In front of boisterous home crowds, Cornell women’s hockey dropped a tough 4-3 contest against the Clarkson Golden Knights in overtime on Friday, but rallied back to handily defeat the St. Lawrence Saints 4-1 on Saturday.
The Red (13-7-2, 10-5-1 ECAC) faced a daunting opponent in the Golden Knights (22-3-1, 13-2-0) in its first match, but was able to remain unfazed by the challenge. The squad managed to stay even with Clarkson for much of the game, ending regulation tied at 3-3.
However, Clarkson’s Loren Gabel was able to take advantage of an early error by the Red just 22 seconds into the overtime period period to seal the win for the Golden Knights.
“Going into overtime we knew we would have to have good puck management and play within our system,” said junior forward Pippy Gerace. “Clarkson has many dangerous offensive players and they were able to capitalize early off of one of our mistakes.”
Highlights from the game include goals from freshman forwards Maddie Mills and Willow Slobodzian, two assists from senior defender Sarah Knee, and a goal and an assist from sophomore forward Kristin O’Neill.
On the defensive end, junior goalkeeper Marlene Boissonnault recorded 21 saves for Cornell.
The loss to the Golden Knights knocked the Red out of contention for the ECAC regular season championship and heightened the importance of the match against St. Lawrence (14-9-3,10-5-1).
“[The game against the Saints] was a super important game for us because St. Lawrence is most likely one of the teams that will be battling with us for a spot in the NCAA tournament,” Mills said.
Nevertheless, with the pressure on, Cornell rose to the occasion to secure a dominant 4-1 decision over the Saints.
“The St. Lawrence game was our most complete game so far,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ‘91. “We remained consistent throughout and our special teams were good once again.”
The Red’s defense came up huge in the crease again, highlighted by Boissonnault, who recorded 15 saves in the contest.
Other highlights from the game include a goal from sophomore forward Amy Curlew, two goals and an assist from Mills, and a goal and an assist from O’Neill.
O’Neill’s goal during Saturday’s contest extends her scoring streak to seven games.
“We played a very consistent, high energy game for a full 60 minutes,” Gerace said. “That is something that we have been striving for since the beginning of the season. In order to have success against top 10 teams we are going to have to play the right way for the whole game. We also were very defensively sound against them and limited their scoring opportunities.”
With the split against Clarkson and St. Lawrence, Cornell has now completed a six game home stand spanning two weeks. The Red will hit the road this weekend to take on Ancient Eight rivals Harvard and Dartmouth.
“It has been a while since we have been on the road so we need to prove to ourselves that we can compete as hard on the road as we do at home,” Derraugh said. “We have now seen all the teams in our league so our focus can turn to our team and what we need to do to get better each week. We now have to battle for a playoff position overall, and for home ice in the first round.”
The puck drops against Harvard in Cambridge at 6 p.m. on Friday and against Dartmouth in Hanover at 3 p.m. on Saturday.