Aubrey Akers | Sun Staff Photographer

For five seniors, four years of regular season competition will come to an end this weekend. Then, one last run in the playoffs.

February 15, 2017

No. 7 Women’s Hockey Looks to Enter Playoffs Strong With North Country Foes in Town for Senior Night

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After securing the Cornell women’s hockey team’s first Ivy League title since 2013, the Red will be back at Lynah Rink for the last two regular season games this weekend against No. 5 St. Lawrence and No. 3 Clarkson.

Despite all the distractions and emotions that might come following the end of a multi-year Ivy drought, the women are zoned in for this weekend.

“As we near the end of the season, I think we really have to play as a team and play unified. Using our team strength such as speed and team defense will help us succeed in very important games like this coming weekend,” said freshman forward Kristin O’Neill. “As teammates, I think we just hope to see everyone staying together and being on the same page as one another and I am very confident that we will stay working in the same direction this weekend.”

But St Lawrence (24-4-3, 15-3-2 ECAC) looks to spoil the Red’s weekend. The Saints present a plethora of challenges for the Red (17-6-4, 13-3-4). The No. 5 team in the country has accomplished this ranking with one of the best defenses in the conference, highlighted by holding Cornell to two goals and scoring five of its own the first time these teams met in January.

“Both St. Lawrence and Clarkson are very strong teams offensively,” said freshman forward Paige Lewis. “However, if we can capitalize on our offensive chances and continue playing strong team defense, we can shut them down.”

Regardless of Friday’s result, Saturday’s game will serve as senior night for the team, as the Red honors the seniors who have provided four years of leadership in every aspect of the game.

“Senior weekend is a time where we can recognize the seniors for everything they have done for us this season,” Lewis added. “[The senior class] has been extremely helpful and has set an example in hard work, dedication and leadership on and off the ice. The weekend is chance to show the seniors what they mean to us and reminds us to give it our all and play for them.”

Posing a threat to the celebration, the Golden Knights (23-4-5, 17-1-2) will be looking for revenge on Saturday, after the Red handed Clarkson its first and only conference loss of the season in January.

“We expect them to be very tough, fast and skilled like we have seen in previous games against them,” O’Neill said. “We will bring have to bring our best games this coming to succeed.”

The recently-coronated Ancient Eight champions are prepared to put the past weekend’s Martinelli’s-filled celebration to the side as the team looks towards this weekend, as well as playoffs down the road.

“After winning the Ivy league championships, our team is even more motivated and determined to stay on task and keep playing our best,” O’Neill added. “I think winning the Ivy title was just one of our goals … and it gave us a small taste of success, but we are certainly not satisfied with it, so we will have to work even harder to be able to succeed and accomplish more of our goals this season.”

Action gets underway from Lynah at 6 p.m. on Friday as the women look to end the season with the best record since 2014.

“The games [this weekend] are going to be intense, fast and one play can make the game go either way,” Lewis said. “It will be important to come in strong and keep our momentum going as we head into playoffs. I’m excited for a great weekend of hockey as we face the top two teams in our league.”