January 26, 2007

W. Hockey Targets Four Point Weekend

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After watching the West drop 12 goals on the East in the NHL All Star Game, the Red will look for some offense of its own as it hosts Union and Rensselaer at Lynah Rink this weekend. In the last seven games, Cornell (2-18-1, 2-12-0 ECACHL) has scored a total of six goals while opponents torched the Cornell net for 27 goals. It is certainly no coincidence that those seven games resulted in tallies in the loss column for the Red.

Starting tonight, the women’s icers will try to reverse the trend when it faces Union (4-18-0, 0-14-0) in a battle of ECACHL bottom dwellers. Earlier this season, the Red traveled to Schenectady and defeated the Dutchwomen, 4-0, in a game where freshman goaltender Jenny Niesluchowski recorded her first collegiate shutout. Now, the Dutchwomen will look to halt theIr 14-game losing streak and avenge their home loss.
[img_assist|nid=20945|title=One on one|desc=Senior captain Caroline Smith (21) controls the puck in the Red’s 3-2 win over Brown on Oct. 27. Cornell will host Union and Rensselaer at Lynah Rink this weekend.|link=none|align=left|width=66|height=100]
With seven-game and a 14-game losing streaks colliding in Ithaca, the time is ripe for one of the squads to end their funk.

“I think first and foremost, we have to be ready to play from the very start of the game,” said head coach Dough Derraugh ’91. “I think the teams that have gotten in trouble with Union in the past came out and took them lightly at the start. Next thing you know, Union is up a couple of goals and then it is a struggle.”

In Union’s last four games against St. Lawrence, Clarkson, Princeton and Quinnipiac, it has scored a grand total of two goals while giving up 26 on defense. Scoring the first goal in this game will be critical for the Red.

“One thing about Union is they do come to play and they are fairly ready to play,” Derraugh said. “If you give them an inch, you are in trouble.”

Second on the agenda this weekend will be Rensselear (11-13-1, 7-6-1 ECACHL) which has won three of its last four contests. Those three wins were against fellow ECACHL teams Clarkson, Quinnipiac and Princeton. Earlier in the season, the Red faced the Red Hawks in Troy and fell 8-2. Both goals for the Red were scored by junior Brittany Forges.

“I thought we would perform better than we did when we were down at RPI,” Derraugh said. “We did play very well in the first period and then it all unraveled after that. Throughout the year, we have come ready to play at the start of the game, but then we could not continue it throughout the game. Overall, I think that will be a focus of ours for the rest of the season — particularly this weekend.”

For the women to focus on putting forth 60 minutes of solid hockey, their confidence must be raised at the opening whistle of the Union game. In any sport, a losing streak becomes a mental issue the longer it progresses.

“Anytime a team is losing in streaks, confidence will be an issue,” Derraugh said. “It’s something you have to try to build in practice during the week and get back with them. They have to remember that they are here for a reason and they are good hockey players and we just have to come together as a team and trust each other to do our jobs rather than players trying to do everybody else’s job out there.”