February 7, 2007

W. Hockey Relies on Junior Forward Trio

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Every game when the women’s hockey team takes the ice, its forwards can look around and see familiar faces. Cornell’s starting line includes three junior forwards who have played together for most of their collegiate careers. That trio includes center Brianne Schmidt, left wing Brittany Forgues and right wing Caeleigh Beerworth. The three players lead the Red in points and all played important roles in Cornell’s recent win and tie.

“We are very close off the ice and that seems to transfer onto the ice,” Schmidt said. “We are in the same class and we have played together since freshmen year, so we seem to read each other on the ice.”

[img_assist|nid=21187|title=Get the puck.|desc=Junior forward Brianne Schmidt (15), who leads the team in points this season, takes a face off during a 3-3 tie against Niagara on Oct. 21.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=67]

This year, the classmates struggled out of the gate, causing head coach Doug Derraugh ’91 to change the lines in an attempt to find a better match.

“We had them together last year on a line and they did really well,” Derraugh said. “This year we started them off together again, but they did not seem to get on track, so we decided to move them around.”

Recently, Derraugh put the three back together on the starting line and the reunited group’s play was crucial to Cornell’s win over Union on Jan. 26 and its tie against Clarkson on Feb. 2.

“The last four weeks … we have found that spark, and we seem to be finding the back of the net,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt leads Cornell (3-20-2, 3-14-1 ECACHL) with seven goals and 15 points this season. In the recent win against Union, she assisted on a Beerworth goal. In another win against Union earlier in the season, she notched two goals and recorded an assist.

“[Schmidt] has a really good hockey sense,” Derraugh said. “She is very good at handling the puck and finding the net.”

Whenever Cornell needs a clutch goal or assist this year, it seems to count on Forgues, who has tallied six goals and eight assists this season. In the 2007 win against Union, Forgues scored four minutes into the second period to give Cornell a lead it would not relinquish — snapping a seven-game losing skid. Against Clarkson, she netted the Red’s lone goal, securing a tie. She has recorded at least one point in every Cornell win this season.

“Forgues was our top goal scorer last year and she is the fastest player on our team,” Derraugh said. “She creates a lot offensively and defensively, and we use her in all situations, on the power play and the penalty kill.”

Beerworth, who is an assistant captain, led the Red in scoring last year with 21 points. This year, she is third but only trails Schmidt by two. Beerworth also had a helping hand in the win over Union. She assisted on Forgues’ goal and then scored one of her own in the third period.

“Beerworth is hard-nosed player,” Derraugh said. “She will give you her best every time she goes onto the ice. … She is a real competitor who hates to lose and you know you will get 100 percent from her every game. She is a real tough all-around player and we use her in all aspects of our game.”

Since Cornell will only graduate two skaters at the end of the season, the trio of Forgues, Schmidt and Beerworth will be counted on to anchor the top line again next year.

“We are looking forward to next year, having our recruits come in and building off of this year,” Schmidt said. “Hopefully, the last four games this year will help set the stage.”