February 1, 2008

Red Is Pink for One Night

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On the road, the Red and the Raiders are travel partners, and In New York, they are neighbors. But on the ice, they will assume the role of bitter rivals in a home-and-home series opening tonight at Colgate and concluding tomorrow afternoon at Lynah Rink as each team makes its late season push for the playoffs.
The two teams not only share the same backyard. They also share a similar style of play, on both the offensive and defensive ends of the ice.
“Colgate’s a very similar team to us,” said assistant coach Kim Insalaco. “We share a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses, so it’s really going to be about who shows up this weekend for all six periods of hockey. We’re both playing an offensive system that’s a little bit different than some of the other schools in our league. It just so happens that our offense is very similar to Colgate’s.”
[img_assist|nid=27172|title=Breakaway|desc=At Lynah on Saturday, freshman Amber Overguard and the Red will wear pink jerseys in a program sponsored by ECAC Hockey and the American Cancer Society.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Junior defenseman Steph Ulrich offered some insight on the comparable offenses.
“They run a system pretty similar to ours,” Ulrich said. “They like to stretch a player out into the neutral zone, so when the play is in the defensive zone, they’ll send a player out and try to drag a defender with her. They try to open up the ice and make it easier to break out.”
Although tonight marks the first official clash between Cornell (9-10-1, 6-7-1 ECAC Hockey) and Colgate (9-11-4, 6-5-3 ECAC Hockey), they scrimmaged each other shortly after the winter holiday season.
“From what I saw, they had a lot to offer on offense,” said sophomore goalie Jenny Niesluchowski. “Our special teams did a really good job and we were able to figure out their power plays.”
Senior co-captain Brittany Forgues, who currently leads the team in assists with 14, agreed that her team’s effort in the scrimmage against Colgate was a good sign of things to come.
“I think we were definitely capitalizing on the chances that we got in the scrimmage, so whether we were getting shots on net or following up on rebounds, we were taking advantage of opportunities,” Forgues said. “In the scrimmage, we did a great job of that, so I think our focus is going to be just to carry that forward because that gave us success.”
While the Red played well in the exhibition with Colgate, the team realizes that it has been a while since the game, giving both teams time to progress.
“The scrimmage was a month ago, so we definitely have improved and learned different things from our game since then,” Forgues said. “I don’t think it helped or hurt us. It just put us in a spot in which we know what to expect. We should be ready for a competitive, evenly matched game, where both teams have the ability to score. It’s not going to be an easy game. They’re just as good as we are.”
The Red came away from the scrimmage with more than mere respect for its cross-state rivals. Cornell anticipates making several changes in preparation for the upcoming contests.
“We made some adjustments based on things that occurred during that scrimmage,” Insalaco said. “But, again we’re focusing this year on how to execute our game plan.”
Upon its return to home ice tomorrow afternoon, the Red will be wearing specially designed pink jerseys, which will be auctioned off online following the game in an effort to raise funds for the program Pink At The Rink. The program is sponsored by ECAC Hockey and the American Cancer Society.