The home stretch of the season begins as the Red women’s ice hockey team (8-12-1, 5-10-1 ECAC) hits the road for a pair of very important ECAC matches against Northeastern (13-8-1, 10-5-1 ECAC) and Providence (15-8-3, 7-6-3 ECAC).
Although Cornell sits 11th in the ECAC standings, the rankings could change at any time. The Red sits just four points behind Niagara, with two games in hand. Niagara holds the eighth and final playoff spot, and the Red could advance past it with two wins this weekend.
Northeastern enters this weekend tied for fourth place with Brown. The Huskies are the type of top-tier team that traditionally causes trouble for the Red, so a win this weekend would provide a morale boost, as well as a much-needed two points. In its last meeting with Northeastern, the Red outshot the Huskies 25-20 and is very capable of an upset. But if the Red hopes to pull off the upset, it will need to get past Northeastern’s goalie, Erika Silva, who turned away all 25 Big Red shots in their first meeting.
Silva is not the only tough task facing the Red. Northeastern comes into the weekend on a hot streak, with a 9-0 win over Boston University and a 7-2 victory over Boston College. The Huskies also performed admirably against Team USA recently, dropping that game by a 3-0 margin.
In their match against the USA team, the Huskies’ close margin may be explained by the play of Silva. Recently featured in Sports Illustrated as one of the best players in women’s collegiate hockey, Silva recorded an amazing 59 saves against the National Team.
Sunday’s match against Providence will be no step down. The Friars have momentum heading into the weekend with a three game win streak, and they sit comfortably in seventh place in the ECAC, six points ahead of the Red. To beat Providence, Cornell will need to be strong in even-strength and special teams situations.
“We’ve been working on the penalty kill and offensive coverage. We really want to score more goals and win some games this weekend,” junior assistant captain Jenel Bode said of the team’s practices this week.
This is the part of the year where a few inches can spell the difference between a playoff berth and an early end to a season. The Red will be working hard this weekend to turn those close plays in its direction and earn invaluable points for the stretch run.
Archived article by Kelli Larsen