Cornell women’s hockey enjoyed its first conference sweep of the season, beating Brown and Yale on the road over the long break. The Red (11-12-4, 7-9-4 ECAC) was victorious over the Bears (3-21-3, 1-16-3 ECAC) on Friday and the Bulldogs (10-16-1, 9-10-1 ECAC) on Saturday. The only thing in common between the two games was the 4-2 final score.
Against Brown, Cornell scored early and often, led by senior forward and alternate captain Taylor Woods’ two goals and an assist. The Red totaled 41 shots in the game and led 3-0 after the second intermission.
“We got a lot of chances,” Woods said. “We limited our turnovers.”
According to Cornell head coach Doug Derraugh ’91, the difference between this weekend’s outcome and the tie against Brown at Lynah in January was prying open a two-goal lead to put the game out of reach. He said the third period comeback by Brown was a result of the Red spending too much time in the box in the last twenty minutes.
“We took a few more penalties than I would have liked,” Derraugh said. “We didn’t stay as aggressive as we had early on.”
Unlike in the clash against Brown, on Saturday against Yale, Cornell did not score first. The Bulldogs jumped out to their first lead of the day off of the stick of forward and Olympic bronze medalist Phoebe Staenz 7:18 into the game. Cornell junior forward Kaitlin Doering answered in the period’s closing minute, and the game would stay 1-1 into the third.
Yale took the lead back with fourteen minutes left in regulation, and with home ice, the Bulldogs appeared to have all the momentum on their side.
Enter Hanna Bunton.
Bunton — Cornell’s goals and points leader — tied the game back up just 15 seconds later. She added a second, unassisted goal about a minute afterwards to give Cornell the lead. Junior defenseman Sydney Smith tallied a late empty net goal to seal the win.
“It was really huge for us,” Bunton said. “Coach is always talking about never giving up in games.”
“We needed to win this game,” Woods said. “We came together as a team. We kept believing in ourselves and our system.”
Saturday’s win was Derraugh’s 200th career victory as a head coach, all for the women’s side of the program he graduated from. He said his 200 wins are a testament to the tenure and strength of the relationship he has with his assistant coaches and staff.
“It means I’ve been here a long time,” he joked, adding, “It’s a milestone and an honor.”
After a successful road trip, the Red returns to Lynah Rink this weekend. There is a lot happening both on and off the ice this Friday and Saturday; the last games of the regular season, the Harvard Game and the Senior Game all against the backdrop of an ECAC playoff picture that is very much still in flux.
Before Saturday’s spectacle, the Red faces Dartmouth (6-17-3, 6-11-3 ECAC) on Friday; game time is 7 p.m. Woods says Cornell will focus on controlling Dartmouth’s front line.
“Dartmouth has some very good offensive talent,” Woods said. “We have to keep them on the outside and on the perimeter. We need to capitalize on [their goalie and defense].”
Saturday’s much-anticipated 4 p.m. game against Harvard (15-9-3, 11-6-3 ECAC) is Cornell’s last contest of the regular season.
“They’re solid from top-to-bottom,” Derraugh said of the Crimson. “We’ve had a tough time with their systems.”
Saturday is also the Class of 2016 senior game. Derraugh reflected on role this year’s class has had in creating a positive, winning environment at Cornell.
“It’s a class that’s done a lot for our program,” he said, adding, “Also, [they’re] very good teammates.”
The Red is looking forward to taking on the Crimson at home to end the regular season.
“I know our players love waking up to those games,” Woods said.