November 17, 2008

Underclassmen Lead Red in Wins

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The women’s hockey team picked up two wins on its home ice this weekend, capturing a 3-2 overtime win against Brown on Friday and a 3-0 shutout over Yale on Saturday.
The matchup against Brown (2-5-1, 2-4-0 ECAC Hockey) was scoreless until the first minutes of the second period. The Bears utilized a man advantage as junior forward Andrea Hunter scored on the power play. Cornell (4-2-1, 2-1-1) soon evened out the score while taking advantage of its own power play. Sophomore Rebecca Johnston scored on an assist from sophomore forward Karlee Overguard.
[img_assist|nid=33653|title=Over my dead body|desc=Sophomore forward Karlee Overguard (27) scored with eight seconds remaining in the extra period on Friday to give Cornell a 3-2 overtime win over Brown.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“Against Brown we didn’t get off to the start that we wanted to,” said sophomore goaltender Kayla Strong. “But through the game we started to find our footing, and I think we competed pretty hard despite having some difficulties early on.”
Johnston scored her second goal of the game at the start of the third to put the Red into the lead for the first time. The Bears scored minutes later though, erasing Cornell’s lead and tying up the contest. Cornell had two back-to-back penalties that gave Brown a 5-on-3 advantage. The Bears took advantage as Andrea Hunter netted her second goal of the game.
“We came out really strong in the third period and we kept it going right into the overtime and it ended up being a really close game,” said sophomore defender Sam Wauer.
Locked in a 2-2 tie after the third period, the game went to overtime.
The Red defense remained strong on the penalty kill throughout the bonus period. Cornell received a penalty during the overtime minutes, but held off Brown’s offensive attempts. Sophomore Kayla Strong stayed firm in goal, making six of her 34 saves during overtime.
With eight seconds left to go in the game, Overguard scored the deciding goal. She took a shot that bounced off the opposing goalie, then used her own rebound to send the puck past Brown’s goalie Nichole Stock.
In capturing the overtime win, the Red improved in its standing and gained a fresh start after its two frustrating games last weekend.
“Our team played well as a team, but there were a couple areas that we have to work on,” said sophomore Rebecca Johnston. “But we’re progressing, especially from the weekend prior to that, so I think that we’re just moving forward every game with little steps at a time.”
The Red next faced Yale (2-5-0, 2-4-0) in a game that would turn out to be a 3-0 shutout.
“Coming off a win like that, you don’t want to be overconfident but I definitely think we had some good feelings going into the second game,” Wauer said. “The momentum we had from the first game carried through to the second one.”
Although the Red holds the all-time series edge with the Bulldogs, Yale had won the most recent matchup, making Cornell anxious for redemption.
“We were pumped up,” Johnston said. “We all wanted to beat them for the first time, so that was a good accomplishment for us.”
The Red got off to a quick start in the first period, and picked up the first goal when Overguard netted an unassisted power play goal. Cornell again utilized its advantage on the ice during a power play when Johnston scored Cornell’s second goal while the Red had a 5-on-3 advantage.
“[The team benefited from] the excitement of that overtime victory and that awesome play by Karlee Overguard in the overtime phase,” Strong said. “I think we took that energy and brought it into the next game so I think we had a much better start which made a big difference.”
The Red widened its lead during the third period. With the two teams each playing a man down, Johnston scored her second goal of the game.
Strong made 25 saves during the game, and accomplished her first shutout of the season.
“Our penalty killing was pretty consistently good,” Strong said. “I had a lot of help with shot blocking and our team did a really good job on the defensive end.”
After missing several games to play with the Canadian National Team in the Four Nations Cup, Johnston netted four goals on the weekend.
“It was a great experience, and it’s always great going to that because it’s such a good level of play there,” Johnston said. “I had a lot of fun, but it’s great to be back, too.”
After these two wins, the Red hopes to build on its momentum and keep improving as a team.
“Our goaltending has been extremely strong overall and I think [we’re] communicating on the ice with each other we’ve been doing really well with that,” Wauer said.
These games also showed the team where it can continue to develop in the upcoming weeks.
“We just need to work on the little things,” said Johnston. “We need to capitalize on our chances, and just keep getting shots in the net, and focus more on our defensive play, too.”