March 27, 2011

Historic Season Ends With B.U. Upset Win in NCAA Tourney Semis

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An historic season came to an end for the No. 2 ranked Cornell women’s hockey team Friday March 18, when the Red fell, 4-1, to the Boston University Terriers (27-7-4, 15-3-3 Hockey East) in the NCAA semifinals at Tullio Arena in Erie, Pa. Senior forward and assistant captain Karlee Overguard put the only point on the scoreboard for Cornell (31-3-1, 20-1-1 ECAC Hockey) as the Red ended its year with the most single season wins in program history.

The first period started out quickly for Cornell, with junior forward and assistant captain Rebecca Johnston making her first appearance in the penalty box at 1:30 for checking before assisting Overguard and junior defenseman Amanda Young on the game’s first goal at 5:29.

“We were on the rush — me and [freshman forward Brianne] Jenner and [Johnston] — breaking in and [she] cut across and fed it over to me and I don’t think the [defense] saw me on the backside so I had a mini breakaway,” Overguard said. “Then I just went to the net and never had much time, so I was thinking put it on the net and it went in.”

The No. 3 ranked Terriers also had a player land in the box during this period; however, after the 10-minute mark, B.U. was able to add a goal of its own to the board, tying the game, 1-1.

“After they got the first goal we were just thinking … let’s get it back. It’s just a 1-1 game, so we knew it was anybody’s game at that point,” said senior forward and captain Amber Overguard. “We were just trying to stay positive.”

Cornell was able to hold the Terriers in a stalemate for most of the second period as each squad alternated sending players to the penalty box. This trend abruptly ended when B.U. hit an electric surge and was able to put the puck past junior goaltender Amanda Mazzotta twice within a 50-second span at 18:37, sending the Terriers past the Red, 3-1. B.U. overwhelmed Cornell in shooting during this period by a 10-2 margin and improved that ratio to 2-to-1 by the game’s conclusion.

“I don’t think they wore [Mazzotta] down, but we obviously didn’t want to give up that many shots and we wanted to get more than we did. When you go for shots, 31-15, chances are you are going to lose,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91.

The third period was unmarred by penalties, though Cornell was struggling to return from a two-goal deficit. The Red began to pick up the pace and was able to regain control over the flow of the game, but the Boston defense proved to be a force difficult to overcome. Cornell pulled Mazzotta from the net — trying to maximize a 6-on-5 power play; however, 51 seconds after the Red rendered its net defenseless, B.U. broke free and was able to sink a goal from between the circles with 2:40 left to play to put the game away, 4-1.

“[B.U. was] tremendous,” Derraugh said. “We had a tough time generating anything through the middle of the ice in [B.U.’s] D-zone. We had a tough time getting it to the net. They did a great job overall — I thought they played really physical.”

With the win, Boston became the first Hockey East school to advance to a national title game. The Terriers played No. 1 ranked Wisconsin on Sunday, but fell, 4-1, as the Badgers ultimately claimed their fourth national championship title in program history.

Next year’s squad will look very different from the 2010-11 team that broke the school wins record as four seniors — forwards Hayley Hughes, Amber Overguard and Karlee Overguard and goalie Katie Wilson — will be lost to graduation.

“I’m so proud of where our team has come from when [Amber and I] came in freshman year and winning four games or something like that to now being in the Frozen Four and having the season we did. I think it’s just amazing where we’ve come from and I’m really proud of our team,” Karlee Overguard said.

According to Derraugh, the seniors have helped build the success of the women’s hockey program at Cornell by leading their team to success on the national level, including winning back-to-back ECAC Hockey and Ivy League championships and appearing in consecutive Frozen Fours.

“I am so proud of the team and so grateful to [the seniors],” Derraugh said. “They came in four years ago and we won four games and now we’ve gone to the Frozen Four two years in a row and won the ECAC and Ivy League two years in a row. This group of seniors has done things that no group of seniors has ever done in the history of Cornell — women’s hockey this year has won more games than any Cornell hockey team has ever won … I am so appreciative of the work they have done and have helped us change the culture of Cornell women’s ice hockey. They did fantastic and as a coach, I couldn’t ask for more.”

Original Author: Lauren Ritter