Close calls against top-10 squads have been the norm for the women’s hockey team this year. Just last weekend, the Red took No. 9 Princeton to overtime before eventually falling, 6-5.
This weekend, however, Cornell (3-18-3, 3-14-1 ECACHL) will try to finally get over that hump of close calls and pull off the upset as it travels to Erie, Pa. to play a pair of games against No. 7 Mercyhurst (20-6-2, 7-0-1 CHA).
“It’s getting down to the end of the season now and we’ve just got to keep fighting,” said senior captain Jamie Ramenofsky. “I’m fully confident we can do it.”
The Red enters tonight’s game winless in its last 19 efforts. However, as disappointing as that mark looks, the team has been very competitive in the ECACHL over the past few weeks. In fact, in the seven games that the team has played against conference teams nationally ranked in the top 10 — including No. 3 Dartmouth, No. 5 St. Lawrence, No. 6 Harvard and No. 9 Princeton — the Red has stayed within three goals of its opponent in five of those contests.
In last weekend’s loss to Princeton, the players displayed the potential this team has to become a force in the ECACHL.
Behind Halina Kristalyn’s hat trick, Cornell jumped out to a 5-3 lead midway through the third period. Only a pair of goals in the last two minutes with its goalie pulled saved the Tigers from suffering the defeat.
“It was one of our toughest losses all season,” Ramenofsky said. “We played 58 minutes of good hockey. Then, in the last two, we were more concerned about not losing than winning.”
Kristalyn’s performance — which also merited a place on the ECACHL’s weekly honor roll — pulled her up to second on the team in points with seven goals and four assists on the season.
Meanwhile, as has been the case for most of the season, freshman phenomenon Brianne Schmidt continues to lead the team with her 15 points and nine goals. Schmidt has especially stood out on the power play, where she netted seven of her scores.
At the other end of the rink this weekend, the Lakers enter the contests as one of the hottest teams in the nation. Winners in 13 of its last 15, Mercyhurst leads the CHA by an astounding seven points over Wayne State.
“They are going to be very tough competition,” Ramenofsky said. “Our next four games — two against Mercyhurst and then versus St. Lawrence and Clarkson next week — are going to be against strong, tough teams.”
With an impressive senior season, Teresa Marchese leads the Lakers in every offensive category with a dozen goals and 23 assists. Besides her, junior Samantha Shirley and sophomore Stefanie Bourbeau are also credible scoring threats for Mercyhurst with a combined 21 goals between the two of them.
Between the pipes, Mercyhurst features one of the best goaltending duos in the nation. Senior Desirae Clark has seen the most time for the Lakers, posting a scintillating .935 save percentage that puts her third in the nation in that category. However, the Red might also see freshman Laura Hosier who holds her own with a microscopic 0.88 goals against average and an undefeated 8-0-0 record.
The pair of weekend games against the Lakers will be the Red’s last appearance against non-conference opponents this season. Heading into tonight’s game, the Red is 0-4-2 against teams outside the ECACHL.
“Hopefully we can finish with a bang,” Ramenofsky said. “We’re going to try to gain some momentum going into next week’s conference games.”
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer