Fresh off winning an Ivy League title, No. 5 Cornell women’s hockey heads to Union and Rensselaer this weekend, hoping to put an exclamation point on an already successful regular season.
The Red (17-7-3, 13-5-2 ECAC) has already secured a spot in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament, as well as home ice advantage, but this weekend will be critical in determining final seedings and Cornell’s first round opponent.
The Red will square off against Union (7-20-5, 5-13-2) on Friday evening in Schenectady, N.Y., and RPI (9-17-6, 6-11-3) Saturday in Troy, N.Y.
The last time the Red faced the Dutchwomen, the Red settled for a 3-3 tie after surrendering an extra-attacker goal in the final two minutes.
The Dutchwomen are coming off a loss at Harvard and a tie against Dartmouth last weekend, but are 13th-best in the country on the power play, having scored 19 times in 103 opportunities.
The Red has only lost to Union once in the 15 years that the schools have faced each other.
Cornell defeated RPI, 1-0, at home earlier this season and will look for a season sweep Saturday on the road.
So far the Red is an impressive 10-3-2 at home, but a more modest 7-4-1 on the road — a record that the team hopes to improve after this weekend.
“We need to learn to play as well on the road as we have at home,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “We also want to be at the top of our game heading into the playoffs so we want to keep improving in all areas of our game.”
After sweeping Yale and Brown last weekend and winning the Ivy League title, the Red hopes its success will carry over into this weekend and into the playoffs.
“We did a great job generating offense and capitalizing on chances around their net [last weekend],” said junior forward Diana Buckley. “We need to fine-tune some of the smaller aspects of the game in order to achieve our ultimate goal.”
Cornell is also looking to tighten up its defense and hone in on the finer aspects of its game in order to be in peak form going into the playoffs.
“This week we focused on a lot of defensive drills to tune up our D-zone because that is something that is very important heading into the playoffs,” said junior forward Pippy Gerace. “We hope to be strong defensively against Union and RPI because that will carry over into our first playoff games.”
The puck drops against Union at 6 p.m. Friday and against RPI at 3 p.m. Saturday.