January 30, 2011

Women’s Hockey Breaks Single-Season Wins Record

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The steamroll of ECAC competition continued for the women’s hockey team over the weekend with a pair of dominating victories over league foes Union and RPI at Lynah Rink. The Red (22-1-0, 16-0-0 ECAC Hockey) rattled off its 17th and 18th consecutive victories with an 8-0 victory over the Dutchwomen (1-24-3, 0-14-2) on Friday night before blanking the Engineers (9-12-6, 7-8-1) on Saturday.

In both games the Red got off to fast starts, scoring two goals in the first 4:10 versus Union and four goals in the first 11:54 against RPI. Against weaker teams, the Red knows that it is important to come out of the gates strong and not give its opponent a sense of confidence.

“When you’re playing teams who maybe on paper aren’t quite up to your level, it’s important to establish your team play and not play down to their level,” said junior forward Catherine White, who had a goal and two assists on the weekend. “Both games we did a pretty good job of setting the tone and pace of the game and getting on [Union and RPI] right away.”

Junior forward Rebecca Johnston recorded a hat trick for the Red, while senior forward Hayley Hughes, junior forward Kendice Ogilvie, sophomore defenseman Lauriane Rougeau, junior forward Chelsea Karpenko and freshman forward Jessica Campbell all added one goal each.  Senior goaltender Katie Wilson recorded nine saves for her first career shutout.

On Saturday against the Engineers, the Red picked up right where it left off, with two goals from freshman Brianne Jenner and one each from White and Hughes, all in the first period. Hughes added her second of the night in the third period along with a goal from senior forward Karlee Overguard to complete the 6-0 win and season sweep.  Freshman goaltender Lauren Slebodnick recorded nine saves for her fifth shutout this season after spending most of the year backing up junior Amanda Mazzotta, who went down with a high ankle sprain earlier in the month.

The back-to-back shutouts were another display of the Red’s dominating team defense, which has been a focal point for Cornell all season long.

“Obviously [Slebodnick’s] been playing really well since [Mazzotta] went down, but really everybody on the team is committed to playing good defense,” White said. “Basically I’d attribute it to playing the smart way; you might want to cheat to the offensive side a little bit, but knowing that could give the other team an odd man rush, we don’t. Everybody is committed to playing strong, aggressive defense which has been big for us.”

“It starts with being strong on the forecheck,” added Karpenko. “Getting to loose pucks, back checking hard, not letting them get anything set up in our zone to begin with; it’s all important.”

The Red made history over the weekend, becoming the winningest Cornell women’s hockey team of all time.  The squad’s 18th straight win gave the Red 22 regular season wins on the season, breaking last year’s mark of 21.  Still, with six regular season games remaining, Cornell will look to build on its milestone.

Throughout the season the Red has remained adamant about staying in the moment and not getting caught up in all of the hype surrounding its success, but on Saturday night the squad did allow itself some time to reflect on its historic accomplishment and the dream season that it is currently enjoying.

“After the game we definitely celebrated [our accomplishment],” White said. “I can speak for the whole team when I say we’re proud of it and will cherish it for our lifetimes.”

Original Author: Ware Cady