February 6, 2002

On the Rise: Lady Icers Aim for Postseason

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The Red broke out this weekend led by ECAC North Player of the Week and Cornell University Athlete of the Week junior Brooke Bestwick along with classmates goaltenders Liz Conelly and Sanya Sandahl. Sandahl was also honored as Goalie of the Week by the ECAC North.

Cornell started off its weekend by beating arch-nemesis Harvard, 4-2 in Cambridge, helping the Red hockey teams to a Friday night sweep of the Crimson. But the lady icers weren’t done there, they continued on Saturday, tying No. 9 Brown at Providence, 2-2.

“It’s always good to come out ahead,” head coach Carol Mullins summed up the team’s weekend succinctly.

“We went into the games with confidence,” said Connelly.

She noted the team’s attitude, both before and after the weekend. They expect more from themselves, and they’re improving.

Connelly cited both the defense and offense as the deciding factors in the weekend’s contests.

“We’re finishing around the net, and the defense is stepping it up,” she said.

“We’re playing more like a team,” added Bestwick.

“Our heart is in it.”

Bestwick started off early, scoring Cornell’s first goal and later adding an assist against the Crimson on Friday; then firing the tying shot against Brown with 48.9 seconds left in the third period.

“It’s a great feeling [to win the awards], but it wouldn’t have happened without the team,” said Bestwick.

“The goalies really stood on their head,” she said. “They were unbelievable.”

Connelly picked up the4 39 against Harvard despite the Crimson out-shooting Cornell 26 to 20, and Sandahl had a particularly impressive performance against Brown on Saturday.

She stopped 42 shots from the second ranked offense in the ECAC North, including 18 in the first period, and helped make the most of the Red’s two goals. She kept the Bears scoreless for the last 14 minutes of the third period, then shut them down in overtime.

Mullins talked about how the weekend’s results can help the Red on the road to the ECAC playoffs.

“The big thing is the confidence,” she said.

“It proves something to the players, that you can come back.”

While she acknowledged Cornell’s success over the weekend, Mullins also made it clear that the games weren’t quite perfect, and the team can still improve.

“This is one step,” she pointed out. “We’re taking this one weekend at a time.”

Over the next four weekends, the Red plays seven games, six against conference teams, three of which are Ivy foes. The results will have a big effect on Cornell’s postseason seed and the team’s mentality going into the playoffs.

“The players know the importance of these games every weekend,” said Mullins.

“We just have to keep up the hard work, and keep skating the teams down,” Bestwick added. “If we want it more than the other team, the game is ours.”

Coach Mullins talked about the team’s goal for the postseason — obtaining one of the middle seeds in the best-of-three playoffs. This weekend’s three ECAC points went a long way helping the team to that goal.

“We’ve got to prove to ourselves that this isn’t a fluke,” Mullins said.

Connelly is confident that the team can do so.

“We know that we can win,” she said. “And we think that we can get pretty far in the playoffs.”

In the end, Mullins noted that teamwork will the key to any late-season run by the lady icers.

“It takes the team,” she said. “It’s not any individual one.”

Archived article by Matt James