2010-11: Eric Cornel played in four minor midget AAA games for the Upper Canada Cyclones and had 61 points in 30 games for the club’s bantam AAA team. He scored 1 goal with 3 assists in four midget games.
2011-12: Cornel appeared in four junior A games with the Kemptville 73’s in Ontario and was a team captain for the Upper Canada Cyclones’ midget minor AAA team as a 15-year-old. He scored 1 goal with 3 assists in CCHL play with Kemptville. Cornel scored 18 goals with 32 assists and had 14 penalty minutes in 25 regular season games for the Cyclones and had 5 assists with 4 penalty minutes in five playoff games. Cornel was an assistant captain for Canada’s U16 team at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games; scoring 4 goals with 5 assists and finishing +11 in six games. He was the third player selected when he was taken by Peterborough in the first round of the 2012 OHL Priority Selection.
2012-13: Cornel appeared in 63 of 68 games for Peterborough in his first OHL season and played for Canada Ontario in the 2013 U17 World Hockey Challenge. He scored 4 goals with 12 assists and was -2 with 13 penalty minutes playing for the Petes — who missed the playoffs after finishing with the league’s third-worst record. Cornel had 3 assists in five games for Canada Ontario at the WHC.
2013-14: Cornel moved into a prominent scoring role for the much-improved Petes in his second OHL season. He scored 25 goals with 37 assists and was +2 with 25 penalty minutes in 68 regular season games. Peterborough finished third in the East Division and reached the second round in the playoffs. Cornel was selected to play for Team Orr in the 2014 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. He was ranked 25th amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Buffalo in the second round (44th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
2014-15: Cornel made his professional hockey debut with Sabres’ AHL affiliate Rochester following his junior season with Peterborough. In six games with the Americans he had 1 assist and was -2 with no penalties. Cornel was the third-leading scorer for Peterborough in what was a frustrating regular season for the Petes. He scored 14 goals with a team-high 38 assists and was -24 with 35 penalty minutes in 66 regular season games. Peterborough claimed the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot despite finishing last in the East Division, falling to Memorial Cup champion Oshawa in a first-round series. Cornel had 1 assist and was -2 with 2 penalty minutes in five playoff games.
Cornel is a big, talented forward who is still figuring out whether he will be a playmaking forward with size or a power forward with scoring ability, He has been inconsistent at times — putting up points in bunches but then going several games at a time without registering a point. He competes hard on a nightly basis but is still a work in progress when it comes to handling his defensive responsibilities and playing a two-way game.
Cornel has enjoyed a breakout season in his fourth season with the Peterborough Petes. Second in scoring to overage forward Hunter Garlent in 2015-16, Cornel is one of the team leaders for a Petes' team that is battling with the Ottawa 67's for second-place in the East Division. Yet to sign an entry-level contract with Buffalo, he would re-enter the 2016 NHL Draft if not signed before then. Cornel's scoring and consistent two-way play suggest he can be an effective second or third line center in the NHL in the future.