February 2, 2009

W. Icers Fall to Saints, Down Knights in Split

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After a tough loss to the No. 4 ranked team, St. Lawrence, on Friday, the women’s hockey team rebounded and defeated Clarkson 4-1. This decisive win, with the first three goals coming in the first eight minutes of the game, allowed Cornell (7-7-2 ECAC, 11-10-2) to move up in ECAC rankings and become tied for seventh place.
“Both games we played really well. Especially, even though we lost against St. Lawrence, we came together as a team despite them scoring in the last minute to win it, so it was disappointing there,” said sophomore Rebecca Johnston.
[img_assist|nid=34641|title=Show me your moves|desc=Sophomore defender Sam Wauer clashes with a Golden Knight in the Red’s 4-1 win over Clarkson on Saturday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Facing off against the Saints (12-2-1 ECAC, 18-6-3), the Red knew it would have to utilize its tough defensive skills while maintaining a strong offensive presence to really put pressure on St. Lawrence.
Coming back from an early season injury of high ankle sprains, freshman goalkeeper Amanda Mazzotta made her collegiate debut making a total of 30 saves before taking the loss.
“I was a little bit nervous but the whole team did a fantastic job in front of me,” Mazzotta said. “They cleaned up rebounds in front of the net and marked their men so it made my job a lot easier. It was an exciting experience overall.”
With a scoreless tie going into second period, Cornell knew that it had to maintain is feistiness and continue to hold off St. Lawrence. The Red’s luck changed when at 16:39, sophomore forward Rebecca Johnston netted her 15th goal of the season, with assists to sophomore defenseman Sam Wauer and freshman forward Chelsea Karpenko.
The Red’s 1-0 lead continued throughout the remainder of second period, until the Saints’ were able to decisively recover a lose puck in front of the net and successfully put it past Mazzotta, tying the score 1-1.
Earlier this season both teams skated to a 4-4 tie and now, both teams did not want a repeat and wanted to decide a winner. Throughout the third period, Cornell attempted to put the puck past the Saints goalie but nearing the end of the third, the Red thought it would be skating to another overtime with St. Lawrence. Yet, the Saints had other plans and scored with 23 seconds left in the game, winning the game 2-1.
Despite the loss, Cornell showed an impressive finish, as both teams could not capitalize on powerplay opportunities. In addition, although the Saints slightly edged the Red in 32-30 on shots on goal, the Red showed its foe that it was playing on the same caliber as the No. 4 team.
Remembering the tough loss the previous night, Cornell really wanted to showcase its talent against Clarkson (7-5-3 ECAC, 13-9-5) ended up winning in a decisive 4-1 victory with three of the goals coming in a span of a little over three minutes.
“It kind of pumped us up even more cause we really needed to get the points and find a way to win the game,” Johnston said. “So we knew we needed to come at hard and put everything on the table so that we could win the game and it worked.”
At 4:12 in the first period, Johnston started the night off right. After receiving the puck in the Red’s defensive zone, she skated the length of the rink before sweeping the puck around the net and in the goal.
Just a few seconds later, the Red had a man advantage after the Knights got called for checking. After junior forward Liz Zorn took a slapshot that bounced off the pads of Clarkson’s goaltender, Johnston picked up the rebound and netted the second goal of the game.
At 7:36 into the game, junior forward Laura Danforth picked up Cornell’s third goal of the night before the Knights scored their first and only powerplay goal of the night, making the score 3-1.
Both teams skated to a scoreless second period before the Red notched its fourth goal when a clean pass by Johnston gave freshman forward Catherine White an opening in goal, ending the game 4-1.
“We didn’t focus so much on them and focused on what we needed to do,” Johnston said. “We worked on our defensive and offensive play and basically during practice worked hard and made sure we were ready for the game so that we are prepared to play our best.”
In both of the games this weekend, Cornell demonstrated numerous improvements already this season. Penalties have been a hindrance for the Red, but the players were very careful to not give the other teams many chances of a one-man advantage. In addition, for such a young team, the squad is beginning to really gel with one another and utilize its lines to show its competition that it is still moving up in the rankings.
“We came out really hard this weekend. We had solid first periods, which was a really important aspect for us,” said Mazzotta. “We came out really hard off the bat and capitalized on most of our opportunities. We just worked extremely hard this weekend.”