Last year the Cornell women’s hockey team rotated between three goalies. This year the team returns with two of the three in juniors Sanya Sandahl and Liz Connelly. The pair lends their different styles and attributes between the pipes.
“We have two fantastic goalies,” said senior captain Erinn Perushek.
Every week is a competition to see who will be in goal for Cornell. Day in and day out, the team’s two goalies compete to see who will be in the net for the weekends games.
One might think that the two don’t like each other too much because of this competitiveness, that they prefer to keep a comfortable distance. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sandahl and Connelly are friends sharing perhaps the loneliest position on the ice. Besides, both have the common objective of leading Cornell through a successful 2001-2002 season.
“They both want to play, but on the other hand, they’re both very supportive of each other,” said head coach Carol Mullins.
“It helps the team when we’re not at each other’s throats.” Connelly said about their relationship..
Sandahl agreed emphatically. “It brings a positive aspect to the team; it’s still competitive though.”
And that competitiveness looks to be a key trait of the Red’s two goaltenders this season.
“We’re both solid,” said Connelly.
Their game statistics are similar. Last year Sandahl posted a 3.50 goals against average and a .875 save percentage in 22 games.
Connelly, on the other hand, saw action in 10 games. She had a .900 save percentage and a goals against average of 3.71. She posted the Red’s sole shutout of the season against Boston College. She faced 32 shots en route to the impressive 6-0 win.
Both draw on two years of experience between the bars, sharing that position during their tenure on the hill, and both realize the value of that time.
“It’s important knowing how the game is played at this level,” said Connelly, noting the significant jump from the junior level to Division I collegiate hockey.
Sandahl noted how much good goaltending can benefit the Red’s confidence and help to make them a better team. A goalie, more than any other position, can make or break a team’s season and must carry that burden throughout every game.
Cornell is fortunate, though, that the goalie position is the most experienced on the team.
“We have a pretty young team,” Sandahl said. “This way we can start from the goal and work outwards.”
The two netminders have slightly different styles on the ice. This is another factor, along with performance in practices and games, Mullins looks at when she decides who will play against a certain team.
Connelly is a bit smaller in the net, so she relies on her quickness to make saves. Sandahl has better coverage of the net. She uses a fast glove and plays the angles to keep pucks out.
“They’re a great one-two punch,” Mullins said.
And, the similarities and the competition they breed doesn’t extend completely off the ice either. They is a certain camaraderie between the two occupants of the net that can’t be found amongst linemates. The difference between the netminders and the rest of the league, lies in a goalie’s mentality.
Sandahl noted that the position requires a bit more individuality than the rest of the team. She, unlike, offensemen or defensemen plays an entire game, and is the last line of defense for the team. Nevertheless, she assured that goalies are still normal people.
Connelly’s opinion was a little different, being a little more cynical.
“You have to be a little crazy to stand in front of a puck that goes that fast,” she said.
Archived article by Matt James