January 23, 2009

Women’s Hockey Eyes Sweep of Ivy Rivals

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Coming off a two game winning streak, the women’s hockey team is heading on the road this weekend to play two of its ECAC challengers – Yale tonight and Brown on Saturday afternoon. Having faced both of these teams earlier in the season, the Red is hoping to secure repeat victories and obtain a weekend sweep.
“After doing good against them, it gives us confidence that we need to pull through against these two,” said sophomore defenseman Sam Wauer. “We’re not going to be going in scared. We’re going to have to execute what we need to do … I think it is a confidence boost. After playing them once, we know now what they are going to do system-wise.”
With the standings for the ECAC playoffs still unknown, Cornell (9-8-2, 5-5-2 ECAC) is battling Yale and Brown to ensure at least its current eighth position. In recent weeks, the battle for the playoffs has been causing more teams to become agitated since only the top-8 schools are eligible. The Red is practicing intensely during the week to maintain its position before the regular ECAC season comes to a close.
Facing off against the Bulldogs (7-11-0, 3-8-0 ECAC) in November at Lynah Rink, the Red was able to snap its opponent’s 10-game winning streak by posting a 3-0 shutout victory. [img_assist|nid=34349|title=Don’t cross me|desc=The women’s hockey team hopes to remain in prime playoff position after it does battle with Yale and Brown this weekend.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Currently, Yale hasn’t won its last five games, so Cornell is hoping to take control of the puck throughout the duration of the game and make the most of rebounds to enable as many scoring opportunities.
“We need to make sure we’re forechecking hard and that should take care of things because we have a seeded advantage on them so we can turn over pucks in their zone and have success,” said junior forward Laura Danforth.
On Saturday afternoon, the Red is set to take on the Bears (3-14-1, 2-9-0 ECAC) for a second time this season, after coming away with an overtime victory, 3-2. Recently, Brown has been on a four-game losing streak, so hopefully Cornell will utilize its strong confidence going in.
Throughout the week, the team has been conscientiously reviewing previous tapes on these two foes and learning the various strategies to be able to recognize them throughout the games.
“They [Yale] are a very good forechecking team so we will have to be very good on breakouts … We’ve been watching their forechecks and breakouts so that we can read off of them during the game and working on our own special teams,” Danforth said.
In addition to already knowing what tactics will ultimately prove a success, the Red boasts a strong offensive presence with sophomore forward Rebecca Johnston leading the team with 13 goals and 12 assists. Freshman forward Catherine White has also made an impact by becoming sixth in the country in points per game among freshman (10-14-24 in 19 games).
Junior goalie Jenny Niesluchowski has been a steady force in goal in recent weeks, achieving her first shutout of the season against Union and earning recognition as ECAC goaltender of the week.
With a record of 3-3-1 in away matches, the Red hopes to etch another two victories on the road this weekend in hopes of sending a decisive message to contenders with the playoffs in the horizon.
“I think we’re well prepared for them and it will be a big weekend for us because it’s two Ivy League games. I think we’ll be ready to go,” Danforth said.