out and we gave up some chances right off the bat where the game could have gotten [to] one or two nothing quick and Iles did a tremendous job making sure the game stayed 0-0, and that’s the kind of quality goaltender he is,” said head coach Mike Shafer.
The Friday night victory marked Iles’ seventh career shutout, with 19 saves on the night.
The following night, he racked up 21 saves. Iles also made an important contribution to the Red’s eight-for-eight penalty kill record on Saturday. He and the rest of the special teams unit did not allow the Tigers to capitalize on any of their power plays.
“We still have to work on it — going eight and eight on the kill is important, but we did some things that we have to improve on too,” Iles said. “There were mistakes that as a team we realize and we have to try to counteract those mistakes and keep getting better.”
Iles’ shutouts have come in a 31-game span. This seventh shutout puts the Ithaca native in a tie for sixth place on the Cornell hockey program’s list of career totals.
“Obviously being a goalie is kind of a unique position — a lot of times you get recognition that maybe you don’t always fully deserve, but I mean anytime you get recognition its exciting but it’s a test to what we did as a team this weekend,” Iles said. “We had a great weekend as a team and I was a recipient from that from a personal acclaim standpoint, but the guys in front of me played great, made my life really easy, and that turned into statistical success. And statistical success for a goalie usually turns into an award, so its kind of a win- win.”
Iles’ last shutout was against Colgate — whom the Red are facing this weekend to begin ECAC play. Iles is already looking forward to the series against the Raiders.
“It’s a fun series, it’s fun to go up there and play, and it’s always fun to play at home. They’re a good team,” he said.
This is the third time that Iles is the recipient of the league’s goalie of the week honor. The last two were on Nov. 22, 2011 and Dec. 2, 11 — in the midst of Iles’ league-record shutout streak.
Despite his success, Iles is still working towards improvement.
“[I’m working on] just kind of reading the situations understanding the game, realizing where I can play back a little deeper, make the game a little easier, make the game a little easier on my teammates,” he said. “And then realizing when I really need to take an extra step out: it’s kind of understanding the game, having better reads on the plays and what not, trying to make the game as simple as you can.”
He also explained how having two years of experience has helped to inform this process.
“By trying to simplify, you really need to understand the game,” Iles said. “So I’ve looked back on the last two years to see where I can simplify my game a little bit and maybe take some shortcuts here and have to do a few extra things in certain situations.”