January 31, 2007

Four Seniors Lead Way for W. Hockey

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Although the women’s hockey team’s senior class consists of only four players, each one has played important roles towards Cornell’s development over the course of this season. While they may not have recorded many victories over the year, the group has set an example for the younger members of the team.

Given its expectation to contend for the league title, Cornell (3-19-1, 3-13-0 ECACHL) has had a disappointing season. Despite losing 19 of its last 21 games, the seniors — forward Caroline Scott, forward Halina Kristalyn and goalies Sarah McConnachie and Beth Baronick — have always stayed positive and have stressed to the rest of the team that wins and losses are not everything in hockey.

“Being a smaller class, they’ve really had to provide a lot of leadership,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “They’ve really had to be strong individuals, and I think this year in particular, they have really stepped up to the challenge considering the fact that it has been a tough season for everyone.”

One player who has stepped up to the challenge this year is captain Caroline Scott. In her four-year career, totaling 109 games, she has logged 14 goals and 11 assists.

“Caroline Scott, who is a premed student, is somebody who is very organized and very hard-working,” Derraugh said. “She is determined to do her best in everything that she does. She is just a great person all-around and a great leader.”

Kristalyn is another senior who has played an important role for the Red this year. On Friday, she netted a power-play goal in a victory over Union. In 107 career games, she has netted 31 goals and handed out 23 assists for a total of 54 points.
[img_assist|nid=21016|title=women’s hockey|desc=Nifty move. Senior forward Halina Kristalyn (19) pushes the puck past Niagara’s Kerry-Lynn O’Hara in a 2-1 loss on Oct. 20.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=75]
“Halina Kristalyn has a great personality in the dressing room to keep things light, but really comes to play for every game,” Derraugh said. “She has really improved her defensive play this year, which is something that she is very happy with. She also improved her fitness levels and she is definitely a person who you want to have around the dressing rooms because when everything is tense, she is the one to brighten up your day.”

Even though she may not be as well-known as the other seniors, Sarah McConnachie is just as vital to the team. As a third-string goalie, she has only played in 10 games for the Red. However, her actions off the ice have been important for her and the rest of the team.

“Sarah McConnachie has been our unsung hero,” Derraugh said. “Obviously for her, it’s never easy to be the goalie that is not getting much ice time. She’s just a kid that never gives up and never quits. She comes to practice hard day after day and it’s just a great example of the ultimate team player.”

Lastly, senior alternate captain Beth Baronick has played consistently since her early season injuries. In 13 games this year, Baronick has made 360 saves on 399 attempts for a .902 save percentage. This past weekend, Baronick recorded 24 saves for her first shutout of the season and the second of her career.

“Beth obviously has stepped into her own these last two years,” Derraugh said. “She played really well for us down the stretch last year. She’s somebody who everybody turns to talk to, and she is a great leader in that regard because she knows how to handle everyone. She gets along with everyone and she is also a great leader on the ice.”

Baronick, who posted 28 more saves Saturday afternoon in a 1-0 loss against Rensselaer, was rewarded for her performance over the weekend by earning ECACHL Goalie of the Week honors. Over the two games, she made a total of 52 saves and only gave up one goal.

“For Beth to win Goalie of the Week is great,” Derraugh said. “For her, it’s been a tough start to the season with the concussions. Being out so long and then having to come back and trying to get into form again is never easy. Overall, I think she handled it extremely well. Now she is starting to hit her stride, which is great for us.”

Baronick was also selected as one of 89 finalists for the 2007 NCAA Frozen Four Skills Challenge. In March, she will find out if she will be one of the participants.

[img_assist|nid=21029|title=Nifty move|desc=Senior forward Halina Kristalyn (19) pushes the puck past Niagara’s Kerry-Lynn O’Hara in a 2-1 loss on Oct. 20|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=75]