January 25, 2010

W. Icers See Mixed Results Over Break

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The women’s hockey team (10-7-4, 9-1-4 ECAC Hockey) saw its rank drop from sixth to eight over the break, despite managing decent game play and retaining its top-10 standing. Cornell is still in contention for the top spot in the ECAC, trailing Clarkson by one conference point.

The Red began its winter competition the weekend classes ended, tying Yale before defeating Brown. Against the Bulldogs on Dec. 3, the Red made a first-period shot and continued to dominate throughout before letting two goals slip through its defense. With less than 15 seconds remaining, senior forward Melanie Jue scored a goal to end the game in a tie.

The following night, the Red continued its domination of puck control as sophomore goaltender Amanda Mazzotta stopped all eight shots made by the Bears, who had trouble getting the puck into the Red’s zone. Cornell, meanwhile, shot 40 times, with five finding net.

In the last two non-league games of the season, Cornell took on Providence back-to-back days in Rhode Island. Both nights the Red failed to bring strong defensive play, losing by three in both contests.

“We were fresh back from break and just getting our legs back onto the ice,” said sophomore forward Chelsea Karpenko. “We outshot them, but they got the win because we just didn’t finish. It was definitely a good lesson for us.”

Karpenko described the next weekend as the most exciting for the team. Back to league play, the Red took on two Ancient Eight opponents and again managed an undefeated weekend. Learning from the losses against Providence, Cornell kept coming at full strength in the matchups with Harvard and Dartmouth.

The Crimson kept a close game with the Red and was on top, 4-3, until junior forward Karlee Overguard made one last goal for Cornell with the time reading 19:56 into the third period. The equalizer enabled the Red to leave with a 4-4 tie under its belt, with no goals made in overtime. It was inspiring for the Red to rally in what was foreseen to be one of its most challenging games of the break, due to the Crimson’s desire for vengeance after losing to the Red earlier this season.

Karpenko, who also tallied a goal against the Crimson, played a huge role in the game against Dartmouth the next day on Jan. 16. Cornell got onto the board with a goal made by freshman Laura Fortino on an assist by Karpenko during a powerplay halfway into the first period. Then, Karpenko made a pair of goals during the second period –– one powerplay and one with both teams at full strength. The Red surprisingly did not have complete success on the penalty-kill; the team let up one goal by the Green toward the end of the second period. This was only the second goal the Red allowed an opposing team to make on the powerplay all season. Nevertheless, this goal proved unable to impact Cornell’s early advantage, as Dartmouth failed to score for the remainder of the game. The team ended the game, 3-1, in high spirits.

“That weekend was pretty big and exciting because we made a comeback with the tie against Harvard after Providence, and then the big win after the tie,” said Karpenko, who was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week following her performance in those games.

The final games the Red has played to date were a pair against local rival Colgate. Friday night the Red traveled to Hamilton, N.Y., and finished in yet another tie. Both Overguard sisters scored a goal, as did sophomore forward Catherine White, with the final scoreboard reading 3-3.

The next day the teams played at Lynah Rink, and with the home ice advantage, the Red was unstoppable. Two freshmen contributed to Cornell’s 6-0 win, as both Fortino and defender Lauriane Rougeau scored two goals apiece. For the second consecutive week, Fortino was named ECAC Rookie of the Week. She currently ranks third on the Cornell roster in terms of scoring, and has the most points of all defensewomen in the nation.

Pleased with its accomplishments, the Red looks forward to the upcoming games this weekend and hopes to learn from its experiences over break.

“The biggest thing we’ll work on is playing the full 60 minutes, and capitalizing on chances early,” Karpenko said.

Team energy is high, as Cornell will be taking on rivals St. Lawrence and Clarkson. St. Lawrence is the only team to have beaten Cornell in conference play, and the Red would like to defeat Clarkson and take over sole possession of first place in the ECAC.

“It’ll definitely be a big battle,” Karpenko said.

Original Author: Reena Gilani