Coming into the season ranked second in the nation according to a USA Today/USA Hockey preseason poll, the Red is focused on the long haul ahead and is working to improve upon last year’s historic season in which the team went 31-3-1.
“With our team this year, there are high expectations coming into the season after last year and we felt that we really wanted to focus this year on improving,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “I think that we can improve a lot of aspects in our game, but I have been very happy with the leadership of our upperclassmen and captains.”
This season the Red welcomes four new faces to the bench — freshmen forwards Emily Fulton, Monika Leck and Jillian Saulnier and netminder Katelyn Pippy. Only ten games into the year and the freshmen are already making a name for themselves. Just this week, Fulton earned the honor of ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week, an award that Saulnier has taken home twice this season. The forward sits atop the team leader board in points for the season, having notched 14 goals and 10 assists.
“We knew we were getting a very talented hockey player [with Saulnier], but she has exceeded the expectations we had both on and off the ice,” Derraugh said. “She brings a lot to the team and is very enthusiastic.”
The freshmen have smoothly integrated into the team dynamics both on and off the ice, following in the steps of last season’s rookie class. As the second largest of the classes, the sophomores have had a strong presence on the ice since coming to Cornell. Forwards Brianne Jenner, the 2011 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, and Jess Campbell, who earned the honor of ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week after her first career weekend, are two of the six talented returners hoping to help the Red improve on last year’s record-breaking season.
“Jenner and Campbell [and the other sophomores] helped us to get to the NCAA frozen four, so after having that freshman season under their belt, I feel they have really stepped it up and are leaders on our team,” Derraugh said.
“Last year they got into the system and were figuring out what the team was like and what the work ethic was like,” senior goaltender Amanda Mazzota added. “Next year when the seven of us leave they will have bigger roles to play and I think they are ready for it.”
The junior class — comprised of defensemen Laura Fortino and Lauriane Rougeau and forward Xandra Hompe — has also contributed to the success of the women’s hockey program since first coming to Cornell.
“Fortino and Rougeau are two of the best defensemen in the NCAA,” Derraugh said. “From top to bottom, we have a lot of strength in all positions.”
Rounding out the squad are eight seniors — five forwards, two defensemen and one goalie. The senior class has accomplished many things with the program in the past 3 season, inlcluding making Cornell history by winning consecutive ECAC and Ivy League titles and being the only team to fo to the Frozen Four two years in a row.
“The biggest things they have done for us is to change the culture of women’s ice hockey,” Derraugh said. “The legacy of what they leave behind is how they will be measures … they have done that and I think that that is the big thing they have accomplished and I think they will take a lot of pride in that.”
The seniors are taking this season one game at a time, realizing that as every game passes they are one step closer to the end of their career at Lynah. Senior forward Kendice Ogilvie stresses wanting to take each game one at a time.
So far this season the Red has thrilled fans with major wins against No. 10 Harvard, Yale, Brown and No. 5 Boston University. Cornell takes to the road this weekend to play Mercyhurst, who if beaten will give Derraugh his 99th and 100th career wins.
Original Author: Lauren Ritter