Facing two ranked teams with sparkling goalie save percentages and minuscule goals-allowed-per-game averages, Cornell women’s hockey could only muster one goal in 120 minutes of play.
The Red (9-12-4, 5-9-4 ECAC) — currently in ninth place in the ECAC — was not able to pick up any ECAC points in a winless weekend. They fell 4-1 to Quinnipiac (23-2-4, 13-2-3) on Friday evening and gave up two empty net goals en route to a 5-0 loss to Princeton (19-5-1, 12-5-1) Saturday afternoon.
The final score of a hockey game is not always indicative of how both teams played. Quinnipiac was very strong on Friday, with impressive individual performances that demonstrated why they are first in the ECAC and ranked fourth in the country. However, Cornell head coach Doug Derraugh ’91 believes his team had a good game against the Bobcats.
“I thought we played really well,” he said. “It was one of our best games [all season].”
On Friday, Cornell jumped out to an early lead by capitalizing only 1:45 into the game on a goal by freshman forward Christian Higham. Quinnipiac answered with a goal of their own less than two minutes later, and it would stay knotted right there until the final minutes of the second period.
“We battled the whole time,” said senior defenseman and team captain Cassandra Poudrier. “The effort was there.”
The Bobcats scored two more times in the third to make it a three-goal difference despite, ironically, being outshot 14-7 by the Red in the frame.
“I don’t think anything changed,” said junior forward Hanna Bunton. “They capitalized [on their opportunities].”
The third period was perhaps Cornell’s strongest; Poudrier said the Red thrived by playing “desperate” hockey with time running out.
“I thought we were all over them,” she said.
The result was not there in the end, but Derraugh was happy with what he saw from his team on Friday. He emphasized continuing that strong play into the next day’s game, along with trying to convert offensive opportunities into goals by taking more shots.
“We told them they were on the right track,” he said. “Sometimes when you’re not scoring you play … on the perimeter, which is the opposite of what you want to do.”
Saturday’s game in many ways mirrored Friday’s. Facing a strong opponent, Cornell kept the game tied in the first half, before their opponent began to find the back of the net in the third period. Just as on Friday, Derraugh thought his team played a strong if not flawless game Saturday.
“We made a couple of defensive mistakes,” he said. “I thought we played hard.”
Brown points out that senior Princeton goalie Kimberly Newell was a big part of the reason the Red were not able to get on the board Saturday.
“[Newell] made a lot of really great saves,” she said.
Poudrier believes that her team was up to the task of the Tigers. For her, Saturday’s game was about who was able to finish off their offensive opportunities.
“I thought we worked really hard,” she said. ”The effort was there … They just capitalized. They scored when they had the chance to and we didn’t.”
Cornell knew coming in that it would be difficult to make a move in the ECAC standings this weekend given the caliber of the opponents. The Red are disappointed in the final score but encouraged by the way they played.
“It would have been nice to have gotten two points [in one of the games],” Bunton said. “We just have to bear down on our scoring chances.”