The women’s hockey team will play its final home game of the year on Sunday, when it faces Niagara at 2 p.m. at Lynah Rink. The Red (0-7-1, 0-5-1) is coming off two losses at the hands of Connecticut and Boston College last weekend on the road.
Niagara (7-7-0) will look to halt its five-game skid against Maine tomorrow before heading to Ithaca.
The icers lost a close game last Saturday to the Huskies, as Connecticut jumped out to a 2-0 lead it would not relinquish. The Red would answer back on the power play late in the second period, with junior Anita Khar tallying the team’s first power play goal of the season. Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the third, as Connecticut came away with the win.
On Sunday, B.C. netted two goals late in the first period, but the Red again answered with a power play goal from freshman Jen Munhofen in the second period. The Eagles would seal the victory in the third, as it tacked on two more scores to come away with the 4-1 victory.
The Purple Eagles started the season with a bang, notching a 7-2 record and knocking off then No. 5 Brown. Niagara has been in a slump lately, as it hasn’t won a game since Nov. 15. Last weekend, the Purple Eagles were swept on the road by No. 6 New Hampshire. With a 3-1 conference record, Niagara sits atop the CHA Women’s Conference, although Mercyhurst trails by only two points and has two games in hand.
With the loss of All-American goaltender Tania Pinelli to graduation, freshman Breanne Doyle has played incredibly, netting her first collegiate shutout in only her second game of the season. She stopped 40 shots as Niagara came from behind to beat Brown, and notched her second shutout after a 6-0 thumping of B.C. She has been sharing time between the pipes with junior Jennifer Mascaro, who has seen slightly more ice time than Doyle.
“Niagara’s definitely a team that we can challenge to win the hockey game. They lost to UConn 3-2, and I felt that we were a strong enough team to beat UConn, so it’s a game we can win,” commented head coach Melody Davidson. “We just have to keep working hard and believe in ourselves, and have the confidence around the net that we need to score goals.”
Seniors Liz Connelly and Sanya Sandahl have been splitting time between the pipes for the Red all season. Sandahl started in back-to-back games against Brown and Harvard, while Connelly was in net for both games last weekend. Coach Davidson has yet to decide who will be in goal for Sunday’s game. Freshman Flora Vineberg saw her first collegiate action against Brown, as she came in midway through the second period, and made 22 saves.
The line of Khar, junior Briana Jentner, and sophomore Pearle Nerenberg accounts for almost half of the team’s scoring this season. Khar leads the team in scoring with 2 goals and 2 assists. The Red will need to increase its offensive production against Niagara, as it hasn’t scored more than two goals in a game this season. Last season, Niagara came away with a 3-0 victory against Cornell at the Purple Eagle Invitational.
The Red will head to Montreal in the first week of January to play in the Concordia Tournament. Last year, Cornell advanced to the finals of the eight-team tournament, but lost 4-3 when Dominique Rancour scored the game-winning goal with two seconds remaining in the game.
The team will then travel to Ohio to battle Findlay for a two-game set the following week, and will return home to Lynah on Jan. 18 for a weekend series against Mercyhurst.
“Every time you play a game, you get more experience. All the non-conference games we have upcoming are strong teams, so there’s not going to be any guaranteed wins for sure,” remarked Davidson. “We’ll just keep working along, and hopefully as we go through continue to gain confidence offensively so that we get back to our conference games, we’re putting the puck in the net more regularly.”
The icers’ conference schedule starts up again at the end of January, when the team travels to the North Country for two games against St. Lawrence.
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach