In a dominant display of superior skill and tenacity, the Cornell women’s hockey team bested both Quinnipiac and Princeton this past weekend to complete its first weekend sweep of the two squads since the 2012-13 season.
The Red (3-1-0, 3-1-0 ECAC) kickstarted its weekend with a 5-2 defeat of the Bobcats (5-5-0, 1-2-0) Friday evening to give Lynah a welcome sight in the home opener.
After a scoreless first period, Cornell got off to a roaring start in the second, as sophomore forward Kristin O’Neill scored two goals within three minutes of each other. Fellow classmate forward Grace Graham also found the back of the net 11:59 into the second to extend the Red’s lead to 3-0.
“In the first intermission, we re-energized and came together as a team,” O’Neill said. “And then when we stepped back onto the ice for the second period we came together and started shooting more and finally pucks went in.”
Although the Bobcats managed to get on the scoreboard 13:51 into the second period, Cornell senior defenseman Sarah Knee’s two goals in the third period sealed the victory for the Red.
“I don’t think we started very well,” head coach Doug Derraugh ’91 said about his team’s effort in the early onset of the game. “Maybe overly excited about our first game at Lynah Rink. … It took us half the game for us to find our game, but we did, and we stuck with it. For a young team, that’s a good sign going forward.”
Other highlights from the game include junior goalie Marlene Boissonnault’s 29 saves, many of which came at crucial times to maintain her team’s lead.
“When things weren’t going well, Marlene kept us in it,” Derraugh said. “She made some huge saves for us.”
The Red then continued its victorious home-opening weekend on Saturday afternoon as it handed the Tigers (1-3-2, 1-2-0) a 3-1 loss.
“Tonight was our most complete game that we’ve played so far this year,” Derraugh said. “We played our game for 60 minutes. … It was a close game but I felt like we played the right way.”
Both teams were slow to get on the scoreboard, with the first period ending scoreless for the second night in a row. But freshman forward Maddy Mills was able to break through and capitalize during a power play toward the end of the second period off an assist from sophomore forward Jamie Bourbonnais.
The Ancient Eight rivals countered with goal of their own soon after, but two more goals from junior forward Pippy Gerace and sophomore forward Amy Curlew would put the game out of reach for the Tigers.
Boissonnault came up big for the Red again in the crease, tallying 19 saves.
It was a welcome sight for Cornell to come out with a good effort on the second day of the weekend, especially after last Saturday’s 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Clarkson.
“We wanted to focus on getting a better start in [Saturday’s] game and playing more consistent in our second game of the weekend,” Derraugh said.
“Playing aggressive and being resilient really helped us during both games, especially when things didn’t work our way,” Knee added.
Although the team walked off the ice with wins this weekend, it is always trying to refine its game, especially with Wisconsin, last year’s NCAA runner-up, sitting next on the docket.
“Starting games as strong as we finish them is something we are looking to improve moving forward,” Knee said.
The Red will be back in action this weekend as it hosts the undefeated No.1 Wisconsin (13-0-0, 7-0-0) in a two-game series on Friday and Saturday at 3 p.m.
Despite Wisconsin’s unblemished season thus far, it will be business as usual for the Red as it will learn from past experiences and stick to fundamentals to try to end the Badger’s streak.
“It will help if we can minimize their scoring opportunities and avoid taking penalties,” Knee said. “A key takeaway from this weekend was our ability to play consistently no matter the circumstances. If we were killing a penalty, or had a poor shift in our end, everyone continued to push past those setbacks instead of being defeated.”