If there is one positive about fall break being over, it is the realization that Cornell hockey is beginning. The women’s hockey team will host the first weekend of Cornell hockey starting today. At 4 p.m., the Red debuts its 2006-07 team in the annual Red-White scrimmage. In addition, the Red will take on a Canadian junior squad, Durham Jr. Lightning, on Saturday and Sunday.
Last year, the Red improved its record by six games and hopes that the weekend will preview its continued success for the 2006-07 season.
“It is a big weekend to assess players and the team,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “If you are a fan of hockey, you should come.”
Not only is it a big weekend for the players but a huge weekend for coach Derraugh as he is no longer the team’s interim coach. After leading the team to an improved 9-18-1 record last year, Derraugh was named head coach.
“I think they feel more comfortable around me. They know what to expect from me and at the same time I have learned more about the players and their personalities,” Derraugh said.
“We are very confident in him,” said senior captain Caroline Scott. “We know he has great experience, we trust in him and we are very happy to have him back.”
Derraugh, who captained the men’s hockey team that went to the NCAA tournament in 1991, is glad to retain some of his top players from last year. Sixteen players will return, including last year’s leading scorer, junior Caeleigh Beerworth, and senior co-captain Beth Baronick, who recorded a .890 save percentage last year.
They will be called upon for leadership as the Red has welcomed eight new faces.
“I think at first they were surprised at the fitness level, but they have come along,” Derraugh said.
Hoping to avoid an 0-3 start like last year, the Red plans to play hard early in the season, including this weekend’s exhibition matches.
“We take these games just like any others. We have to take them seriously if we want to succeed,” Scott said.
The Red must approach this season seriously considering the heavy workload looming in the future. Following this weekend, the Red will play 15 straight weekends of hockey, minus the playoffs. The season will be even harder than last year as Olympic participants return to their respective teams that they left behind during the games in Torino, Italy.
The players are ready and waiting for the opening to the 2006-07 season.
“My goal is to be the best teammate and player that I can be for Cornell,” Scott said.