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Throwback Thursday: North American Rivals Clash
The Big Red men’s hockey team was in for a challenging game against the University of Toronto this week in 1969. Although it’s not on their national game schedule, the two teams would occasionally meet each year. Toronto was consistently one of the top squads in North America, winning three consecutive titles in the Ontario-Quebec Athletic Association. The Varsity Blues traveled to Lynah Rink with a 25-5-1 season mark, compared to Cornell’s 16-1-0 overall record. The Big Red had earned 14 straight victories and was hoping to tack on one more.
Goalie Ken Dryden claimed that Cornell “will be familiar with Toronto” because, not only are there competent scouting reports, but nearly every Big Red player was from Ontario, so many had friends from grade school playing with the Varsity Blues.
In the previous year, Cornell emerged victorious in its annual matchup with Toronto, netting the game-winner just six seconds into overtime on a breakaway goal by Bob McGuinn. Many players, coaches, and spectators considered this game to be the most exciting of the 1968 season. For the players that year, this game was a truly thrilling win.
The reason, one may argue, that Toronto and Canadian schools possessed skilled programs at the collegiate level is due to the fact that there is unlimited eligibility. Therefore, the Varsity Blues had seven law students playing on their squad.
However, this week in 1969, the Big Red crushed Toronto by a score of 7-2. Six different skaters for Cornell found the back of the net, with Brian McCutcheon scoring the first goal. This victory successfully put the Big Red on a 15-game winning streak.