Cornell women’s hockey will sweep through southern New England this weekend to take on two Ivy League rivals in their final road games of the regular season. The Red (9-12-4, 5-9-4 ECAC) will face Brown (3-19-3, 1-14-3) Friday at 7 p.m. and Yale (10-14-1, 9-8-1) Saturday at 7 p.m.
Cornell, which has lost three games in a row, sits at ninth in the ECAC standings and with only four games left in the regular season, time is running out for a big playoff push. Going on the road with such high stakes at play would seem to put Cornell at a disadvantage, but it is quite the opposite. The Red has only one home victory all season and are over .500 on the road.
Four weeks ago, Cornell scored six goals against the Bulldogs and notched 48 shots against the Bears in a tie. Having only recodred two goals in the last three games, the team desperately needs to get out of its scoring slump against Yale and Brown.
“We need to be able to put the puck in the back of the net,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91.
Brown skated to a come-from-behind 2-2 tie against the Red in Ithaca last January despite being heavily outshot in the contest.
Cornell senior forward Jess Brown, who has years of experience against the Bears, says they are not an easy team to put away.
“[The Bears] can actually hold their own,” she said. “We want to score early and be consistent throughout the whole game.”
While the Red was able to get 48 shots through to Brown’s junior netminder Elvin Monica last meeting, it is pouncing on those chances that matters most.
“We created a lot of chances [against Brown],” Derraugh said. “It’s making the most of our chances.”
The Brown game a few weeks ago was perhaps a foreshadowing of this past weekend, where Cornell could only muster one goal total against two very strong opponents in Quinnipiac and Princeton despite even shot totals in both games.
“We are our biggest enemy,” said senior captain defender Cassandra Poudrier.
After Brown, Cornell will travel to Connecticut to take on Yale. The Red, reeling off a five game winning streak that came to a close last weekend. In Yale, Derraugh sees a tough opponent with a dynamic offense.
“They’ve got a lot of strong forwards,” he said. “They have a lot of speed.”
Both Brown and Bunton feel that coming into the Yale game with the right attitude and preparation will be a difference maker in its outcome.
“I think just coming into the game and playing desperate for the win,” Bunton said.
An additional variable in this weekend’s matchup is that Cornell faced these two teams relatively recently and both sides are acquainted with the strengths and styles of play of their opponent. According to Derraugh, it changes how the team will prepare for the game.
“It decreases the preparation time for the coach,” Derraugh said. “We’ve got some experience playing them.”
Cornell is moving on from a disappointing home stand and refocusing on next weekend. Poudrier said the team’s schedule this week is tailored to let them regenerate for the task ahead.
“We have [Sunday] and [Monday] off,” she said. “It will be good to be away from the rink. We have two hard practices on Tuesday and Wednesday and we’re on the road Thursday.”
A loss in the standings is always tough to swallow, but an encouraging matchup and a new weekend means a fresh start for the Red. Cornell is ready to turn shots into goals.