In a day of historic happenings for Cornell athletics across the board, the Cornell women’s hockey team contributed its all as it upset the No. 1 seed Mercyhurst in the first game of the Frozen Four. In doing so, the Red is moving on to its first-ever national championship game for the NCAA that will take place on Sunday at noon CT (1 p.m. ET) in Minneapolis, Minn.
Cornell played tremendously on the penalty kill, making the first mark on the scoreboard at 6:30 into the game with a shorthanded goal from freshman defender Laura Fortino off of an assist from junior forward Karlee Overguard. Fortino leads all freshmen in the country in scoring, and was part of a trio of Cornell women’s hockey players to take All-American honors that were announced in Minnesota. Fortino is the first hockey player in Cornell’s history named to the first 2010 Women's RBK Hockey Division I All-American team, while freshman defender Lauriane Rougeau and sophomore forward Catherine White both received second-team honors.
Cornell held a 1-0 lead for the remainder of the first period following Fortino’s goal, before witnessing a second period of disappointment. The Lakers managed to not only catch up to the Red, but to also surpass it. The period ended in Mercyhurst’s favor, 2-1, after two full-strength goals came within two minutes of each other around the halfway mark of the game.
However, the score going into the third did not deter the Red from playing its best; Cornell bridged the gap between itself and the top seed in this semifinals game and tied at 7:06 into the third. Karlee Overguard made the goal with assists from sophomore defender Jess Martino and senior forward Melanie Jue. The rest of the third period saw no more successful advances from either side, and regulation play ended with a tie, 2-2.
Overtime was filled with strong attack attempts from both sides, but neither team was successful for the first half. Finally, at the mark of 13:14 post-regulation, White shot the puck at the net; though she was initially unsuccessful, junior defender and forward Amber Overguard was able to pass back the puck to White immediately. White shot this rebounded puck between the poles for a victory. The goal went under review briefly before the score was official and the Red won over Mercyhurst, 3-2.
For the first time in the history of any Cornell women’s team, the women’s hockey players advance to the national championship game on Sunday. The team will take on the winner of the other Frozen Four semifinals game between Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota.