January 28, 2005

Women's Hockey Heads North

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Winless in its last 12 games, the women’s hockey team has been plagued by some tough luck as of late.

With seven of the team’s last nine contests decided by two goals or fewer, the Red remain consistently competitive with a tough conference schedule featuring six of the top 12 teams in the nation. Yet, it has been unable to come up with some crucial points from those games. “The team as a whole has been playing really well,” said assistant coach Robert Burke. “We’ve been playing well against ranked teams.”

However, with few games remaining to its season, Cornell must quickly change its luck in those close games for it to reach the postseason for the second consecutive season. The Red will look for that turnaround this weekend, as it travels up north to play a pair of conference games against St. Lawrence and Clarkson.

Facing off against the Saints on Friday night, Cornell begins its weekend play against one of the top six teams in the nation for the third time in four weeks. The Red fell to sixth-ranked Harvard, 5-3, in early January while it lost to No. 2 Dartmouth, 4-1, a week ago.

Unlike Cornell, the fifth ranked St. Lawrence squad will enter the contest on a hot streak, posting a 9-1-0 record through its last 10 games.

“St. Lawrence is a very good opponent,” said Burke. “We’ve just got to step it up against the tough competition.”

The Saints feature a highly potent offense that has averaged over five goals a game through its first seven games in 2005. Paced by senior Rebecca Russell’s 20 goals and 21 assists, St. Lawrence’s other top offensive threats include sophomore Chelsea Grills, junior Emilie Berlinguette and freshman Sabrina Harbec, all of whom have accredited over 20 points on the season.

Meanwhile, the Saints are strong in net as well. The team’s goalies have combined to hold conference foes to just 2.2 goals per game, while posting a save percentage well above .900. Freshman Meaghan Guckian and junior Jess Moffat have logged the majority of the team’s playing time between the pipes, posting 9-3-0 and 6-1-3 records, respectively.

Clarkson is also one of the best defensive teams in the conference. Limiting opponents to 2.04 goals per game on the season, the Golden Knights also feature a multi-goalie rotation that features several talented netminders.

The Red is most likely to face sophomore Kira McDonald, who has allowed 2.28 goals per game, while posting a .915 save percentage on the season.

Whereas the Saints have excelled on the offensive side, however, the Golden Knights have been much the opposite, averaging a meager 1.7 goals per game in conference play. Sophomore center Jill Nolan and defender Katie Morrison have headed up the attack, each accumulating 15 points on the season.

The first meeting of the season between Cornell and Clarkson on Saturday has large implications on the playoff picture in the ECACHL. With the two teams tied for the final playoff spot at seven points apiece, picking up a point in that contest is crucial for the Red’s playoff hopes.

“It’s a big game, but all these games now have playoff implications,” Burke said. “We’ve just got to stick to our game plan and play tough in the defensive zone.”

Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer