November 3, 2008

Robert Morris Hands W. Hockey Its First Season Loss

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The women’s ice hockey team battled hard at home this weekend, but failed to come out of Saturday’s Robert Morris matchup with a win, ending the game with a score of 2-1.
Cornell (2-1-0) has started off with a strong record of two exhibition and two regular season wins, and this game was the team’s first loss of the season. In capturing the win, Robert Morris (4-4) notched a .500 record. [img_assist|nid=33231|title=No goal for you!|desc=Junior netminder Jenny Niesluchowski shields the goal from the efforts of a Robert Morris attacker during the Red’s 2-1 loss on Saturday at Lynah Rink.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“We just didn’t play our best and we should have come up on top, but it didn’t really turn out that way,” said junior forward Stephanie Holmes.
The Red was in the lead for part of the first period after sophomore forward Hayley Hughes scored the first goal of the game about 10 minutes into the start of play. She was assisted by junior forward Melanie Jue and freshman forward Chelsea Karpenko.
Robert Morris quickly evened the score, however, when freshman forward Brianna Delaney netted a goal for the Colonials minutes after the Cornell goal. Delaney scored with help from senior forward Kristen Miles, after Miles won the faceoff in the Red’s zone and passed the puck to Delaney for the goal.
Although the Red fought to regain its lead during the first period and had several opportunities on goal, several coming from junior forward Liz Zorn, the first period was a slow start for Cornell.
“We have to just make sure we’re ready right from the start,” Holmes said. “We had a really slow first period and in our past games we’ve had slow first periods too, so I think that’s something that we really need to focus on is coming out hard.”
The Colonials picked up the lead in the second period on a power play goal. Delaney scored her second goal of the game, with Miles and senior defender Samantha Ullrich helping to set up the play.
After Robert Morris gained the lead, Cornell continued to play aggressively, only allowing the Colonials to total one goal while a Cornell player was in the penalty box.
“We battled really hard, we never stopped fighting,” said junior forward Melanie Jue. “We went hard in every corner, we fortracked hard, we backtracked hard and our special teams were pretty good [Saturday]. [Robert Morris] only scored once [on a power play], so our penalty kill was really good.”
Two Robert Morris players were penalized shortly after their team’s second goal and the Red temporarily had the upper hand on the ice. Cornell attempted to spoil the Colonials’ lead, but the Red could not utilize their 5-on-3 player advantage.
The Red came back from the break ready to put up a challenge, and its play became more intense in the third period.
“In the third, we were really battling hard, and really competing,” Holmes said. “As the game went on, we got better and better, so I think that was definitely a good sign heading into our league games now that our strongest period is our third.”
The Red led in shots during the game, with 38 to the Colonials’ 20. Cornell took 11 shots in the third period, while Robert Morris only took two.
Even with Cornell’s string of chances in the third period, the Robert Morris goalkeeper, senior Brianne McLaughlin, continued to foil the Red’s attempts at netting another goal. She made 37 saves during the contest.
Cornell pulled its goalie, junior Jenny Niesluchowski, for the final minutes of the game to make a final attempt at scoring another goal.
With two of the Robert Morris players penalized, the Red had a 6-on-3 player advantage at one point, but could not capture that goal.
It was a frustratingly close game to the end, with the Red pushing constantly to make up for the Colonials’ lead. Unfortunately for the Red, the Red’s intensity in the third period could not deliver the win.
“We played well, but I don’t think we played well the entire game,” said Jue. “We did battle hard, and it’s always sad to lose a game that close, especially when you know you should be able to win. But we’re still building and I think it’s just good steps towards our conference games next week.”