February 2, 2007

W. Hockey Hits the Road to Face St. Lawrence, Clarkson

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Last weekend, the Cornell women’s ice hockey team won for the first time in seven games. This weekend, its reward will be a date with reigning ECACHL Player of the Year Sabrina Harbec and fourth-ranked St. Lawrence. The Red (3-19-1, 3-13-0 ECACHL) will also face Clarkson as it tries to pick up some points on the road.
“Obviously that was a big weekend for us,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “I thought we played well in both games, but we are still having trouble finding the net on the offensive side of things.”
Cornell will try to duplicate last weekend’s success when it faces Clarkson (14-12-2, 6-9-1) tonight. The Golden Knights have been a streaky team all year. The team has lost six out of its last seven games after winning eight in a row.
Clarkson is led by a trio of freshmen who are the team’s top-3 point scorers. Forward Genevieve Lavoie has recorded 29 points, which places her second in the league among freshmen. She also has scored 19 goals, which is the most on her team, the most in the conference among freshmen and the fourth-most overall in the ECACHL.
[img_assist|nid=21086|title=Let’s hug it out|desc=Teammates mob senior forward Halina Kristalyn (19) after her goal in the Red’s 3-0 win against Union last Friday.|link=none|align=left|width=70|height=100]
Besides Lavoie, Clarkson’s rooke class also stars forward Britney Selina, who has scored 11 goals and dished out 13 assists so far this season. Her 24 points ties her for third in the ECACHL among freshmen. Cornell will also have to contain freshman defenseman Carlee Eusepi. Eusepi’s 18 points is tied for third most among defensemen in the conference.
“Clarkson plays everybody tough,” Derraugh said. “They are very disciplined, and it is very difficult to get to the net to get opportunities to score.”
Between the pipes, Clarkson relies on two goaltenders that have each played in 15 games. Senior Stephanie Hansen has 11 wins, a 1.59 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. Her goals against average places her third in the league. When Hansen is not in goal, classmate Kira Hurley frequently starts for the Golden Knights. Hurley has logged a 2.54 goals against average and a .894 save percentage this season.
Earlier in the season, Cornell fell to Clarkson 5-1. In that game, Selina and Lavoie scored for the Golden Knights. Red sophomore forward Emma Chipman netted Cornell’s lone goal.
“Clarkson limits their opponents to very few chances,” Derraugh said. “They don’t have the firepower that St. Lawrence has.”
St. Lawrence (20-6-2, 12-4-0), Cornell’s opponent on tomorrow afternoon, has been hot as of late, going 10-1-1 in its last 12 games. The Saints are led by Harbec, who leads the team with 20 goals, 26 assists and 46 total points. Her 46 points place her first in the league and third in the entire country. Last season, Harbec scored 25 goals and handed out 36 assists. In addition to being named 2005-06 ECACHL Player of the Year, she was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, given out to the best player in the country.
Besides Harbec, Cornell will have to deal with senior forward Crystal Connors, who has 29 points on the year. On the other side of the ice, junior defenseman Annie Guay has recorded 25 points, which is the most among defensemen in the league.
Cornell will have to put the puck past Saints goaltender Meaghan Guckian, whose 16 wins lead the league. Guckian also has a 2.20 goals against average and a .912 save percentage on the year.
“St. Lawrence has many skill players,” Derraugh said. “They like more flow, and they like to wheel and deal. When you play them, you have to stay out of the penalty box because they are very good on the power play.”
St. Lawrence shut out Cornell earlier in the year by a score of 3-0. Sophomore forward Alison Domenico scored two power-play goals in the first to lead the Saints. Harbec added an empty-netter in the third. Cornell freshman goalie Jenny Niesluchowski saved 26 shots in the loss.
One recurring question for the Red is who is going to start in goal. Both Niesluchowski and senior Beth Baronick have played significant minutes this season, although Baronick started both games last weekend, which included a 3-0 shutout of Union. According to Derraugh, Baronick will definitely start on Friday night.
“It was great to see [Baronick] have a great weekend and regain her old form,” Derraugh said.