January has not been the signature month for the women’s ice hockey team thus far. Over winter break, Cornell (2-16-1, 2-10-0 ECACHL) went 0-5-0 with two of its losses coming in ECACHL play against Colgate. However, as in most sports, the record does not tell the whole story.
Two of the five losses came on the road against Mercyhurst, the No. 1 team in the nation. In the first of the back-to-back games against the Lakers, the Red battled from a late 2-0 deficit to make the score 2-1 on a goal by junior Miranda Callaghan. However, the Red could not pull off the equalizer with an extra attacker at the two-minute mark. Despite being out shot, 42-9, in this contest, the Red were able to stay competitive and keep the Lakers to only two goals in large part to senior assistant captain Beth Baronick’s 40 saves.
[img_assist|nid=20782|title=Shut out|desc=With an .884 save percentage, senior assistant captain Beth Baronick (above) was named a finalist for the 2007 NCAA Frozen Four Skills Challenge to be held the weekend of April 5-7 in St. Louis, Mo. (G. Scott Russ / Sun Staff)|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=65]
In the second game in two days against Mercyhurst, Cornell came out firing with two goals in the first period by junior assistant captain Caeleigh Beerworth and senior Halina Kristalyn. On Kristalyn’s goal, freshman Melanie Jue picked up her first collegiate point on the assist. Unfortunately, the upset was not meant to be as the Lakers seized control of the contest in the second period with four goals. Baronick’s 32 saves were a mute point as Mercyhurst beat Cornell, 6-2, converting on the two-game sweep.
“Against Mercyhurst, I thought we played two of our better games this year,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “Mercyhurst is a very strong team, and I thought we played pretty well. We had the lead both times early. It showed me that we were ready to play, ready to go, but we just couldn’t maintain that advantage.”
Another close contest occurred last Saturday against conference rival Colgate. After being shutout 6-0 the day before against the same Raiders squad, the Red came out with lots of energy seeking its third conference win. Beerworth gave the Red an early 1-0 lead in the first period. However, Colgate surged forward in the second and third periods and squeaked by Cornell, 2-1.
With Cornell being outshot 42-16 in the game, freshman goalie Jenny Niesluchowski had plenty of work in front of her and made the most of the opportunity posting 40 saves against the Raiders.
“The first game against Colgate, I thought we played poorly,” Derraugh said. “We gave up too many opportunities and made some bad decisions. The second day I thought we were better. I thought we played a smarter game, but still we had difficulty in our own end and we didn’t capitalize on some of the chances we did have.”
Starting this weekend against Yale and Brown on the road, Cornell is going to make one final push for the playoffs which will begin on Feb. 23.
One player who will need to continue with her outstanding play in order for the Red to have a shot is Baronick. Before the break, Baronick was selected among a group of 89 finalists for consideration for the 2007 Frozen Four Skills Challenge, which will take place on April 5-7 in St. Louis, Mo. In the 10 games she has played this year, she has made 275 saves on 311 opportunities, which is good enough for a .884 save percentage.
“I think it’s great that they are considering Beth,” Derraugh said. “It’s been a tough year for her just because of the concussions she had early and then being off for a long time and not being able to practice. It was a long time for her to be off the ice and not having a chance to compete and I think that’s always difficult to come back from. Last year, she demonstrated that she is one of the best goalies in the league. I think she’s done a good job of coming back and working hard and getting herself ready for the games.”