February 28, 2013

W. HOCKEY | No. 2 C.U. Takes On Colgate In Conference Quarterfinals

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As the No. 2 ranked team in the nation, Cornell will begin its playoff season Friday night after a long and successful 2012-13 campaign. The Red (23-5-1, 18-3-1 ECAC) claimed its fourth consecutive ECAC regular season crown last weekend with a 4-0 victory over Union and a 3-1 Harvard loss to Clarkson. With the regular season title under its belt, Cornell earned the No. 1 seed in the ECAC Tournament and the right to host the No. 8 seeded Colgate (11-19-3, 6-13-3 ECAC) in the Quarterfinals.

Cornell has won two of the last three ECAC Tournaments and is 11-1 at Lynah Rink all time in the postseason. The best-of-three series between Cornell and Colgate is their second meeting in the postseason. They previously met in 2010 when Cornell defeated the Raiders in the Quarters.

“As a team, we have set high expectations,” said senior captain and defenseman Laura Fortino. “If we stay focused and stick together as a team, I have no doubt we will be successful and win.”

Colgate has the second-worst penalty kill — 73.1 percent — and fourth-worst scoring defense — 3.45 goals allowed per game — in the country. The Raiders barely squeaked into the playoffs, winning their final two games while getting help from a Princeton loss.

On the other hand, Colgate has four total shorthanded goals this season, which is tied for eighth in the nation. They also have a streaky goaltender in freshman Ashlynne Rando, who won her second ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week award last week. She currently stands with a .901 save percentage and a 2.96 goals against average.

“I think the key to the series is going to be mainly focusing on consistency and doing the little things right that matter at this point in the season,” Fortino said. “We need to focus on playing strong defensively first, and then letting the offensive play come.”

Fortino highlighted how the Red cannot take the Raiders for granted because they have improved throughout the season. The last time the two teams played Cornell took both games by a combined score of 18-2.

“They are a team that works really hard and has good offensive skill,” Fortino said. “We need to play aggressive hockey and bring solid work each game and set the tempo right off the start.”

Cornell will look towards players like junior forward Brianne Jenner and junior defenseman Alyssa Gagliardi to lead the squad in the playoffs. Jenner scored 28 goals and 55 points this season, and she was named a Top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award. Gagliardi was also recently added to the U.S Women’s National Team training camp roster.

Original Author: Scott Eckl