After a well-deserved weekend off, the Cornell women’s hockey team will again hit the ice this Friday and Saturday at Lynah Rink as the team hosts Ivy foes Dartmouth and Harvard. The action starts Friday night, when the Red will welcome the Green to East Hill in a 7 p.m. showdown. Friday’s match up will be followed by a much-anticipated 4 p.m. contest on Saturday against archrival Harvard.
The No. 2 Red (4-0, 3-0 ECAC) has been unstoppable so far this season. In its first four games, the team has outscored its opponents, 33-4. However, the Ivy League leader hasn’t played its stiffest competition — teams like the Green and the Crimson. Dartmouth (1-2-1, 1-0-1 ECAC) was looking forwards to a promising season, but has begun on a sour note and will be looking to put itself back on track with a win over the coasting Red. No. 10 Harvard (2-0, 2-0 ECAC), on the other hand, got off to a roaring start this season and will be looking to remain undefeated when it comes to Ithaca on Saturday, if the Crimson can make it past Colgate on Friday unscathed.Despite having an off-weekend, the Red has seen a fair amount of success over the last week. Freshman standout forward Jillian Saulnier was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week for the second time in as many weeks, six players were named to the Canadian Under-22 national team and Team Canada easily won its first game in the 4 Nation’s Cup, 5-0, against Finland (with the help of four Cornell players and Cornell head coach Doug Derraugh). However, the success on the Canadian national team does contain a dark spot: Derraugh, junior defenders Lauriane Rougeau and Laura Fortino, sophomore forward Brianne Jenner and senior forward Rebecca Johnston will be missing when the Red hits the ice against Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend.“Obviously it shakes things up a little bit,” said senior goalkeeper Amanda Mazzotta. “We’re just going to try to stick to our game plan and execute as well as we can … we’re going to have to work a little bit harder … but I think we’re excited and ready for a challenge.”The Red indeed will face a challenge when it takes the ice tomorrow night against the Green. Dartmouth started off the season with a tough loss at the hands of the now-No. 4 Boston College, 4-3, which was followed up two weekends ago with a tie at Clarkson, 2-2, and a narrow victory at St. Lawrence, 1-0. The Green tried to carry the momentum from the St. Lawrence win into its home opener against rival New Hampshire last weekend; however, the Wildcats proved too much for the Green to handle and UNH left Hanover with a tight overtime victory, 5-4.Dartmouth is led by senior captain Kelly Foley, who hopes to help the Green jump out ahead early and dampen the Cornell spirits, while keeping the Red from exploding later in the game as it did last Tuesday against Syracuse. Dartmouth will also look to make amends for last year, when the Green fell to the Red three out of four times (once in the regular season, once in the ECAC Championship Game and again in the NCAA Tournament).Unlike the Green, the Crimson has lived up to expectations thus far. Harvard came into its first game firing on all cylinders and tallied seven scores in a rout of St. Lawrence, 7-1, in Canton, N.Y. The Crimson brought that momentum into its next game, where it squeaked out an overtime victory over Clarkson, 2-1 in Potsdam, N.Y.The Crimson is the only other ECAC team currently in the Top-10 and is widely considered the main threat to keep Cornell from winning the ECAC title. Harvard receives strong goaltending from junior keeper Laura Bellamy (currently ranked second in the nation with a 0.99 goals against average), who will be expected to stop all that the Cornell offensive machine can throw at her. Like Cornell, the Crimson will also be at a disadvantage, as head coach Katey Stone and players Josphine Pucci, Michelle Picard and Jillian Dempsey are currently in Nyköping, Sweden with Team USA, preparing to take on Team Canada at 9:30 a.m. today in the 4 Nations Cup. The Crimson shouldn’t miss a beat, though, as it will bring all it has to of the historic Cornell-Harvard matchup. The last time the Crimson beat the Red was in Feb. 2009, in the ECAC Playoffs, so Harvard is hungry for a victory over Cornell.“[Darmouth and Harvard] are two great teams,” said senior forward Chelsea Karpenko. “We’ve … got rivalries with both of them. It’s always a tough game against Harvard and, after last year with Dartmouth, we’ve kind of got a little bit of bad blood there, too. They should be two good games and [we’re] looking forward to it for sure.”
Original Author: Zach Waller