June 9, 2010

W. Icers Come Up Short in National Championship Game

Print More

After 119 minutes and 26 seconds of playing time, the longest NCAA national championship women’s hockey game was ended in triple overtime when the Red fell to the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, 3-2. The disappointing loss marks the end of the longest run of any Cornell women’s team in history, as no other women’s team has ever advanced to the NCAA finals.The teams had never played before, and it seemed as though the game between the Red, which upset top seed Mercyhurst for the first Cornell victory over Mercyhurst of all time, and the No. 2 Bulldogs could go in either direction. This possibility continued up until the very last minute of triple overtime.The first period came and went with no change on the scoreboard. Both Cornell and UMD had one power play chance, but neither team’s penalty kill was going to go down without a fight. Shots (11-9) and face-offs won (6-4) were both in support of the Red but only marginally, and the period ended scoreless.The following 20 minutes of play witnessed a shift toward the Red’s advantage. Two of the three Cornell players who received All-American honors contributed to the first scoring point of the game, as All-American freshman defenders Lauriane Rougeau and Laura Fortino assisted senior forward Melanie Jue to make the goal. The period concluded in the Red’s favor, 1-0. The tides had turned for the Red, and prior to this game, Cornell had lost only two out of 25 games in which it had scored first.Period three of the game saw UMD’s domination, as it was only 18 seconds in that its own All-American, senior forward Emmanuelle Blais, made the first goal for the Bulldogs, tying the game at 1. The point came on the power play for UMD, and was only the ninth goal all season that the Red let up during its penalty-kill. Cornell’s penalty-killing statistic worsened even more as another UMD power play goal was made at 14:42 into the third.With only 5:18 to go, the Red knew it needed another miracle to extend the game in hopes for a win. This miracle came in the form of Jue, who led the Red senior class in scoring and continued to do so in her second goal of the game. Jue was able to respond to UMD’s goal less than two minutes after it was made, and equalize the score with 3:30 remaining in regulation.What followed her goal was completely unexpected. The aggressive plays by both teams continued not only for those last three and a half minutes, but they continued on for the length of another hockey game. Two overtimes occurred in which no changing on the scoreboard could be seen, and it was with 34 seconds left in the third overtime that UMD freshman forward Jessica Wong was finally able to follow through on one of her scoring opportunities that arose during the post-regulation playing time. The score was brought to 3-2 in UMD’s favor, and the NCAA trophy was immediately brought out onto the ice.Despite the final score, however, the game still holds historic value for the Red. Cornell entered this season with an expected finish of seventh by rankers throughout the nation. Its leading scorer from the 2008-2009 season, then-sophomore forward Rebecca Johnston, would be absent from the team to play in the Olympics. The starting goaltender for the year would be a sophomore who was injured throughout her freshman year.For a team that was expected to finish seventh overall, advancing to the program’s first top-4 ECAC finish, but also a top-2 NCAA finish in the championship game was quite an accomplishment. The Red was able to finish its season in front of a crowd of 1,473 in Minneapolis, Minn., in the longest championship game of college women’s hockey history with a record of 61 saves made by Red goaltender Amanda Mazzotta and three players on the roster named to the first two All-American teams.

Original Author: Sun Staff