November 24, 2008

W. Icers Lose Twice to Nationally-Ranked Foes

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The women’s hockey team dropped both of its matches on the road this weekend against nationally-ranked competition. Falling just short at No. 6 Dartmouth on Friday, 5-4, the team could not regain its momentum in a 5-1 loss to No. 9 Harvard the next day.
On Friday, the Red (4-4-1, 2-4-1 ECAC) started off strong offensively, as sophomore forward Rebecca Johnston netted the first goal a little over three minutes into the game. After sophomore Sam Wauer took a shot on Dartmouth’s goalie, Johnston was in the perfect position to take advantage of the Green’s open net.
[img_assist|nid=33842|title=Skate, skate, skate|desc=Sophomore Rebecca Johnston (16) led a Red attack that netted four goals against No. 6 Dartmouth, but shut down against No. 9 Harvard.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Cornell’s lead wouldn’t last long, however. With eight minutes remaining in the first period, the Green’s senior Sarah Newman tallied a power play goal, evening out the score.
The Red regained the upper hand in the second period after scoring at the 3:30 mark when Johnston handed freshman Chelsea Karpenko a nice pass that she slid in past senior Green goalkeeper Carli Clemis.
Once again, Dartmouth tied the score with a little over 13 minutes in the second period. Yet, Cornell’s junior Stephanie Holmes retaliated with Cornell’s third goal of the night.
Going into the third period with a 3-2 lead, the Red netted its fourth goal when Karpenko put the puck in the net again. Karpenko was at the right position at the right time — Johnston fired the puck, which hit Karpenko’s skate and went into the goal.
This two-goal lead was not enough for Cornell to capitalize on the win, however. Dartmouth gained control and scored three goals in rapid succession past sophomore goaltender Kayla Strong. Despite taking her first loss of the season, Strong made 25 saves in the game, 10 of which came in the final moments.
“We had a few breakdowns in the third, but Dartmouth is ranked in the top-10 in the country and we were totally dominating them,” Holmes said. “When we play our best, we can definitely play with any team in the entire country so I think that was positive takeout of the weekend even though we lost.”
Saturday’s match versus the Harvard Crimson (4-2-2, 4-2-2) offered no consolation. After a scoreless first period, the Red was unable to generate consistent offensive pressure, especially in the second half, with the Crimson outshooting the Red, 20-7.
Harvard tallied the first goal of the game after senior Jenny Brine slapped a shot at junior goalie Jenny Niesluchowski, who was able to stop it. Brine repeated a similar shot and this time was successful in getting the puck past Niesluchowski.
With less than five minutes remaining in the second period, the Crimson earned its second goal after Red sophomore Amber Moore received a hooking penalty. With a man advantage, Harvard senior Sarah Wilson fired the puck high above Niesluchowski’s glove. The Red did not get on the board until the third period when Johnston scored her eighth goal of the season.
Harvard quashed any chance of a comeback by netting its third power play goal of the night soon after.
With a little less than three minutes remaining in the game, the Red pulled Niesluchowski in hopes that the six skaters would be able to score. The Crimson took advantage of this open net and scored its two remaining goals, ending the game 5-1.
“We just had a few breakdowns,” Holmes said. “Everybody was working hard, but it’s tough to go into the game the next day on a positive note because we lost a lot of momentum really quickly with those three goals that Dartmouth scored on us in the third.”
Harvard’s goaltender Christina Kessler notched 26 saves compared to Niesluchowski’s 34 saves. The Red’s biggest weakness was its inability to capitalize on its five power play opportunities, while Harvard scored three goals on Cornell’s seven penalties.
“One of our biggest problems, and I think it’s been our biggest problem all year, has been to try and stay out of the penalty box,” Karpenko said. “We just have to keep our feet moving and position our sticks better around people and avoid getting calls for hooking. … If we do that, then we should start staying out of the box.”
Hoping to put this weekend’s losses behind, Cornell will continue to remain focused and keep the momentum and confidence throughout the entire 60 minutes of play to ensure a finish in next weekend’s game.
“I think we’re doing all the right things, and I think we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Holmes said. “I think were able to breakthrough and it hasn’t happen yet but I have no doubt that it will happen and very soon. It would have been nice if we had won both games this weekend but it’s where you finish not how you start.”