The women’s hockey team will close out the regular season this weekend at home against No. 1 Harvard tonight at 7 p.m. and Brown tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. Tomorrow’s contest marks the final home game of the six seniors, and they will be honored during the game. The Red (4-17-2, 2-10-2 ECAC) earned a point last weekend in its home-and-home series against travel partner Colgate, tying the Raiders at Lynah before losing in Hamilton. Harvard (24-1-1, 13-0-1) and Brown (10-12-4, 7-6-1 ECAC) faced off on Tuesday, and the Crimson came away with a 4-3 win to clinch the ECAC regular season and Ivy League titles.
“The game between Harvard and Brown [earlier this week] was very physical, so that could be a factor. They have some really good depth, both teams, so I’m not sure it will affect them as much as our team when we’re still developing and gaining experience with players,” commented head coach Melody Davidson.
Last Thursday at Lynah, the icers notched a goal in the closing seconds of the second period to go up 1-0, but Colgate buried a shot with eight minutes left in the third. The game went to overtime, but ended in a tie. Sophomore Jamie Ramenofsky scored her first collegiate goal in the effort.
On Saturday, the Raiders grabbed the lead late in the second, and held on until the closing minutes of the game, when senior Sanya Sandahl was pulled to bring out the extra attacker. Colgate responded with two empty net goals to seal the victory.
The Red currently holds the last playoff spot and is two points behind Yale, which plays Dartmouth and Vermont this weekend. The icers need at least three points to pass Yale, as the Bulldogs hold the tiebreaker over the Red. If Yale wins one game this weekend, then the Red will face Harvard in the first round of the ECAC playoffs next weekend.
The Crimson maintained its hold on the No. 1 ranking in the USCHO and AHW polls with a sweep last week of No. 9 Princeton and Yale. Senior Jennifer Botterill leads the country in points per game, goals, and assists. She recently broke the school’s all-time scoring mark for both the men’s and women’s teams, and captured the all-time Division I scoring crown after Tuesday’s game. Botterill is a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding player in women’s collegiate hockey, an award she won in 2001. She helped Canada capture the gold medal at the Salt Lake City Olympics for Canada, and was coached by Davidson, who was an assistant coach for Team Canada.
“Jennifer Botterill is an outstanding hockey player. Regardless if you’re coaching or working with her, she’s going to come with her A game every time,” remarked Davidson. “Our goal will be to minimize those top players, and try to maximize our time against their other lines. I don’t think [my knowledge of her playing ability] will be a big factor, other than it’s going to be great to see her,” she continued.
The Crimson boast two other Olympic medalists in freshman Julie Chu and junior Angela Ruggiero, who both won silver medals last year for Team USA. Chu was recently named ECAC Rookie of the Week, her fourth honor this season, and Ruggiero is the nation’s top-scoring defenseman. In goal, junior Jessica Ruddock is first in the nation in GAA and winning percentage, and seventh in save percentage. Red freshman Andrea Skinner’s twin sister Jennifer is a blueliner on the Crimson, and the two have both notched five points this season. When the two teams met earlier this season in Cambridge, the Crimson came out on top with an 8-0 win.
After reaching the finals of last year’s Frozen Four, Brown has had somewhat of a lackluster season. The Bears are currently fifth in the ECAC and are fighting for a home playoff series. The team is coached by Margaret “Digit” Murphy ’83, who was one of Cornell’s most prolific scorers and helped the Red capture two Ivy titles.
Sophomore Jessica Link leads the team in scoring with a team-high 15 goals, while senior Kim Insalaco has notched 17 helpers to go along with five goals and was recently named to the 2003 USA National Team. Senior Pam Dreyer has a 2.48 GAA and a .905 save percentage, and was also named to the 2003 USA National Team. The Bears earned a 9-1 win over the Red in November in Providence.
“We’re expecting Brown’s speed and the torpedo system they play. We had a lot of factors last time, not getting to the rink on time, all those things, so we shouldn’t have any problems here. We have to expect and know what’s coming at us right away and be able to advance the puck quickly and take advantage of breakdowns that their system might show us,” said Davidson.
This weekend’s games will be a good test for the Red, as it will most likely have to face the Crimson again next weekend at Cambridge for the first round of the ECAC playoffs.
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach