On a cold and damp Tuesday night in Hamilton, N.Y., the No. 3 Cornell women’s hockey team returned to the ice for the first time since last year’s disappointing loss to Boston University in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinal. Without missing a beat, the team that has been so successful in recent years continued business as usual, opening up an early lead and ultimately trouncing its overmatched ECAC rival Colgate, 6-2.The Raiders (3-3-0, 0-1 ECAC) hoped the early-season games they had played against perennial powerhouses New Hampshire and Northeastern would give them an edge over the Red, who came into last night’s game with only a solid preseason win over Brampton, 6-0, under its belt.However, Cornell (1-0-0, 1-0 ECAC) started off quickly once the puck was dropped for the first time in the Red’s regular season. Just three minutes into the game, Colgate’s Megan Wickens was whistled for tripping, giving the Red its first powerplay of the season. Towards the end of the powerplay, Cornell freshman forward Jillian Sauliner picked up a rebound in front of the net and slipped it past Colgate goaltender Kimberly Sass, putting the Red up, 1-0, just four and a half minutes into the game.Sauliner didn’t end there, though. Just two minutes later, she ripped a slap shot past Sass and increased the margin to two.The rest of the period was fairly quiet until, at 15:59, the Red found itself in a two-on-one in the Colgate zone. Senior forward Rebecca Johnston took the puck up the ice before sending it to sophomore forward Brianne Jenner, who had no trouble putting it past Sass and lighting the goal lamp once again.“We [executed] our game plan,” said junior defenseman Lauriane Rougeau. “We shot a lot of pucks on net and we forechecked hard. It was all about effort.”The second period started off a bit sloppy for both sides, with a total of eight penalties being doled out in the frame. Colgate found the net for the first time at 11:39; however, the Red was never in trouble, as senior forward Chelsea Karpenko notched a goal at 14:01 and Sauliner completed a hat trick in her first career game at 15:53. Colgate had the last say in the period, when freshman forward Melisse Kueber scored with just 33 seconds remaining, slimming the Red advantage, 5-2, as the teams went to the locker rooms for the second intermission.The third period again began on a strong note for Cornell. Sauliner deflected a slapshot from Rougeau out of midair and into the goal, tallying an impressive fourth goal on the night. That goal established the final score of the game, 6-2, in a dominating season-opening performance for the Red.“What we were really looking for was effort,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “We really felt that we got that from our team from start to finish. We played really aggressive and put a lot of shots on goal. We played a real strong team game.”Cornell did indeed put a lot of shots on goal, outshooting the Raiders, 64-12 — the most shots on goal the team has recorded in a single game in over a decade.The Red next plays this weekend against ECAC and Ivy foes Yale and Brown. The matchup with the Bulldogs, the Red’s home opener, is Friday at 7 p.m. in Lynah Rink. Then, Cornell faces the Bears on Saturday at 3 p.m., also at Lynah.Although the Red came out strong on Tuesday, the team hopes to work out some issues while it prepares for both Yale (0-2-0, 0-0 ECAC) and Brown (1-0-0, 0-0 ECAC).“We had a few problems with our special teams,” Derraugh said. “Transitions from offense to defense need to be quicker.”The Red must contend with a Bulldogs team that saw marked improvement last year under head coach Joakim Flygh, now in his second year at the helm in New Haven, Conn. Led by senior captain Aleca Hughes, Yale will look to avoid a repeat of the blowout loss, 7-1, that it suffered last year against the Red on East Hill.Brown, on the other hand, finished last season with a total of merely two wins on the year.However, the Bears started this season in style, earning an impressive victory, 10-0, over Sacred Heart at home last weekend. Taking charge for the Bears this year is senior co-captain Katelyn Landry, who also notched a hat trick in her first game of the season. Brown would like to come out swinging on Saturday night after the Bears were stomped during their last visit to Lynah, 8-0.“We expect for them to come out hard and play hard,” Rougeau said. “It’s an Ivy League matchup, so they’re going to be coming hard and physical. We need to be prepared for that. But we also need to worry about how we play as a team together.”
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the women’s hockey team lost to Boston University in last year’s NCAA championship game. In fact, the Red fell to the Terriers in the semifinals. The Sun regrets this error.
Original Author: Zach Waller