January 30, 2009

W. Hockey Faces Challenging Home Stand

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After splitting a road weekend, the women’s hockey team returns to its home ice to battle St. Lawrence tonight and Clarkson tomorrow afternoon. The Saints and Golden Knights, ranked first and sixth, respectively, will certainly challenge the Red (10-9-2, 6-6-2 ECAC).[img_assist|nid=34592|title=All eyes on you|desc=Freshman forward Kendice Ogilvie (left) chases down the puck during the Red’s 3-0 win over Union on Jan. 16. Ogilvie scored her first career goal during the team’s last contest — a 6-0 win over Brown on Jan. 24.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“These are two hugely important games. Both teams are in the upper echelon of the ECAC,” said assistant coach Kim Insalaco. “Right now it’s all about getting points in our league and putting ourselves in the best possible position we can for the playoff seedings. And we want to be right there, we don’t want to be fighting for our spot come the middle of February.”
Leading the ECAC Hockey standings with 23 points, St. Lawrence (17-5-3, 11-1-1) is coming off a successful weekend, defeating Union, 4-1, and Rensselaer, 5-3.
St. Lawrence boasts a powerful and deep offensive line, with five separate players scoring last weekend against RPI. Senior forward Carson Duggan leads her team in scoring, with 16 goals and 13 assists. Teammate Alison Domenico has tallied 28 points for the Saints.
Junior goalkeeper Brittony Chartier will work to stymie the Red’s offense, boasting a .930 save percentage.
Clarkson (13-8-4, 7-4-2) is another opponent the Red will take seriously. The Golden Knights are coming from a split road weekend. After losing 2-1 to RPI, Clarkson ended a two-game losing streak with a 3-0 shutout against Union.
Sophomore goaltender Eve Grandmont-Berube made 17 saves in the contest to help secure Clarkson’s victory. Sophomore left wing Mellissa Waldie scored twice in the win, and has totaled 12 goals this season. With 32 points, senior Marie-Jo Gaudet is an influential forward for the Golden Knights.
Cornell has come up against each of these teams earlier in the season, defeating Clarkson 3-2 and tying St. Lawrence 4-4. This time around, the Red hopes its experience has set it up for two wins.
“We’ve seen them before,” said freshman forward Kendice Olgilvie. “St. Lawrence is very skilled so we have to make sure that we’re defensively sound and yet we capitalize on chances when we get them. Also, for Clarkson, they’re a hardworking team … so we have to make sure we don’t get pushed off the puck.”
After its 6-0 shutout against Brown last weekend, the Red is anxious to continue its strong defensive effort. Both junior Jenny Niesluchowski and sophomore Kayla Strong have been solid in goal for Cornell, posting .915 and .926 save percentages, respectively. Forwards Rebecca Johnston and Catherine White together lead the Red in points, with 28 each.
Cornell has the ability to confront both teams and come out on top, and the team is working to anticipate the best way to do so.
“Clarkson and St. Lawrence are two pretty different teams, especially on their fore check,” said freshman forward Catherine White. “Clarkson, they like to play a trap, so we’ve been working on our fore check and breakout in practice to compete against that and hopefully we’ll be successful,”
With the playoffs approaching, every weekend counts, and this weekend poses just another chance to grab four points.
“It’s important and I think the girls know that and I think they rise to the occasion when it comes to big games,” Insalaco said. “So I’m excited to just see them play this weekend.”