January 19, 2011

Women’s Hockey Continues to Dominate at No. 2 Spot

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While the streets of central campus and Collegetown may have been slow and uneventful for the past month, the confines of Lynah, along with other hockey rinks all across the northeast region, have been exactly the opposite for the women’s hockey team.

Despite over a month layoff, the No. 2 nationally-ranked Red (18-1-0 overall, 12-0-0 ECAC) picked up 2011 right where it left off in 2010. The team rattled off five wins in a row (four in the ECAC), knocking off Yale, Brown, RPI, Union and fourth-ranked Mercyhurst — all on the road — by a combined score of 21-3.

Cornell’s most recent victory against Mercyhurst was its biggest one of the season, as the Lakers were the only team to defeat the Red since Minnesota-Duluth did so in the national championship game last season. Back on Nov. 2 at Lynah, Cornell led for the majority of the game but could not hold on, ultimately falling to the Lakers, 4-3, in overtime. That loss was avenged Tuesday night, as senior assistant co-captain and forward Karlee Overguard notched two goals while junior forward Catherine White added one of her own to give the Red a 3-0 victory. This was the first time that Mercyhurst was shut out at home since Oct. 21, 2005, making Cornell’s win all the more impressive.

Since its sole loss over two months ago, the Red has strung together 14 consecutive victories in dominating fashion, outscoring opponents by a staggering 57-6 margin. Out of its 18 wins on the season, Cornell posted a shutout on 10 occasions, while surrendering over one goal only three times (including a 4-3 overtime loss). With this type of smothering defense, the Red will certainly be in position to make a run come late February.

Junior forward and co-assistant captain Rebecca Johnston and freshman forward Brianne Jenner have led the way for the Red statistically, notching 27 and 26 total points respectively, while a total of ten members of the roster are in double digits. Junior goaltender Amanda Mazzotta has been nothing short of spectacular, averaging a mere .86 goals against per game and recording a .955 save percentage.

It is evident that the squad under head coach Doug Derraugh ’91is on a mission to complete its unfinished business from last March — to win a national championship.

Sitting eight points ahead of second place Harvard, Cornell is primed to coast to its second consecutive ECAC crown. The only team that sits ahead of the Red in the national rankings is Wisconsin, with a record of 22-2-0. Rather than looking too far into the future or the past, however, the Cornell team remains focused on the immediate task at hand: how to keep getting better.

Original Author: Ware Cady