Coming off of its sixth-straight win last Tuesday at Syracuse, the women’s hockey team entered into one of its toughest weekends firing on all cylinders, taking on and then defeating Ancient Eight foes Harvard and Dartmouth on the road.
The No. 3 Red (18-2, 13-1 ECAC Hockey) has been unstoppable as of late, not dropping a single contest since an away loss to current-No. 5 Mercyhurst. The No. 9 Crimson was coming off of a strong weekend, which saw it earn impressive home victories over both Union and RPI, while the No. 10 Big Green entered Saturday’s contest on an eight-game unbeaten streak, which began with a December 11th victory over the University of New Hampshire.
The last time the Red saw the Crimson was in a November 12th contest at Lynah Rink, where Cornell skated away with a handy 5-3 victory over the then-No. 10 Crimson. In that game, however, Harvard was missing players as Josphine Pucci, Michelle Picard and Jillian Dempsey, as well as head coach Katey Stone, played with Team USA, while Cornell was missing junior defenders Lauriane Rougeau and Laura Fortino, sophomore forward Brianne Jenner, senior forward Rebecca Johnston and head coach Doug Derraugh who played for Team Canada.
“It’s always great to have a full roster,” said senior goalkeeper Amanda Mazzotta. “I’m sure Harvard was feeling the same way. It felt like everyone was firing on all cylinders. There [were] no excuses on either side because everyone [had] all of their players.”
Things started off slow on Friday in Cambridge, but heated up towards the end of the first period, when senior forward Kendice Ogilvie took the puck past a Harvard defender before passing it to senior forward Rebecca Johnston. Johnston sent a backhanded shot past Crimson netminder Laura Bellamy, putting the Red on the board with 4:04 left in the period. With 1:53 remaining in the frame, sophomore defender Alyssa Gagliardi was whistled for boarding, giving the Crimson a one-man advantage in the waning seconds of the period. However, with just 17 seconds on the clock, Harvard’s Marissa Gedman was sent to the box on an interference call, creating a four-on-four for the remainder of the period. After the faceoff, Johnston was able to gain control of the puck and send it to junior defenseman Lauriane Rougeau, who put a shot on Ballamy. The shot was initially deflected, but ultimately found its way to the back of the net, giving the Red a 2-0 lead with 1.5 seconds remaining in the first.
This would be the final score for the game, although both teams continued to fight hard for another 40 minutes. However, neither was able put the puck away and the contest ended with a 2-0 Cornell victory, giving Mazzotta her third shutout on the season.
After defeating archrival Harvard, the team then made the trip up to Hanover to take on the Green, the only team to defeat the Red this year in conference play – incidentally also while Cornell was missing four players plus Derraugh to Team Canada. When the puck dropped, a thrilling defensive battle ensued. While the first period was full of opportunity for both teams offensively, neither could capitalize with Mazzotta turning away seven Dartmouth shots and Green goaltender Lindsay Holdcroft stopping all 14 Cornell attempts.
The contest stood scoreless after one period. The second and third periods saw more of the same, with Mazzotta turning aside another 21 Dartmouth shots and Holdcroft denying Cornell nine times.
After three periods the score was still even at zero and Cornell was forced into its first overtime period of the season. The first four minutes went much like the previous 60, with the Green ultimately testing Mazzotta three times. The Red made no shots on Holdcroft during the same time frame; however, the last minute changed the game.
With Dartmouth’s Erica Dobos sitting in the box on a hooking call, Cornell junior defenseman Laura Fortino took advantage of the powerplay and made a pass to senior Erin Barley-Malone. The forward got past the Dartmouth defenders and let off a low wrist shot, which found its way past Holdcroft and ended up in the bottom-right corner of the Dartmouth net. The goal gave the Red a 1-0 victory in its first overtime contest of the season.
“It was crazy,” said senior forward Chelsea Karpenko. “Everyone was just thrilled. It was the first time we were in overtime this year [and] with the stakes of the game being so high it was almost a little Ivy League championship playoff this weekend. Getting that goal in the win over Dartmouth everyone was ecstatic. We really [don’t] have words. It was a huge win for us.”
With the four points from the weekend, the Red solidifies its hold on the first-place spot in the ECAC with 26 points. Quinnipiac is currently second with 22.
Original Author: Zach Waller