Brown and Yale will travel to Lynah this weekend to face Cornell women’s hockey in a pair of key conference matchups. The Red is looking to continue double-digit unbeaten streaks against both teams.
Cornell (3-2, 1-2 ECAC) has gone 18 games without losing to Brown (3-4, 1-3 ECAC). The last time the Bears defeated the Red was in 2007. The Red has also gone a long time since losing to Yale (4-1-1, 2-1-1 ECAC). The Red has not lost to the Bulldogs in 15 straight games.
However, Brown tied Cornell the last time the Bears skated at Lynah. Even with the Red’s past success, Brown has been knocking on the door.
“Last year [Brown] came down here and tied us, and they play a strong team game,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ‘91. “They are solid at all positions and well coached.“
Derraugh highlighted Brown’s defensive capabilities, as the Bears have averaged one goal-against less than the conference average.
“It’s tough to get to the net on [Brown]; they do a really good job of protecting their own net,” Derraugh said. “They are good at clogging things up in the middle. We have got to find ways to get through that and get to their net.”
Cornell has succeeded in finding shots thus far, averaging 33.5 shots per game against its opponents’ 18.8. Yet, the Red has converted on eight of its 138 shots taken, averaging 2 goals per game.
“We have not given up a lot of goals, but we have to find ways to score some goals,” Derraugh said. “But you are not going to win a lot of games if you are winning one or two goals a game.”
Cornell defense is currently tied for second best in the NCAA. But the Red faces a test this weekend with Yale’s high-powered offense. Yale leads the nation in scoring with an average of 4.33 goals per game.
“Yale has been scoring a ton,” Derraugh said. ”They’ve got some real dynamic forwards … that can really move the puck and shoot the puck. We are going to have to stifle their offense and find a way to get some goals ourselves.”
Senior forward Hannah Bunton added that her team will need to maintain high physicality against the Bulldogs.
“In order to be successful … we need to play a strong defensive game,” Bunton said. “If we are able to do that then I think the goals will come. We need to focus on getting pucks and bodies to the net and play gritty hockey.”
This “gritty hockey” is most important around the net, where games are won and lost.
“Being strong around the net will be key, both offensively and defensively,” said senior goaltender Paula Voorheis.
The Red is putting aside past results against Brown and Yale come Friday and Saturday.
“[There] is nothing different than what we have been doing all year,” Derraugh said.
Cornell will need to focus on putting goals in the net and keeping pressure on its opponents.
“In order to continue to have success we need to bury our chances and come with the same energy for a full 60 minutes,” Bunton said.
The Red has seen success this season but is seeking needed improvement to guarantee more victories.
“We have a group that believes in each other and believes in our ability to succeed,” Voorheis said. “The atmosphere has been positive, but we are looking to keep honing in on the small details, as these often dictate game outcomes.”
Cornell takes on Brown at 6 p.m. Friday and then squares off against Yale at 3 p.m. Saturday.