Coming off a four-point homestand, the Cornell women’s hockey team will set out for its final road trip of the regular season to square off against Yale and Brown. The third-place Red is rolling and searching to improve its seed with the postseason rapidly approaching.
On its home ice this past weekend, Cornell (16-6-3, 12-3-3 ECAC) took down eighth place RPI (9-19-2, 6-11-1) and last place Union (4-25-1, 1-16-1). The Red faces two more opponents on the lower half of the standings, with Yale and Brown in seventh and 10th place, respectively.
Earlier this season, the team saw success against both squads, defeating Yale 4-2 and Brown 4-0 at Lynah Rink.
But the Red knows that no win is guaranteed and is not letting its guard down, especially on the road.
“As with all of the teams in our league we are expecting a hard-fought game,” said sophomore defenseman Micah Hart. “Most of our games have been one or two-goal games one way or the other. Both Brown and Yale are aggressive and hard-working teams just like us, so I think that will make for high tempo hockey games.”
Despite sitting towards the bottom of the ECAC standings, Yale has been on a roll, winning its past five games before falling to Quinnipiac (18-7-5, 11-5-2) last Saturday. During the win streak before dropping to the Bobcats, Yale travelled to No. 10 Princeton and defeated the ECAC’s fourth-place Tigers (15-7-3, 11-5-2) 3-1.
“Yale is a very quick team with a lot of speed,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “They are going to be a real test for us, they have been playing very well. And like us, they are fighting for positioning in the playoffs.”
On the other hand, Brown has been struggling for most of the season, but the Red is still giving the Bears credit.
“Brown has not gotten many wins, but they are playing everybody hard and their games have been close,” Derraugh said. “In recent history with Brown, all of our games have been one goal one way or the other. We have always had tough games down [in Providence] especially.”
Neither Yale nor Brown are teams to dismiss, but Cornell should expect to see positive results over the weekend if the team keeps playing the way it has been all year.
“With four more games left in the season, we are just trying to keep playing the way we’re playing,” Hart said. “I think it’s easy to get complacent at this point in our season, so I think for us to stay hungry and not be satisfied with where we are now will be important moving forward.”
Statistically, Cornell is not much different from Yale on the offensive side, averaging 2.39 goals per game as compared to the Bulldog’s 2.33. However, Brown only averages 1.17 goals per game.
“In the second half of our season, as a group we really wanted to improve the offensive side of our game,” Hart said. “We are a strong team defensively, but … when you have as many one goal games as we do in our league it’s important to be strong on the offensive side as well.”
Even from her position at defense, Hart has been integral in boosting her team’s offense. The sophomore recorded two goals and two assists in last weekend’s victories to earn herself ECAC Player of the Week honors.
“Overall I think lately we have been doing a better job of getting the puck to the net and looking to score,” she said.
The Red has not been off the charts in scoring, but strives on the other side of the puck. The team’s stout defense has only averaged 1.37 goals allowed per game and excels far beyond Yale and Brown in that category — Yale has let up 2.37 goals per game, and Brown has given up a dismal average of 4.48.
Cornell will take on Yale Friday at 6 p.m. in New Haven and then will travel to Providence for a 3 p.m. contest against Brown the next day.