February 22, 2010

Women’s Hockey Wins First-Ever ECAC Title

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The 2009-10 women’s hockey team will go down in Cornell history as the first roster ever to earn a first-place finish in the ECAC hockey league. The Red was guaranteed a share of the top standing after it defeated Rensselaer Friday night, and clinched the title outright after beating Union, 6-1, on Saturday.

This successful weekend at home featured the Red’s last regular season games, as the team begins playoffs Friday at Lynah Rink, facing top-seeded Colgate.

Friday, Rensselaer (13-12-4, 11-7-4 ECAC Hockey) came to Lynah Rink hoping to upset Cornell (15-8-6, 14-2-6), but instead took home a 2-1 defeat. The Red got on the board with just under five minutes left in the first period, as junior forward Hayley Hughes scored a goal, assisted by junior forward Karlee Overguard. The Engineers tied the score in the beginning of the second, but Overguard took a pass from sophomore forward Catherine White in the third period to give Cornell the necessary edge for the win. The game, foreseen to be a tough match, was evenly played, with neither team able to capitalize on its respective two power-play opportunities. The Red still brought more to the game, outshooting the Engineers, 27-14, which ultimately ended in a 2-1 Cornell win.

The win against the Engineers left the Red needing to only tie last-place Union (5-28-1, 1-20-1) in order to clinch the title outright. Despite its attempts, Union proved to be no match for Cornell, which was able to take a five-goal lead en route to victory. Four goals were scored in the span of six minutes during the first period. Young first got the Red on the board at the 5:34 mark during a power-play goal. This point was followed by freshman defender Lauriane Rougeau’s goal slightly over three minutes later. Less than a minute after Rougeau’s goal, the Dutchwomen managed their only goal for the game, before Red sophomore forward Chelsea Karpkenko scored the last goal in the first period at 11:18. Karpenko added another goal during the second period, and the third period witnessed a goal from junior Amber Overguard, as well as a power-play goal from senior Melanie Jue. Freshman defender Laura Fortino tallied four assists during the game against Union.

“In the Union game we got scoring from all across the board –– both forwards and defensemen –– showing that we’re all working together well and hitting that peak we want to be in going into the post-season,” said senior forward Kelly McGinty, who assisted Karpenko’s first goal.

After defeating the Dutchwomen, the Red was officially recognized at Lynah Rink for winning the Ivy League title, and was also ecstatic about its new place atop the ECAC –– the first in Red women’s hockey history.

“Everyone was pretty proud because no other coaches in the league –– like those who ranked us seventh in preseason polls –– expected it. For us, it was like we had reached our goal and all of our hard work had paid off. It was a pretty cool feeling to prove everyone wrong,” Young said.

Looking forward to the playoffs, Young says that the team is going to try and keep things simple and continue to play as a team rather than individuals. The players want to all be on the same level and working together so that the goals will come.

“We would love to see great student [turnout] to support us … anybody within the Cornell community,” McGinty added.

Original Author: Reena Gilani