February 13, 2007

W. Hockey Impress Coach Derraugh

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Clearly, in terms of wins and losses, the season has not gone according to plan for the Cornell women’s ice hockey team. Currently, the Red stands at No. 11 in the ECACHL, only ahead of a Union squad that is winless in league play.

The Red is currently 3-15-1 in the ECACHL. However, beyond the numbers, one can see that this team is steadily on the rise.

The Red started their league campaign with a 3-2 victory over Brown. In the contest, freshman Rebecca Flewelling scored two goals, proving that the freshman class was going to make an immediate impact on the season.

[img_assist|nid=21337|title=On the move|desc=Freshman Rebecca Flewelling handles puck in 4-3 to Quinnipiac on Nov. 18.|link=none|align=left|width=57|height=100]
Ultimately, that impact would not translate into victories. After that game, the Red lost 17 of its next 18 contests, picking up its sole win against Union on Dec. 2.

“I think having eight new freshmen coming in this year and two new assistant coaches, … at the start we were a bit under pressure to get everything together,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “I thought we got off to a bit of a slow start and then the last four games up to this weekend, I thought we started to play better.”

Those four games include a 3-0 victory against Union, a 1-0 loss to Rensselaer at home, a 1-1 tie against Clarkson and a 7-2 loss against St. Lawrence. In those four games, the Red committed less penalties, played better on the penalty kill and made wiser decisions at full strength. In addition, senior goaltender Beth Baronick was healthy during that key stretch and as a result, fellow team members played well as she made a total of 104 saves.

“I have seen, particularly in the freshman class, a lot of them improve,” Derraugh said. “From a team perspective, I don’t feel that we got to where we want to be, or the level that we want to be at, so we’re going to need to make some adjustments there.”

As in most sports, the women just need a little bit of luck to fall their way to get them in the right direction.

“We’ve seen in the last five to six weeks a team that has come out every night right from the drop of the very first puck ready to go,” Derraugh said. “For whatever reasons, sometimes in the games it has not gone our way and things have broken down, but I feel really good that they are not giving up and that they are always coming ready to play right from the very start of the games. So that’s a good sign for this weekend as well and going into the future.”

Take this previous weekend as an example that these women are coming ready to fight. Against the two conference powerhouses — Harvard and Dartmouth — Cornell lost both games by a combined score of 16-1. Taking into account that this weekend was senior weekend for Beth Baronick, Halina Kristalyn, Sarah McConnachie and Caroline Scott, these seniors left it all on the ice during their final skates at Lynah Rink.

“Anytime you get beat like we did, it’s tough,” Derraugh said. “I think they were all giving their best. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. I’m really proud to have been able to coach these seniors for the last two years. I think that a lot of times in hockey, sports, and in life, we tend to judge people by what they accomplish or what they do, but what I really like about these four individuals is their character. They all have a great heart and they are going to be terrific people in their communities wherever they go.”