February 19, 2009

W. Hockey Seniors Play Their Last Game at Lynah Rink

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The women’s ice hockey team played its last two home games of the season this past weekend. These two matchups, against Harvard and Dartmouth, were also the final opportunities for the three seniors on the team — Emma Chipman, Brianne Gilbert and Steph Ulrich — to play at Lynah Rink.
After playing for the Red for nearly four years, the seniors on the team found their last games at Lynah to be full of emotion. The team lost to Harvard in a tough 5-2 loss, but stayed strong to come out with a 3-3 tie against Dartmouth, ranked No. 8 in the country. The tie guaranteed Cornell an ECAC Hockey playoff spot. After the Dartmouth game, the seniors on the team were honored by their teammates and coaches in a senior night ceremony.
“My last game at Lynah had a lot of heart,” said senior forward Brianne Gilbert. “The team really put in the effort to help make our final home game [of the regular season] count. I also had my parents and a number of friends in the stands watching, which meant a lot as well.”
With several games remaining for the Red this season, some players found it hard to believe that their time playing for Cornell is coming to a close.
“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet that Saturday was my last game at Lynah,” said senior defender Steph Ulrich. “It makes me sad when I think about it, but I’m happy that we played well and that my Dad was able to see my last home game.”
Scoring in her last game at Lynah, senior forward Emma Chipman netted a goal during the final minutes of the first period during the game against Dartmouth to give the team a temporary lead. Chipman, a forward, has played in over 100 games for the Red, racking up 16 goals and 14 assists. Last year, she was on the ice for every game the Red played. So far this season, Chipman has scored two goals and made three assists, with one of each coming in the recent Dartmouth match.
A forward for Cornell, Brianne Gilbert has factored into the Red’s strong offensive line, making one goal and three assists in this season’s matchups. Playing in 88 games for the Red, Gilbert has a combined three career goals and six assists.
Steph Ulrich, a defender for the Red, has played in 94 games and was on the ice for every game during her sophomore and junior seasons. Last year, she led the team in plus/minus with +8. This season, Ulrich has contributed to Cornell’s defensive line and has helped guide the Red as one of the team’s captains.
Reflecting on their experiences, these seniors found it hard to pinpoint the favorite moments they had while playing for Cornell.
“…There have been many great moments. I think one very memorable moment would be when Mel Jue in practice was either celebrating, or trying to catch a puck or something, and ended up taking herself out and falling head first into the bench. It was hysterical!” Gilbert said.
Most importantly, time spent training and bonding with their teammates on and off the ice was especially notable.
“I’d have to say that intersession has been a highlight of my time with the team every year. Whether it’s learning a few new Beyonce moves at the hotel, getting beat up during kickboxing, or just relaxing on my couch with my roommates — intersession has always been an all-around great time,” Ulrich said.
Besides playing on the ice, these players are going to miss various aspects of being on the team.
“I’m going to miss a lot of things: team breakfasts on the road, our fun competitions during practice, the feeling of beating a team you hate. Most of all, though, I think I’ll miss all the fun times I’ve had with my teammates just hanging out in the locker room,” said Ulrich.
Playing for the Red has taught these players not only skills on the ice, but also life skills, like being able to manage extremely busy schedules.
“I have definitely grown as a player and person with regards to my character, and have become an expert in time management, juggling hockey, academics and other interests,” Gilbert said.
As the team plays its final two regular season games this weekend and continues onto the playoffs soon after, the seniors on the team have high hopes for the Red. Mainly, the team wants to keep up its positive attitude and put all its effort into doing well in these final matches.
“This weekend we’re going to end our regular season with a strong finish. In playoffs we’re looking to win. This is really what we’ve been working towards all season,” Ulrich said.
Part of the challenge will be to keep the momentum and energy level high in order to play the best games possible.
“I would just like our team to continue playing the way we’ve been playing, but I would love it if we finished games hard and really brought it to teams in the third period. As for playoffs, I know our team has the ability to go far. I just hope we play our best and really show ourselves and everyone else that we’re a great team,” said senior Emma Chipman.
Taking what they have learned during their time on the team, the seniors have some advice for their fellow teammates:
“Be thankful for every shift you get on the ice, and every moment you spend with your teammates,” Ulrich said. “It all goes by so fast.”