Sun Staff Photographer Tina Chou accompanied the Cornell women's hockey team to the 2012 Frozen Four in Duluth, Minnesota. Check out the photo slideshow .
Here are excerpts from the recap of the trip, in her own words.
Journey to the Frozen Four, Part 1: Prepare for Departure
The longest game ever played at Lynah Rink occurred on Saturday, March 10, 2012. A record-setting 2,143 people witnessed the women’s ice hockey team defeat Boston University in triple-overtime to advance to the Frozen Four. The game-winning goal was scored with 10.1 seconds left and was featured  on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays of the Week. For the winningest senior class in program history, it was undoubtedly a memorable way to end their last game at Lynah Rink.
The following weekend, I followed the women’s hockey team as they travelled from Ithaca, N.Y., to Duluth, Minn., for the 2012 Frozen Four. Over the next few days, the top four teams in the country would compete for the national title.
I received official confirmation two hours before the team left through the unbelievable efforts of Associate Athletics Director Anita Brenner. Once I got the green light, I crammed most of my existence into one backpack for easy transport and was off to Lynah. This year’s senior class has transformed the women’s hockey program from a last-place Ivy League team to a national powerhouse ranked No. 3 in the nation.
The team held its last practice at Lynah before loading up the bus for the three-hour ride to the Buffalo airport. Wanting to document the packing process, I followed senior captain Amanda Young into the locker room. It was like entering a Big Red beehive. Country music was blasting and there were huge bags everywhere as people were all over the place making sure they had everything.
There was a partially-eaten congratulatory cake and a map on the wall of where all the players are from originally. There are 21 girls on the team, including the team manager, and 16 are from Canada. Freshman forward Jill Saunier’s marker on Nova Scotia is actually off the map because the map only shows the United States and cuts off past New Brunswick. In addition to posters and mementos, there are a lot of framed pictures on the walls of former and current players and teams. It was nice to see a portrait I took of the 2010 seniors up there as well.
Having waited a while, I returned to the locker room. Most of the bags had been moved to the bus but people were still double-checking that they had everything. There was a lot of equipment and the team was able to pack everything in about 30 minutes. This year’s team tape ball was stowed away in freshman forward Monika Leck’s bag, and the soccer ball was almost forgotten until senior goaltender Amanda Mazzotta noticed.
In record time, all the huge heavy bags were transported outside to the bus and the locker room was emptied, with only bathrobes and trophies remaining. Junior defenseman Lauriane Rougeau did a last-minute check and then everyone boarded the bus. Seats on the bus are chosen at the beginning of the year — starting with the seniors and then going by class year — and remain the same for the whole year. I ended up in front of freshman forward Emily Fulton and next to team manager senior Stephanie Pratt. With brownies, rice krispies, water and unlabeled subs that may have contained tomatoes all accounted for, it was time to depart!
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the journey!