Cornell women’s hockey bookended its weekend with two goals in the first five minutes from senior forward Jess Brown and an overtime loss Saturday against Rensselaer. In between, the Red held tough on the road and maintained its ninth place position in a jam-packed ECAC playoff picture.
Cornell (9-10-4, 5-7-4 ECAC) triumphed against Union (0-22-6, 0-13-3) 3-1 on Friday night in Schenectady, with Brown’s 10th and team-lead-tying 11th goal being the early difference makers. On Saturday afternoon, the Red lost a low scoring 2-1 game to Rensselaer (9-13-4, 7-7-2) in overtime.
Friday’s ultimate game winner came only 5:04 into the contest. Cornell head coach Doug Derraugh ’91 said it was important that his team was able to push off on the right skate against the Dutchwomen.
“We really emphasized … before the game that we needed to get off to a good start,” he said.
Derraugh said the Red were able to use the early lead to set the tone for the game.
“We were moving the puck well in the first period,” he said. “We controlled much of the play [throughout the game].”
Senior forward Taylor Woods said Union took a timeout early in the game to slow down Cornell’s momentum. The Dutchwomen made it a one-goal game just over a minute into the second period after taking advantage of a power play opportunity.
After their two-goal lead was cut in half, Woods said Cornell refocused in the task at hand, knowing the next goal would be very important.
Later in the second, freshman forward Diana Buckley tallied her first career collegiate goal to make it 3-1 and opened the Red’s lead back up to two. The third period was scoreless as Cornell held its lead en route to victory. Woods said the Red played a very strong overall game.
“Our forechecking was very clean,” she offered as an example, and reiterated Derraugh’s point, “We kept it to the game we like to play.”
After a victory on Friday, the Red headed down the road to Troy to take on the Engineers of RPI. Derraugh said he believes Cornell was once again successful in beginning the game strong.
“I thought we got off to a good start,” he said. “I thought it was an evenly played game.”
With both teams tied in points entering the contest, stakes were high.
“[There] was a playoff game mentality,” Woods said.
Although both teams had opportunities in the first period, the game remained scoreless until Woods capitalized midway through the second to make it a 1-0 Cornell lead. RPI scored a goal of their own later in the period to make it 1-1. The game would go into overtime knotted right there, before the Engineers ultimately repeated their overtime result from earlier this year at Lynah. Derraugh attributed the low-scoring nature of the contest to both teams playing risk-averse in response to the playoff implications of the final score.
“There weren’t a lot of chances for either team,” he said. “It was a cautiously played game.”
With the bunched-up nature of the ECAC standings and the season entering its closing stretch, Cornell was disappointed in the game’s final score.
“The team took it really hard,” Derraugh said.
Although unsatisfied with Saturday’s final score, Derraugh remains confident in this team’s ability.
“I know we still have a chance”, Derraugh said.