Cornell women’s hockey will look to bounce back from two straight defeats against No. 1 Wisconsin when the team takes on Harvard and Dartmouth at home this weekend.
Cornell (6-4-1, 4-2-1 ECAC) currently sits in fifth place in the ECAC, and with two home games coming up against teams at the bottom of the standings, the Red will have the chance to move itself up in the standings.
“We have a very competitive conference,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “Every game within the [ECAC] is important regardless of the opponent.”
This will be the last slate of games for the Red before the team takes a month long break for finals and the holiday season. Back-to-back wins could give the team some much-needed momentum before it readjusts in January.
Even though the Crimson (1-8-0, 1-4-0) has only won one game this season, the team is much more competitive than its record suggests. Harvard has four overtime losses on the season, which shows that it can keep games close to the very last minute.
“We have to be consistent for the entire game and limit our mistakes,” Derraugh said.
Last year, Cornell split the series with Harvard when the Red won the home matchup but lost on the road. This year, with an underperforming Harvard squad, Cornell is hoping for a series sweep, all the while knowing not to take anything for granted.
The team will take a similar approach against Dartmouth (2-6-0, 1-4-0) — a team that has struggled so far this season to generate offense. The Green has scored just 12 goals in eight games played. Cornell’s defense has been a strong point for the team all year, so the unit could find continued success against its Hanover rival.
Nonetheless, on back-to-back games against Wisconsin (14-1-1, 10-1-1) this past weekend, Cornell was outscored eight to two. The Red will need to clean things up defensively before the weekend slate, but the team will get a bit of a reprieve facing offenses that are nowhere near as capable of scoring as Wisconsin.
Still, the team prides itself on improvement, given the fact that the team is still very young.
“My goal is to get better every time I step on the ice,” said freshman forward Kristin O’Neill.
O’Neill continues to lead Cornell in scoring and points so far this season. She has been a major reason why the Red has seen a spike in offensive production from last season. Cornell is averaging over two goals a game and limiting opponents to under that mark.
Senior goaltender Paula Voorheis and sophomore goaltender Marlene Boissonnault have been integral to Cornell’s success as well. The tandem has split time in net, but both players have posted goals per game averages below two.
As the season progresses, the team hopes to gain more consistency as younger players continue to mature. The home stint against Harvard and Dartmouth should provide an opportunity to get younger players some more ice time.
“Our team prides itself on improvement and every player has bought in,” O’Neill said. “Our team has great chemistry.”