With only over a minute remaining in the third period and having just scored a goal to cut the lead to one, RPI searched for the tying score against the Cornell women’s hockey team. Playing with an extra skater, RPI pestered the Red with a series of shots, but sophomore goalie Marlene Boissonnault came up huge in the net as she made several key saves with the game on the line.
Boissonnault’s late game heroics were enough to cap off a tremendous weekend for Cornell (16-6-3, 12-3-3 ECAC). The Red took care of business against Union (4-24-1, 1-14-1) in a 5-1 win on Friday night at Lynah, before battling in a high intensity game against RPI (9-19-2, 6-11-1) for a 3-2 win.
“Sometimes it’s not how many saves you make, but when you make them,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “We needed a few big ones especially in those last four or five minutes.”
The four total points over the weekend further established Cornell’s playoff positioning.
“We need every point we can get because we want to solidify home ice in the playoffs,” said sophomore forward Diane Buckley.
Freshman forward Amy Curlew got things going for the Red early, as she scored a first period goal off a pass from freshman forward Paige Lewis, who set the play up with a pass in front of net.
“We put a lot of emphasis on getting pucks to the net and driving to the net,” Derraugh said.
Moments later, RPI tied the score on a power play goal. The tie lasted until the end of the first period, when sophomore defender and team captain Micah Hart scored the go-ahead goal for the Red. Hart produced a tremendous performance on Saturday: scoring a goal, assisting another and contributing quality minutes on defense. Hart also added a goal and an assist against Union on Friday.
“Micah has always been solid on the defensive side of things,” Derraugh said. “Both goals this weekend came from her getting her eyes up and getting shots through on the power play.”
Sophomore Diane Buckley increased the Red’s lead to two in the third period, a goal that would later prove to be crucial for the Cornell victory.
“We’re trying to prove that we are one of the best teams in the ECAC right now,” Buckley added.
One area of doubt for the Red this season has been offensive production. Cornell has been able to generate pressure and shots on goal, but the team has failed to convert on several crucial scoring chances at reoccuring times this year.
“We can’t continue to rely completely on our defense,” Derraugh said. “We’re not going to go very far in the playoffs if we can’t find ways to score goals.”
This weekend, Cornell’s offense came alive — an encouraging sign for a team which is already dominant on the defensive end.
In Friday’s game, Cornell outshot Union 47 to 11, with senior forward Hanna Bunton continuing her impressive season with two goals. Senior captain Kaitlin Doering and Hart both added a goal and an assist, while freshman forward Kristin O’Neill continued her hot stretch of play with yet another goal.
“We need everybody to step up offensively,” Derraugh said. “We’re not a team that has one big line.”
Not only did the Red come away with two important victories this weekend, but the team showed its ability to find multiple ways of scoring.
“This week we put a net in our locker room for some visualization,” Buckley said. “That is kind of the trick right now.”
For Cornell, hopefully that net stays in the locker room, as it locked the team in offensively this weekend