Cornell women’s hockey (3-1-1, 1-1 ECAC) took a step in the right direction on Saturday when the team took on Union (2-8-0, 0-2 ECAC). Following a sluggish offensive performance in a loss to RPI on Friday, goals in each period were enough for a 3-1 victory in what was a strong showing from the Red offense.
“It was a pretty consistent effort,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ‘91 of the start. “We put a lot of pressure on them early on and managed to get a few goals.”
Sophomore forward Lenka Serdar scored midway through the first period to get Cornell on the board. It was the first goal of the season for Serdar, who was assisted by freshman forward Paige Lewis and sophomore forward Pippy Gerace.
In the second period, freshman forward Kristin O’Neill added an unassisted goal to strengthen the Cornell lead. Currently first on the team in goals, O’Neill has been a bright spot on the roster for the Red so far this season.
“Kristin is a very explosive and highly competitive player,” Derraugh said. “She’s already made an impact in the few games that she has played.”
After breaking open a two-goal lead, Cornell let up on the gas a bit as Union tried to fight its way back into the game, according to the head coach.
“I thought the second half of the game we weren’t as consistent,” Derraugh said.
Nonetheless, Cornell added another goal in the third period to fully put the game out of reach. Senior forward Kaitlin Doering found the net after being set up for a shot on net by O’Neill and sophomore forward Diana Buckley.
Doering’s goal effectively iced the game for the Red.
“We managed to get that third goal and I think that really settled things down for us,” Derraugh said.
After going scoreless in the team’s first ECAC game of the year — a 1-0 loss to RPI on Friday — it was crucial that the offense found its stride against Union.
Cornell had numerous scoring chances against RPI. Engineers’ goaltender Lovisa Selander was the biggest difference-maker on the ice for either team, saving 41 shots in what was a dominant performance in net.
“Friday night we couldn’t find a way to score,” Derraugh said. “Sometimes when that happens, you go into the second game still thinking about that first loss, so you have to have a short term memory.”
A late third period surge by the Red created a bevy of scoring chances and Cornell looked as though it would tie the game, but no shots found their mark and RPI completed the shutout.
Still, the scoreless debut for Cornell in its first ECAC match up did little to discourage the team from continuing to fire pucks on net against Union. Cornell put up 44 shots in the victory.
Despite the litany of shots, Derraugh said he would like to see more of those shots translate into goals in upcoming match ups.
“I think our offensive pressure is good,” Derraugh said. “Now we need to work on finishing those opportunities.”
Defensively, Cornell was strong throughout all three periods and sophomore goaltender Marlène Boissonault had an impressive performance in net.
“[Boissonault] has been a great goaltender for us from the very beginning here at Cornell,” Derraugh said. “She has had a great start to the season and we are expecting her to play a big role this year.”
The team did surrender five power play opportunities, which is an area where the Red will look to continue to improve in.
“There were a couple of penalties in there that I wish we could’ve gone without,” Derraugh said. “The team is still adjusting to the new standards of play instituted this season.”
Derraugh said he is confident his team will continue to clean up play as the year progresses.
Cornell will travel to face a very talented Colgate team (7-0-1, 2-0 ECAC) on Tuesday in what should be a good test of where Cornell stacks up this year in terms of league play.
“They’re one of the strongest teams in the league this year and they have talent at every position,” Derraugh said. “[Colgate] will be a challenge for us.”