This past weekend, the Cornell played host to ECAC power and nationally ranked St. Lawrence and came away with two hard-fought, but disappointing losses by scores of 5-2 and 2-1. The setbacks dropped Cornell to 3-14 overall (2-6 conference) while the St. Lawrence squad improved to 15-7-2, (7-1 conference).
Led by the play of Gina Kingsbury, St. Lawrence powered to a 5-2 victory on Friday night in the series opener, beginning the scoring at 13:18 of the opening period. Kingsbury, who recorded a hat trick and assisted on the visitors’ two other goals, received a pass from Shannon Smith and raced for a breakaway goal for the 1-0 lead.
While Cornell held St. Lawrence scoreless for the rest of the first period, St. Lawrence broke through with three more goals in the second period without any answer from Cornell’s dormant offense. St. Lawrence’s Trish Powers scored just twenty seconds into the second, and Amanda Sargeant and Kingsbury tallied two power play goals to push the Cornell deficit to 4-0 entering the final period.
At 8:07 of the third stanza, Kingsbury cemented her hat trick with an impressive goal which found its way past goaltender Sanya Sandahl, extending the St. Lawrence lead to 5-0. That capped the scoring for the St. Lawrence squad, which fired 32 shots on Sandahl, who came up with 27 stops. Cornell’s offense awakened in the final minutes of the contest as sophomore Anita Khar assisted goals by junior defenseman Brooke Bestwick and freshman Pearle Nerenberg in the final 5:05 of the game, leaving the final score at 5-2.
Despite the loss, Cornell was positive about the performance and Bestwick said of the team’s performance and her late goal, “St. Lawrence is a great team. They are big and physical, and we had to play hard. Other than the second period, we played well, and it was good to score late. It gave us confidence going into Saturday.”
Saturday’s spectators witnessed a defensive struggle between the two hockey squads and a standout performance by Cornell goalie Liz Connelly, who had 35 saves. However, The Red once again found itself on the wrong end of the final score, losing 2-1. Despite the loss, Cornell coach Carol Mullins was positive about her team’s performance, saying, “We played pretty well as a team, and against an opponent like St. Lawrence we put forth a pretty good showing. Liz Connelly’s performance was excellent, and goalie play has been a strength of our team throughout, from both Liz and Sanya Sandahl.”
Sargeant put in her own rebound at 5:06 to open the scoring. Both team’s offenses were stymied the rest of the period, with Cornell behind 1-0, having mustered only one shot on goal.
In the second period, Cornell’s Erin Ellis took advantage of the Red’s two skater advantage, knotting the scoring at the 5:57 mark. Ellis’ second goal of the season came off her deflection of an Erinn Perushek shot, and Cornell and St. Lawrence finished the second session tied at one goal apiece.
Despite an inspired effort, Cornell’s goaltender Connelly couldn’t withstand the third period barrage of shots by St. Lawrence (22), yielding the game winning goal to Kingsbury with 2:49 remaining. Cornell had its chances to score in the third period as well, but failed to capitalize on a breakaway opportunity by Lindsay Murao and a powerful slap shot by Bestwick with just over ten minutes remaining in regulation. Bestwick recounted her late scoring chance, stating, “I came into the slot, thought I had her glove side, but it didn’t happen. The goalie just made a great play.”
Although dropping to 2-6 in the ECAC North, Cornell remains optimistic about its playoff chances. Coach Mullins reiterated her team’s lofty goals, commenting, “We’re still confident in making the playoffs. Our goal is to make it all the way to [the ECAC Final Four at] Dartmouth. Playing the way we did against St. Lawrence boosts our confidence, especially after Saturday’s game. We just need to figure out how to win close games.”
This coming weekend, Cornell will travel to Ivy League rivals Harvard and Brown in two conference matchups. The lady icers hope to garner four points in an attempt to qualify for the conference playoffs.
Archived article by Mark Fetzko