As the saying goes, another year older, another year wiser.
Trying to erase the memories of last season’s 4-21-2 overall record and the ignominious 7-0 loss to Harvard in the ECAC tournament, head coach Melody Davidson and the rest of the women’s hockey team are hoping that the experience they gained last year will produce more positive results in the 2003-04 season. Coming into just her second season at the helm of the Red, Davidson is optimistic that with a year of training and familiarization with her coaching systems under their belts, the players will continue to improve and gain cohesiveness as the season goes on.
“We’re a better team than last year in terms of experience,” Davidson said. “We have a few steps to go from last year, but every day we are improving more and more.”
The Red added relatively few new faces this season, welcoming only two new forwards and goaltenders to the squad, bringing the total number of players to 19. Traditionally teams will carry anywhere between 21 and 22 players, leaving the Red a little bit short-staffed. Davidson equates the low amount to her late arrival (in the midst of the recruitment period), but insists that this factor will not hamper the team; instead, it may prove to be inspiration for the tight-knit teammates.
“I expect the whole team to step up for every game,” Davidson stated. “There will be a lot of ice time to go around, and it should give everyone an opportunity to establish themselves in a variety of ways.”
Although this comparatively low number of players could cause problems for the Red if it becomes bogged down with injuries, the team members reiterated Davidson’s positive outlook.
“We are all good friends on the team,” sophomore defensemen Becky Fisher said. “The small number of players will only allow us to get closer to each other as teammates.”
The Red is banking on the contributions of old veterans and rookies alike in its quest to improve upon last season’s eighth place finish in the ECAC standings. Filling the void left by departed keeper Sanya Sandahl ’03 are newcomers Beth Baronick and Sarah McConnachie. Baronick boasts a wealth of prep school and club hockey experience, having played for both St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire and the Syracuse Stars. McConnachie will add some more maple leaf blood to a team that features 10 Canadian natives, having spent the majority of her career prior to Cornell with the Markham Stouffville Stars midget AA team. Both are expected to challenge sophomore Flora Vineberg for playing time throughout the season.
Hoping to make an impact offensively are freshmen forwards Halina Krystalyn and Caroline Scott. Krystalyn, who is expected to contribute both with her size and offensive intuition, hails from Prince Edward High School and draws most of her playing experience from her Cobourg intermediate AA team. Scott, a former member of the Toronto Junior Aeros, will combine speed, gritty play, and a hard-working attitude that should translate into significant offensive production.
The Red was in desperate need of a defensive and offensive upgrade, coming off a season in which the team averaged barely over a goal per game offensively while giving up almost five goals per game. Davidson points to a strong off-season training regimen and the dedication of players to winning as keys to starting this season in the right direction.
“Going into this season, we are much better athletes in better condition,” Davidson said. “We worked hard off-ice, and now the idea is to get everyone working together in game situations.”
Also new to the Red this season is assistant coach Robert Burke, a native of Montreal, Que. and former head women’s hockey coach at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. Burke, known for his proclivity towards producing both great athletes and great students, has been involved in youth hockey since 1993 and will add vast coaching experience to Davidson’s staff.
On Sunday, the Red will face off in a scrimmage game against the Toronto Jr. Aeros, the former team of both Scott and Vineberg. The Red’s season officially begins on Nov. 7 with a home game against Colgate.
Archived article by Kyle Sheahen