When the Miami Heat unexpectedly lost to the New York Knicks in the 1999 NBA playoffs, Alonzo Mourning was quoted in The New York Times as saying, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.” Now, although it’s still technically the beginning of the season for the women’s ice hockey team, the hard-working Red has already seen its share of adversity.
Coming off another two-loss weekend in which the Red was out-scored, 9-1, by No. 5 St. Lawrence, the women’s squad is currently in the midst of a season-opening four-game losing streak. The Red’s play so far has landed it in a six-way tie for fifth place in the ECAC standings with a conference record of 0-3-0 (0-4-0 overall). Among the six teams who are winless in conference play at this point, the Red is the only team to have not won a single game yet.
Head coach Melody Davidson and the rest of the team hope that the Red’s first foray into the win column will not be as delayed as it was last season, when the squad did not register a conference win until Feb. 9. Yet while that elusive first conference win will have to wait until at least next weekend when the Red faces off against Clarkson in Hamilton, N.Y., the squad can still build some confidence this weekend with a pair of games against NEC competitors Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac.
“We’re actually really confident going into this weekend,” junior defenseman Jamie Ramenofsky said. “We just need to focus on playing our game and put some pucks in the net.”
Tonight’s game at Sacred Heart in Fairfield, Conn. will be the first of a long road trip for the Red, which won’t return to Lynah until Jan. 9, 2004, after a six-game road trip and a tournament in Montreal, Que. over winter break. The Pioneers currently boast a 2-3-0 regular season record and a solid defensive corps, led by seniors Siobhan Russell and Rebecca Gelinas. Regaining some confidence will also be a goal for the Pioneers, who were throttled by the Red’s other opponent, Quinnipiac, 10-0 in their last meeting.
The following evening the Red will travel to Northford, Conn., to test its will against a Bobcats squad looking for some Ivy League vengeance after being embarrassed by Brown, 10-1, on Tuesday. The game should prove to be an even match-up, with both teams having been defeated by Colgate and the Bobcats just barely squeaking by Clarkson (whom the Red lost to by a goal). Quinnipiac is led by speedy junior forward Gillian Gallagher, the Bobcats’ leading scorer in 2002-03 and recent member of the hat trick club (she netted three goals against Clarkson). The Red’s defensemen will also be on the lookout for freshman Vicky Graham, who is putting together a breakout season already with five goals and seven assists for Quinnipiac.
Yet, for the Red, another opponent just means another opportunity to win.
“We’re not going into the weekend thinking, ‘Well, these teams are not in our conference, so it’s not important,'” Ramenofsky stated. “In all honesty we just want to win.”
Not to say that there hasn’t been anything positive about the Red’s play thus far. Sophomore Vicki Hodgkinson already has netted two points, with a goal against Clarkson and an assist against St. Lawrence. Sophomore forwards Jen Munhofen and Caitlin Warren are both winning 55 percent of their faceoff attempts, with Munhofen registering 12 wins against Colgate. Classmate Flora Vineberg has also been consistent in goal, having compiled a .909 save percentage in four games, including a 42-save performance in the Red’s 3-1 loss to St. Lawrence.
The biggest problem for the Red, however, remains generating a steady offense. While it seems as if opportunities have abounded for the squad (the players have put 102 shots on goal in four games), the finishing touch just hasn’t been there.
“Most of our problem is right in front of the net,” Ramenofsky said. “We certainly have the talent, we just need the drive to put the puck in.”
The puck will drop today at the Milford Ice Pavilion at 3 p.m., and tomorrow’s game will begin at 5 p.m. at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
Archived article by Kyle Sheahen