March 6, 2011

Cornell Offense Too Much for Quinnipiac in Semifinal Victory at Lynah, 4-3

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Another night, another big win for the women’s hockey team. On Thursday the Red (29-2-1, 19-1-1 ECAC Hockey) took to the friendly confines of Lynah Rink to square off against Quinnipiac (22-12-3, 12-9-1) in the ECAC semifinal and came away with a 4-3 victory for a date with Dartmouth in the ECAC championship game. Senior forward Hayley Hughes led the way for the Red with a pair of goals, and junior goaltender Amanda Mazzotta made her first start in nearly three months after going down with an ankle injury, earning 21 saves to help propel the Red to victory.

Junior forward Chelsea Karpenko got the Red on the board late in the opening period with a power-play goal assisted by sophomore defenseman Laura Fortino and junior forward Catherine White. Freshman forward Jessica Campbell stretched the Red lead to 2-0 just over five minutes into the second period when she corralled a pass from senior forward Amber Overguard, sliced the Bobcats defense and beat goaltender Victoria Vigilanti. Just over two minutes later the Bobcats responded with an unassisted goal from Uden Johansson, but Hughes stretched the lead back out to two goals with her first tally on the night late in the second, with help from freshman forward Brianne Jenner and junior defenseman Amanda Young.

The Bobcats cut the lead back to 3-2 less than two minutes into the third period with a goal from Brittany Lyons, sending a nervous wave through the home crowd. But less than five minutes later junior forward Rebecca Johnston found Fortino, who hit Hughes to beat Vigilanti on the weak side for the eventual game-winner. The Bobcats scored once more with over five minutes to play to make for an anxious final minutes of the game, but the Red defense held strong, preserving the win and a shot for its second straight ECAC championship, 4-3.

While the Red held the lead for most of the game, it could never quite bury the Bobcats, who kept responding with goals of their own.

“[Quinnipiac is] the type of team that never really gives up,” Mazzotta said. “If you give them a little glimmer of hope they’re going to take it and make you pay; we made a few mistakes and they capitalized on them.”

Even when the Red held the lead late in the game, the team made sure to maintain its aggressive approach.

“I don’t think we were really playing too defensively,” Mazzotta said. “You have to keep the pressure on a team like that, they pressured us really hard so you try to keep the puck in the offensive zone and keep cycling through.”

While last season the Red was a Cinderella story, this year the squad was expected to make it to the ECAC championship game and beyond from day one; however the Red has never been caught up in the difference in expectations from last season to this season. The squad remains focused on improving itself one day at a time.

“It’s just a completely different season [from last year],” Mazzotta said. “The league is so different with so many new players, I don’t even know if you can compare the two. We pay less attention to what’s going on around us and more on what we need to do everyday to play to our full potential.”

Original Author: Ware Cady