Cornell women’s hockey will open up postseason play with a three-game series against Colgate at home this weekend. In two games against Colgate earlier this year, the two teams have split the series, with both games decided by a single goal.
Given a recent slate of close games, the team feels ready to compete in high-pressure situations and is expecting the same tight level of competition heading into this weekend.
“I think the last couple weekends have been postseason-like,” said senior goaltender Paula Voorheis. “We’ve had a lot of close games this season.”
Throughout the year, Cornell has relied on several freshman to play big roles for the team, including freshman forward Kristin O’Neill, who led the team with 12 goals in the regular season. Freshman blueliner Jaime Bourbonnais has added five goals and 10 assists, while also contributing valuable minutes as a stand-up defender.
But much of Cornell’s young talent has never experienced postseason collegiate hockey. Still, the Red has a lot of depth up and down its roster and the team does not completely rely on any player to carry the workload.
That, the team believes, can carry them far.
“The main thing this year is that we do have so much depth on this team,” said senior forward Kaitlin Doering. “As much as our freshman class is talented, so are our sophomore, junior and senior classes. Everybody knows their role on the team this year.”
Although the team has spent time planning for Colgate, the players remain focused on what they can control, and less about what the Raiders might throw at them. For both the men’s and women’s programs, this approach has been a year-long practice.
Factors like home ice, rivalries and opponent records have been of little concern for the Red, which prefers to approach every game in the same manner, regardless of the opponent.
“You never know what happens one weekend or another,” Doering said. “Any team can win in this league so it’s really tough to look at one score and see what happened there.”
That being said, Colgate will come to Lynah this weekend — a place where the Raiders have already lost this year — after losing back-to-back games to end the regular season. That is definitely not the type of momentum Colgate was looking for entering the playoffs.
Entering the playoffs, both Cornell and Colgate should be well rested. Colgate, which tends to play fast, will have fresh legs on Friday, which predicts a more offensive-focused battle.
“Colgate tends to bring the offense for sure,” Voorheis said. “It will be fun to play them during a weekend series and it will be interesting to see what the pace of game is like.”
Cornell should be well prepared for whatever Colgate brings this weekend as a balanced team with consistently-solid players on offense and defense.
Playoffs get underway this Friday at 3 p.m. from Lynah.