November 16, 2007

Two ECAC Hockey Opponents Await Women’s Hockey

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The women’s hockey team will sport the road sweaters this weekend as it prepares to take on a pair of feline foes in the Princeton Tigers (3-3-2, 1-3-1 ECAC Hockey) and Quinnipiac Bobcats (1-6-1, 0-4-1). This weekend marks the Red’s first road contests in league play.
Tonight, the Red will face off against No. 10 Princeton at Baker Rink. Although Princeton is only two points ahead of the Red (3-4-1, 0-1-1) in the standings, the Tigers catapulted into the top-10 after defeating No. 1, and previously unbeaten, New Hampshire, 2-1, last Sunday.
“We’re really focusing on our team play,” said sophomore forward Liz Zorn. “I think it [the win over New Hampshire] has definitely given them a little confidence, but it is not something that we have been focusing on.”
Princeton is led by a strong defense. Junior goaltender Kristen Young earned ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week honors last weekend as she deflected 48 of 51 shots in a pair of victories against Hockey East opponents Boston University and New Hampshire. In addition, freshman defenseman Sasha Sherry is second in the nation in points per game among defenseman, averaging one point per contest.
However, Cornell boasts a pair of freshmen who lead the nation in points per game among rookies. The dynamic duo of Rebecca Johnston and Kalee Overguard has provided a potent offensive punch for the Red this season with 1.67 and 1.50 points per game, respectively.
For all the offensive fireworks Johnston and Overguard bring, though, a big factor against Princeton will be the penalty kill.
“They [Princeton] are probably going to run a power play that we haven’t seen yet this season,” said junior defender Steph Ulrich. “So, that’s why we have been working on the penalty kill in order to combat that really well. It looks like they’re going to play a 1-3-1. We’ve been working a lot on penalty kill and the power play this week. That’s something we’ve always been trying to improve upon. We’ve also been focusing on defensive zone coverage to help keep away the other team.”
The Red will travel to Hamden, Conn., on Saturday for a 3 p.m. face off against the Quinnipiac Bobcats, who are tied with Cornell in the ECAC Hockey standings with one point each. Both teams are still searching for their first conference victory.
Quinnipiac must look to boost an anemic offensive attack, which has only netted six goals in five league contests this season. The Bobcats have the 10th-ranked scoring offense in the 12-team league while the Red is third.
Proving to be equally inept, the Quinnipiac defense is ranked 11th in the ECAC, yielding a bloated 4.25 goals per game.
“I would say they are a big game for us,” Zorn said. “First and foremost we want to get a conference win.”
Although Quinnipiac’s record and statistics may indicate a prospective sub par performance on its part, Cornell refuses to take the Bobcats lightly.
“Coach really encourages us to prepare for each game like it’s a game that we need to work hard to win,” Ulrich said. “We just need to be really focused for each game that we play.”