The Cornell women’s hockey team came into the weekend looking to extend its five-game unbeaten streak as it hit the road against ECAC opponents Clarkson and St. Lawrence, which both rank top five nationally.
The Red (13-6-2, 9-3-2 ECAC) was able to continue the streak to six after a victory over Clarkson (18-4-4, 12-1-1), but the streak was snapped after a loss to St. Lawrence (19-3-2, 11-2-1) the very next day.
The No. 10 Red came out firing against No. 3 Clarkson Friday night, outshooting the Knights 8-3 in the first 10 minutes of the opening period. However, Clarkson was able to dial up its own pressure, outshooting the Red 7-0 to finish out the first period, and again outshooting the Red 15-4 in the second frame.
“In the first period, our forecheck was really strong and we were able to control a lot of the play,” said senior goaltender Paula Voorheis. “In the second period, we got into some penalty trouble but our penalty kills was able to minimize key scoring opportunities.”
Despite the back-and-forth play between the two teams, the game remained scoreless after two periods of play, thanks in part to sophomore goaltender Marlene Boissonnault’s 25 saves through two periods. Boissonnault finished the game with 29 saves, a career-high. It was also the first time this season that Clarkson was held scoreless through the first two periods of play.
“Clarkson was very aggressive and, like us, they kept us to the perimeter when we got the puck into the offensive zone,” said sophomore forward Pippy Gerace. “They limited our quality chances, although we tried our best to funnel pucks to the net from all angles.”
After a slow second period, the Red offense had five shots on goal in the first four minutes of the final period, earning a few power plays. Sophomore defender Micah Hart capitalized on one of the advantaged and opened the game’s scoring.
The lead did not hold long, as Clarkson came right back four minutes later to tie the game up.
The Red was not ready to give up. With less than two minutes left to play, Gerace snuck the puck into the net, which held to give the Red a 2-1 victory.
The Red looked to ride its momentum as it took on No. 5 St. Lawrence the next afternoon. Cornell came out with another strong start, outshooting the Saints 9-0 in the first 15 minutes of the opening period, but the game remained scoreless after 20.
The Saints bounced back, scoring with 5:16 left to play in the second period and lit up the board again with just 21.7 seconds left before the second intermission.
Nineteen seconds into the third period, freshman Kristin O’Neill scored to finally put the Red on the board and bring the deficit down to one. The Saints answered just under two minutes later, and capitalized again after the Red pulled its goalie, to extend the lead to 4-1. After a couple of exchanged goals between the Red and the Saints, Cornell ultimately dropped the game, 5-2, halting its unbeaten streak to six.
“St. Lawrence has some of the top scorers in the league and they are very dangerous around the net,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “We took too many risks and turned the puck over too often to have success against them.”
During the game on Saturday, Voorheis recorded 21 saves and became the second player in Cornell women’s hockey history to record 2,000 career saves.
“It’s a cool statistic to think about, especially as my Cornell career is coming to an end,” Voorheis said. “I am very lucky to be apart of such an amazing program and to have played in so many games over these past four years.”
Despite the loss, the Red remain confident heading into additional ECAC play.
“We know that we still are standing in a great place in the ECAC and the Ivy League if we continue to win games the way we have been the past few weeks,” Gerace said. “I think the team is aiming to stick together and learn from the loss, and have a positive attitude going forward into next weekend’s games against Harvard and Dartmouth.”