As the men’s hockey team gears up for its long-anticipated showdown with rivals Brown and Harvard at home this weekend, the women’s team will be facing arguably a more formidable challenge: defeating those same two teams on the road. After beginning the season with a frustrating 0-4 record, the lady icers bounced back and built up an impressive three game unbeaten streak against Sacred Heart, Quinnipiac, and Clarkson. Yet, following an extraordinarily close loss to the Colgate Raiders last Sunday, the Red will be looking forward to the opportunity to resume its winning ways in what may be the most significant weekend series of the season.
Cornell will enter Friday night’s grunge match in Cambridge with a thirst for revenge and more than a little something to prove. Last season, the Crimson rolled over a feeble Red squad, 8-0, at the Bright Hockey Center and embarrassed Cornell at Lynah in a 7-1 pounding. The 2003 ECAC playoffs proved to be more of the same, as Harvard showed no mercy against the overmatched Red, outscoring the team 20-1 in two playoff meetings.
The Red then travel to Providence, RI on Saturday night to meet the Brown Bears — a team which has also not exactly given away wins to Cornell in recent years. In two games last season, the Red was outscored by the Bears 18-2, including a 9-1 loss at Meehan Auditorium in Providence. Brown is returning 19 players from its active roster last year, and there is little doubt that a repeat of last season’s blowouts will be on their minds.
Yet, the Red is not the same team from last year. At 2-4-1, Cornell has shown many signs of consistency on both offense and defense, and head coach Melody Davidson has the squad playing a tighter, more disciplined game. After being outscored 13-1 in the first four games, the players have turned up the offensive heat in the last four, notching 22 goals to their opponents’ 10. 14 different skaters have registered at least one point, and the squad is averaging three goals a game in scoring. The Red has also been peppering opponents’ goaltenders with a plethora of shots, averaging 27.9 shots on goal per contest.
Such a strong team effort has been supported by a number of outstanding individual efforts. Freshman forward Halina Kristalyn has been the surprise sensation of the season, currently leading the team in goals (5) after a dominating five-point performance last weekend in the win at Clarkson. For her efforts, Kristalyn was named the ECAC Rookie of the Week, the first Cornell player to be honored individually by the conference this season. Kristalyn is tied for the team lead in points with junior forward Pearle Nerenberg (both have nine), who has recorded three goals and six assists in eight games thus far. Junior defenseman Jamie Ramenofsky has also been getting involved offensively, leading the team’s defensemen with five points, all assists. Meanwhile, sophomore goaltender Flora Vineberg has persevered through an oftentimes heavy workload with poise and consistency, having compiled a .903 save percentage despite a 1-5-1 record. Currently the netminder boasts a 2.85 goals against average, and coupled with the team’s three goal scoring average, the trends seem to be pointing towards more wins for the Red.
Coach Davidson and her players are hoping that these positives will translate into victories this weekend against the No. 3 Crimson (8-0-0 overall, 2-0-0 ECAC) and the highly skilled Bears (3-4-0, 0-0-0). Yet there is no denying that the Red’s work will be cut out for them. Harvard puts one of the most talented teams in the country on the ice every game, led by high-flying junior Nicole Corriero (14 goals, 10 assists) and speedy sophomore Jennifer Raimondi (five goals, six assists). Vineberg and the Red defensive corps will also be on the lookout for bruising defenseman Angela Ruggiero, who is averaging nearly two points and a penalty per game. The senior is also a commanding force on the Crimson’s power play, having already notched three power play goals.
“We definitely have respect for their players,” junior defenseman Lara Kelly said. “But we can’t be intimidated by them. If we go out of our way to key in on one or two of their players, that takes us off our own game and that’s not the way we play.”
The Bears are anchored by senior goaltender Katie Germain, winner of three games for Brown and this week’s ECAC Goalie of the Week. Sophomore forward Keaton Zucker leads the Bears with four goals and four assists, and the gritty team has averaged over 32 shots per game at this point in the season.
Archived article by Kyle Sheahen