Traveling on the road, No. 7 Cornell women’s hockey was able to complete a successful weekend sweep against No. 10 Providence, handing the Friars a 2-1 loss on Saturday and a 4-2 defeat on Sunday.
So far this season, the Red (7-3-1, 5-1 ECAC) has had an impressive away record of 5-1, and this weekend’s contests were no exception to Cornell’s prowess away from Lynah.
The victory on Saturday was monumental as it was the first time the Red had defeated Providence (9-5-3, 6-1-1) on their home ice in 20 years.
The Red outshot the Friars 40-23, with goals provided by freshman forward Maddie Mills and sophomore forward Kristin O’Neill. Junior goalkeeper Marlene Boissonnault helped secure the victory for Cornell with 22 saves.
“We did a great job executing our systems and playing with speed,” said junior forward Diana Buckley. “We generated a lot of opportunities and scoring chances in the offensive zone by putting pressure on Providence’s defensemen.”
Cornell was relentless again on Sunday as Buckley was able to light the lamp a little over 2 minutes into the game off of an assist from junior forward Pippy Gerace. Providence retaliated soon after to tie up the game 1-1; however, a goal from O’Neill halfway into the first period left the Friars trailing the Red going into the second period.
Undeterred, Providence found the back of the net in the second period to even out the score once again. But, two more goals for Cornell by Mills and O’Neill proved too much for the Friars to overcome. Boissonnault came up huge for her team in crease once again, recording 23 saves on the day.
“What really worked for us this weekend was coming at them aggressively and with speed,” Mills said. “We were playing our best when we were winning the small battles and working the puck in the offensive zone.”
A young squad, Cornell has managed to establish itself as one of the top powerhouses in the nation. Two of the Red’s three losses came at the hands of the current No. 1 ranked team Wisconsin and the third from the reigning national champion Clarkson.
At the forefront of the action has been Mills. The freshman has managed to record at least one point for the Red in all but two games this season — scoring eight of the team’s 28 goals thus far in 2017-18.
“Maddie is a very dynamic player, and she has stepped up and filled a large role as a freshman,” Gerace said. “She has scored some big goals for us this season. She’s an incredibly hard working player who is always wanting to better herself for the benefit of the team.”
The team is currently sitting atop the conference rankings alongside Colgate, but head coach Doug Derraugh ’91 is always looking for his squad to improve.
“We played well overall as a team this weekend,” he said. “We played smart and competed hard. [But] our special teams will need to be better as we did not score on the power play and gave up a shorthanded goal. Overall, we are pleased with the progress of our young team, but we know we have a long way to go.”
“I think there was a lull in both games where we started to take our foot off the gas, and Providence strung together a few shifts taking advantage of our lack of energy,” Gerace added. “It’ll be important to play a full 60 minutes against Colgate.”
Cornell will be back in action this weekend at Lynah, as it welcomes conference co-leader Colgate (14-2-0, 5-1-0) to kick off the home and home series.
“Colgate is a big strong team that is playing great right now,” Derraugh said. “It will be a real challenge for us. We will need to be at our best at both ends of the ice.”
Puck drop will be at 6 p.m. on Friday at home and 3 p.m. on Saturday at Colgate.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Providence’s ranking is 17. In fact, the team is ranked No. 10.