The women’s hockey team recorded its first conference and home win this weekend, defeating Yale on Sunday 3-1, after losing to No. 8 Princeton on Saturday 6-0. The Red (3-15-2, 1-8-1 ECAC) is now in sole possession of eighth place in the ECAC standings, one point behind travel partner Colgate.
The Bulldogs (7-14-2, 3-7-0 ECAC) managed a split on the weekend by defeating Colgate on Saturday, while Princeton notched a four-point weekend by defeating the Raiders yesterday.
The Tigers came out strong from the start on Saturday, scoring just 26 seconds into the contest. Nikola Holmes tapped in the loose puck past senior Sanya Sandahl for her third goal of the season. Princeton would tack on another score just two minutes later, as Andrea Kilbourne shot one to the left of Sandahl from the low slot. Head coach Melody Davidson opted to pull Sandahl after the second goal, and senior Liz Connelly took over between the pipes.
“[Sandahl] didn’t have good focus, and the team didn’t come out playing. When you give up two quick goals like that, you’ve got to make a change, and unfortunately in that situation, it’s the goaltender that pays the price,” commented Davidson.
The icers tightened up their defense after the second goal, and generated some quality chances down at the other end. On the power play, freshman Jen Munhofen got off a nifty backhand shot on the right side, but Megan Van Beusekom was there to make the save.
Connelly was solid in net during the first, while the defense prevented the Tigers from getting any good looks at the net.
“I thought we played very well after [giving up the second goal]. We went at them, we got some good scoring chances. Other than the two goals, the shots on goal were even in the first period,” said Davidson.
In the opening minutes of the second stanza, the Red generated some pressure in the Princeton zone. Junior Sarah Carter nearly netted a goal on a two-on-one rush, but the shot went wide.
Almost midway through the second, Princeton knocked in its third goal of the game, as Kilbourne put a rebound past Connelly on the far side for her second goal of the game.
After a close two periods of play, the Tigers offense capitalized on its scoring chances in the third, lighting the lamp three times to put the game away.
Gretchen Anderson, all alone in front, received a pass from behind the net, and slid it past Connelly at 5:47. The Red nearly answered right back, as senior Lindsay Murao took the puck into the Princeton zone and fired a shot from the hash marks that hit the left post.
Anderson scored again with just over five minutes left in the game, scoring on a low shot after the Red turned the puck over in front of the net. Lisa Rasmussen would add the final tally in the final two minutes, bringing the puck in from center ice and firing shot that beat Connelly on the left side.
Despite the loss, Davidson was pleased with the team’s performance.
“Last time we played this team, we were outshot 40 to 18, and we didn’t get very many scoring chances if any. We had the chance to be in the game when it counted, we just didn’t bury it. We still want to bury [the puck], but at least we were in that position this time. We keep looking at the positives and getting better.”
Cornell proved that it was no pushover team when it beat the Yale Bulldogs yesterday. The Red played well for sixty minutes, and garnered its first win at home.
“It’s good to get that monkey off our back,” said Davidson, remarking on getting her first home win, “and hopefully there will be lots more to come.”
Despite a shaky start versus Princeton, Sandahl got the start in goal again for the Red.
“I went on a gut feeling on the start. We’ve been pretty erratic with goaltenders’ performance. She had such a great weekend last weekend,” commented Davidson. “I thought she came back well after being pulled yesterday a couple of minutes into the game. You know, you never know what the mental psyche of a goaltender will be when that happens.”
Cornell started the scoring at 13:10, when sophomore Maryann Nowak managed to slip a puck through Yale goaltender Sarah Love from the high slot. The Red continued to control the play throughout the first period, out shooting the Bulldogs 10-3 by the time the buzzer sounded.
“We capitalized,” said Davidson. “We were able to finish and that makes all the difference.”
The Red came out strong in the second, again keeping the puck in the Bulldogs’ zone early on. After battling hard, the Red finally hit pay dirt at 8:52 into the second period, after Yale rookie sensation Natalie Babony took an interference penalty, giving the Red a five on four power play.
The power play goal came when senior captain Brooke Bestwick managed to thread a pass through to junior forward Anita Khar, who was all alone in the low slot. Khar beat Love to give the Red a 2-0 advantage.
“One of our goals has been to try and step up on the power play,” explained Davidson, “so it was nice to see it come together [at home].”
The penalty kill unit also stepped up in the game. Junior Briana Jentner made two great plays to keep Yale off the board on the power play. She gloved the puck out of the air after Sandahl made the save but lost sight of it. On the same shift, Jentner made a diving block on Erin Duggan’s shot from the left point.
The third period was the Red’s worst. Yale came out strong and managed to outshoot Cornell 17-5, to actually close out the game with more shots overall. The Bulldogs’ Babony took a bad tripping penalty at 15:08, however, and this would prove to be enough of an opportunity for Cornell. Just four seconds into the power play, sophomore forward Pearle Nerenberg slid a pass in front of the net that went off of a Yale defender’s skate and into the net for the Red’s second power play goal of the night.
The Bulldogs responded quickly, when Babony scored just twenty four seconds later, but this would not be enough. Sandahl stood strong, and Cornell finished with a 3-1 win.
“[Sandahl] held us in there in the third period and made some key saves,” said Davidson.
The Red views this game as highly important. After a weak showing against Princeton, Cornell really pulled it together to beat a strong Yale squad that boasts two 20-point scorers.
Later this week, Cornell faces Dartmouth and Vermont in an attempt to continue its current turnaround.
Archived article by Michael Pandolfini