Offense was hard to come by for the women’s hockey team this weekend as its opponents’ goaltenders — Harvard’s Christina Kessler and Dartmouth’s Sarah Kennedy — held the Red to one goal over the two games. The Red lost its final two home games of the season to the Crimson and the Green by tallies of 9-1 and 7-0, respectively.
In a weekend where seniors Beth Baronick, Halina Kristalyn, Sarah McConnachie and Caroline Scott were honored, Harvard and Dartmouth did not let Cornell play the role of spoiler. As a result, Dartmouth (21-4-2, 18-1-1 ECACHL) and Harvard (18-6-2, 15-4-1) will remain in first and second place in the league, respectively, while Cornell (3-21-2, 3-15-1) will stay in 11th place.
Friday night against Harvard, Cornell’s main objective was to keep senior Julie Chu, sophomore Sarah Vaillancourt and sophomore Jenny Brine in check throughout the game. The good news for the Red was that it held Brine, the second-leading goal scorer in the league, to zero goals. The bad news, however, was that Olympians Chu and Vaillancourt exploded for three and four goals, respectively. The other two goals for Harvard were scored by senior Lindsay Weaver.
[img_assist|nid=21302|title=Stretch|desc=Senior Beth Baronick (right) clashes sticks as she goes for a save against Dartmouth last Saturday in the Red’s 7-0 loss.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=73]
The Crimson came out of the gates firing as it took a 2-0 lead on the Red within the first six minutes of the opening period. The Red would fight back, though, as junior Brittany Forgues scored a goal during a scuffle around the goal. Classmate Caeleigh Beerworth assisted on the goal.
“Like many of our games this year, I really felt that we did come out ready to play at the start of the game, and even though we got behind 2-0 early on, we kept playing hard,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “Then we got that goal back and I thought we were gaining some momentum. Then, we came out in the second period and took a bunch of penalties right off the bat and that hurt us.”
The Crimson put the game away in the second period, scoring six unanswered goals. Five of the six goals in the period came on the power play. For the game, Harvard had 10 power plays and converted on six of them. On the other hand, Cornell did not convert on any of its man-advantage opportunities.
“One of the things we talked a lot about before the game was Harvard’s power play and how we had to stay out of the penalty box,” Derraugh said. “We were not able to do that and in the second period, and it cost us. We tried to adjust to what they were doing, but they were just doing a good job on the power play and we weren’t doing a good job penalty killing. That was one of the primary focuses before the game — to stay out of the penalty box — and we didn’t do it. When you do that against Harvard, you’re in trouble.”
Halfway through the second period, with Harvard holding a 5-1 lead, Derraugh replaced senior goalie Beth Baronick, who had 12 saves, with freshman goalie Jenny Niesluchowski.
“At that point, Harvard started getting a lot of momentum and the game was going their way, and I thought maybe if we made a goaltending chance, it would help boost our team and get them going,” Derraugh said. “I was hoping that would derail their momentum a bit.”
Niesluchowski did finish the game with 13 saves. However, Harvard tallied another four goals, making the final score 9-1 in favor of the visitors.
Saturday afternoon, Cornell welcomed conference leader Dartmouth to Lynah Rink and much like the Harvard game, it did not find much success. The Green scored two goals in the first, two goals in the second and three goals in the third period while the Red could not find the back of the net. For the Green, freshman Jenna Cunningham scored twice while senior Katie Weatherston, senior Cherie Piper, senior Caroline Ethier, freshman Sarah Parsons and sophomore Sarah Newnam each scored one goal. On the power play, Dartmouth scored on 3-of-8 opportunities, while Cornell did not convert on any of its five chances.
“Much like Harvard, Dartmouth’s power play is also very potent,” Derraugh said. “I felt the difference that we did between the two games is that we got in the shot lanes a lot better. We blocked the shots much more against Dartmouth than we did against Harvard. The other part of it was that we took away their passing lanes more effectively than we did against Harvard, so I was really happy with our penalty killers in this game. They did a great job.”
Cornell’s offense was not able to find any rhythm, however, only mustering 12 shots on goal against the Green, the same number it had gotten off against Harvard the night before.
“We would have liked to have generated more offense, which has been an Achilles heel for us this year,” Derraugh said. “We tried to get some power play production, but we continued to struggle there.”
With 5 minutes to go in the Dartmouth game, senior goalie Sarah McConnachie got some playing time for the Red in her final contest at Lynah Rink. McConnachie took over for Baronick, who had 38 saves on the night. Connachie was credited with two saves during her five minutes of action.