February 4, 2008

Road Teams Triumph in Home-and-Home Series

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On Friday night, the women’s ice hockey squad snapped Colgate’s 10-game consecutive winning streak over the Red with a 3-2 victory at Starr Rink. However, this success against their cross-state rival was short lived as the Raiders responded with a 2-1 victory Saturday afternoon in the second half of their home-and-home series.
Friday night’s contest was decided over the course of a nine-minute span in the second period during which all of the scoring occurred. Colgate (10-12-4, 7-6-3 ECAC Hockey) captured the first lead of the game at 6:36 of the second stanza when its leading scorer, junior forward Sam Hunt, launched a shorthanded missile into the bottom right corner of the net.[img_assist|nid=27234|title=Raiding the Raiders’ house|desc=Freshman Rebecca Johnston (16) and the Red defeated Colgate, 3-2, on the road Friday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“Our player was kicked out of the circle, so we had someone else taking the face-off other than planned,” said Cornell’s sophomore goaltender Jenny Niesluchowski. “There was some confusion and Sam Hunt came out with the puck and put it in the net. It was really shocking, but it was really good that we came back and scored in that same power play. I think that made the game for us.”
Cornell (10-11-1, 7-8-1 ECAC Hockey) responded 35 seconds later when freshman forward Karlee Overguard fed sophomore forward Liz Zorn with a cross-ice pass. Zorn recorded her team-leading 12th marker of the season on the power play to knot the game at 1-1.
The Red grabbed a 2-1 lead less than a minute later as senior co-captain Caeleigh Beerworth ripped a shot from the left circle through Colgate defenders and past first-year goaltender, Lisa Plenderleith.
Freshman forward Jessi Waters squared the game at 2 for the Raiders at 12:33 in the second period.
“The whole game they had been sending players back-door and we had some trouble picking them up,” Niesluchowski said. “They got that second and third player in behind me and they snuck a pass through somehow.”
Cornell posted the game-winning goal at 15:40 of the second period with a man advantage as Beerworth swiped the rebound off Plenderleith’s pads and into the back of the net to give the Red a 3-2 victory.
Niesluchowski registered 36 saves and earned her fifth victory of the season, while Plenderleith blocked 26 shots. The Raiders outshot the Red, 38-29.
“The best part for me was we played them at that same rink last year and we lost 2-1,” Niesluchowski said. “Friday night was a pretty similar game because they completely outshot us, but for us to comeback and win 3-2 meant a lot to me. It was very satisfying for me.”
Head coach Doug Derraugh praised Niesluchowski’s poise during the critical moments of the game.
“The biggest thing I talked to the goaltenders about is giving the team a chance to win,” Derraugh said. “We also talked to the team about backing up the goaltender, but I really think Jenny made some key saves at key moments in the game to help us win that game. It’s not always how many saves you make in the game, but it’s when you make them and when you make the big ones. She definitely made some big ones in that game, which helped us win.”
Saturday, Cornell got out of the gate slowly as Colgate skated to a first period 1-0 advantage. Sophomore forward Marissa Dombovy took advantage of a four-on-three power play opportunity and launched a one-timer just under the cross bar at 16:32 into regulation.
Although the Red controlled the puck in its offensive zone and outshot the Raiders dramatically in the second period, 21-8, it was Colgate who tallied the only goal of the period. Sophomore forward Beth Rotenberg went five-hole on freshman netminder Katie Wilson for Colgate’s second goal at 1:52 of the second period.
The Red summoned Wilson from her goal crease with less than two minutes in the tilt in favor of an extra attacker. This strategy succeeded as freshman forward Rebecca Johnston rifled a shot from the bottom of the right face-off circle to spoil Plenderleith’s shutout with 21.3 seconds left. It was Johnston’s 11th goal of the season. Though Cornell fought hard to the tie the match, the horn sounded shortly thereafter as the Red fell just short in its comeback bid.
Plenderleith earned the victory with 41 saves, while Wilson recorded 26 deflections. Cornell outshot Colgate 42-28.
“[Colgate] played well, but I really did feel that we outplayed them,” Derraugh said. “I actually thought that we played a better game on Saturday than we did on Friday, but Colgate played a little better as well. I definitely thought that the goaltender kept them in it. We had numerous point blank chances that the team thought was going in and she managed to come up with the save. She did what Jenny did for us in the game before making some big saves down the stretch.”