In 1998-99, Mike Schafer (57-34-12, 2 ECAC championships, 2 Ivy League championships, 8-0-1 vs. Harvard) leads a balanced squad against another strong ECAC and non-conference schedule. The goal is to return to Lake Placid for the fourth consecutive season, and then attempt to return to the NCAA's, where they enjoyed success as recently as two years ago.
For the first time in three years, Cornell does not return as the defending conference champion. Injuries depleted the squad on every level last year (over 100 man-games were lost, most to key personnel, and even Schafer spent some time on a stretcher!), however even at full strength the Big Red seemed to be missing some of the spark which drove them through their wild title runs in 1996 and 1997. The populous freshman class logged an improbable amount of experience, and indeed their efforts (and departed goaltender Jason Elliott's last hurrah) where chiefly responsible for Cornell's upset round one victory over RPI and their return to Lake Placid.
Another large class, both in size and number, is headed for Ithaca, and the identity and character of this team will be largely in the hands of its freshman and sophomore members, who number a remarkable 17 of the team's 27 players. Refer to the roster for a statistical summary.
The forward position is deep, with the inclusion of juniors Mike Rutter (4-5-9) and Frank Kovac (1-4-5). The sophomore forwards, whose courageous efforts over the grueling three-game quarterfinal at RPI led directly to the Sack of Troy, return with that seasoning under their belts: Andrew McNiven (3-7-10), Dan Svoboda (5-3-8), Tyler Sutherland (2-4-6), Niels Heilmann (1-0-1), and David Hovey (1-0-1).
Finally, additional freshmen Kryztoff Wieckowski (6'3, 190) and Dave Francis (6'0, 190) provide more size up front.
The size and strength of the returning defenders is multiplied by the addition of the Twin Towers, Shaun Peet (6'3) and Brian McMeekin (6'4). Mortal-sized freshman Alex Gregory (5'11, 175) rounds out the defensive corps. The combination of five defensemen 6'3 and taller likely gives Cornell the biggest blueline corps in the conference, if not the country.