February 13, 2009

W. Icers Wrap Up Home Season With Ivy Foes

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Playing on its home ice for the final time of the season this weekend, the women’s ice hockey team will host league foes Harvard and Dartmouth. The team will face Harvard today and Dartmouth tomorrow.
With 26 team points, Harvard (13-8-3, 12-4-2 ECAC Hockey) has climbed its way to third place in the ECAC rankings. The Crimson is a historic rival for the Red (11-10-4, 7-7-4) and this matchup will be competitive. Earlier this season, Harvard held the Red down to a 5-1 victory, and this time the Red is hoping to change the score around.
[img_assist|nid=35082|title=Clash of the titans|desc=Sophomore Rebecca Johnston (16) is tied for the league lead in points with Harvard senior forward Sarah Vaillancourt.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Harvard is coming off of two league wins, after going 2-1 against Yale and shutting out Brown 4-0, the team is currently on a six-game win streak for league games.
Harvard’s senior forward Sarah Vaillancourt is second only to the Red’s own Rebecca Johnston for top player in the ECAC league. Vallancourt has 36 points and 16 goals to her name. The senior forward netted five goals and made eight assists in her team’s victories last weekend.
Harvard goalkeeper Christina Kessler holds a .924 saves percentage and was named ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week for the second time this season earlier in the week.
The Red will next take on Dartmouth (16-6-2, 13-3-2), which is just one point behind top-ranked St. Lawrence in the ECAC Hockey standings. The Green won by a small margin of 5-4 last time it skated against the Red this season. Cornell anticipates a tough matchup but hopes to snap the Green’s current four-game winning streak.
Dartmouth is an offensive powerhouse; it averages 4.8 goals per game — best in the league. Sophomore forward Amanda Trunzo leads the team in scoring with 15 goals and 14 assists. In goal, senior Carli Clemis has a .919 saves percentage.
The Green is excels on the power play. In its last 44 opportunities, the team scored on 20 for a 45.5 percent conversion rate.
Cornell is currently placed seventh in the ECAC rankings, and the Red must place as one of the top-8 competitors in order to advance to the playoff games later this month. But right now the team is trying to look within for its strength.
“We just have to focus on our own team, and how well we’re doing. Other teams right now, if they lose, if they win, it could put us ahead,” said freshman forward Catherine White. “Right now, we just need to focus on winning our next four games because you can’t control what the other teams are doing. So if we win our next four games, we’ll definitely be in playoffs and might even end up placing a few spots higher than what we’re currently ranked at.”
Cornell will put emphasis on strengthening their defense for the weekend’s games.
“[The D zone] I think that’s going to be key this weekend to beating the teams, because Harvard and Dartmouth are two really good teams, and we’re going to have to be on our game to beat them,” said freshman forward Chelsea Karpenko. “I think focusing on our D-zone and cleaning that up will be a big factor.”