The Big Red women’s ice hockey team (1-1 overall, 1-1 ECAC) will hit Lynah Rink determined to improve its ECAC record against two competitive teams this weekend. Cornell will face Providence (3-0-1 overall, 1-0-1 ECAC) tonight at 7 p.m., followed by Northeastern (4-0 overall, 2-0 ECAC) tomorrow at 7 p.m.
Both visitors have played a few more games than the Red and both teams have pushed themselves further up in the ECAC standings with their latest efforts.
Providence is coming off a tough battle against Princeton, which resulted in a tie after the Tigers came back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period. The Friars are hungry for a win to reconcile their recent heartbreaker.
Don’t expect to see less excitement from the Big Red as it enters this game with increasing momentum after a narrow victory over Niagara last Saturday.
Specifically, Cornell is looking to improve on its power play and penalty kill. Against Niagara, the Red went 0-11 on the power play and hopes to change those numbers this weekend. In practice this week, the Red has been focusing on its special teams and the players are feeling much better about their positions and strategy.
Starting in goal will be sophomore Sanya Sandahl. Sustaining an injury in last week’s Niagara match, Sandahl’s classmate Liz Connelly will be sidelined for the upcoming games. After Sandahl’s thirteen saves in the latter half of the Niagara game, she is excited to play and she knows that her teammates have confidence in her.
“When Sanya stepped in against Niagara and got the win, that was huge. One of the first shots she faced was a breakaway and she stoned [the opposition]. That pumped up the whole team. She’s really been working hard and the team feels very comfortable with her in the net,” head coach Carol Mullins said of her goalkeeper.
Connelly will not be the only player missing in action this weekend as senior tri-captain Trish Kemp has journeyed to Switzerland to play for the Canadian Under-22 National Team in the Three Nations Cup. Although Kemp will be missed, the Red is not too worried about compensating.
Defensively steady, junior forward Erinn Perushek will slide back to the blue line for the matches this weekend in order to fill Kemp’s spot and Perushek’s missing offensive spark may be picked up by the return of one of the Red’s leading scorers. Senior forward Erica Olson’s soccer season has officially ended and Olson laced her skates with the hockey team for the first time this week.
“I’m definitely excited to be back. I’ve only been back for a week, so I’m still getting adjusted and trying to get used to everyone on the ice, but the team’s been improving. I think we’re looking good and everyone has a good attitude,” Olson said.
While the Red’s opponents have been strong competitors in the past, the league has been leveled considerably as many of its players have left collegiate athletics to train for the 2002 Olympics.
“There’s no reason that we can’t beat anybody in the league this year. If the team believes that we are going to win, then that will happen,” Mullins commented on the weekend hopes.
“We want to put points up early this weekend,” Perushek added, “We’ve been working on our defense and we really want to attack in the offensive and neutral zones.”
Archived article by Kelli Larsen