After sweeping Colgate in the ECAC quarterfinals, the Cornell women’s hockey team will travel to Clarkson’s Cheel Arena in Potsdam, N.Y. where it will take on St. Lawrence in the semifinals on Saturday.
In game one of the best-of-three quarterfinals last weekend against Colgate, the Red (19-7-5, 13-4-5 ECAC) was aided by a goal on a penalty shot by freshman forward Kristin O’Neill in the waning minutes of the contest, lifting Cornell to a 2-1 victory.
In the second game of quarterfinal series, freshman forward Amy Curlew’s second period goal proved to be the difference, as the Red defeated the Raiders 1-0 behind senior goaltender Paula Voorheis’ 29 saves. The game not only clinched a semifinal berth for the Red, but also marked Voorheis’ ninth career shutout.
“Both games against Colgate were extremely close, and we all know that every game that we will play for the rest of the season will be close,” said senior forward Hanna Bunton. “So knowing that we were able to come out on top on both of those occasions was really important for our confidence and was good preparation heading into the semifinals.”
In St. Lawrence’s quarterfinal bout with Yale, the Saints won both games handily, accumulating a goal differential of 8-1 in the series, which included a 4-0 win in the second game.
The Red will come into the matchup as the heavy underdogs, despite being ranked No. 7 in the country.
The Saints are led by forwards Brooke Webster and Kennedy Marchment who lead the team with 56 and 55 points, respectively. In addition to being a strong offensive team, sophomore goalie Grace Harrison has started 31 games this season and has saved 93 percent of the shots she has faced.
“They have the best offensive line in the country — they are solid on defense, and they also have one of the best goalies in the nation,” said Head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “They have all the components, and this game will definitely be a good challenge for us — but it is the playoffs, and we are certainly looking forward to the game.”
Cornell will have to rely offensively on the trio of Bunton, O’Neill and Kaitlin Doering, who lead the way in points for the Red.
“We didn’t score a lot of goals this past weekend against Colgate, and St. Lawrence also doesn’t allow many goals, so we have to find ways to get our offense going as well as our defense,” Derraugh said.
Goaltenders Marlene Boissonnault and Paula Voorheis have nearly split the playing time in net, so it is a tossup as to who Derraugh decides to start. Nevertheless, Voorheis started and won both games against Colgate in the quarterfinals, which could be an indication that she will likely be in goal come Saturday.
In their previous two meetings this season, St. Lawrence won on its home ice, 5-2, and when the squads met again in Ithaca, a closely contested battle ended in a 2-2 tie. In the second game, two unanswered goals in the third period by Cornell knotted the game at two apiece.
“I feel that there is nothing major that we need to change heading into this weekend,” said sophomore defenseman Micah Hart. “We had success the last time we played them, and we just need to focus on playing our game.”
The winner of the series between the Red and the Saints will face the winner of Clarkson and Princeton on Sunday at Cheel Arena.