Even though women’s hockey managed to secure a miraculous comeback victory against Yale Friday evening, Saturday’s close loss against Brown tarnished Cornell’s otherwise unblemished record.
The Bulldogs (0-3-0, 0-3-0 ECAC) entered the game with fierce energy. In just the eighth minute of the contest, Yale’s Julia Yetman sealed the first goal of the game. Quickly regrouping, the Red (4-1-0, 3-1-0 ECAC) responded with a shot by junior forward Kristin O’Neill, which found the back of the net, but was waived off due to contact with the goalie.
After several minutes of deflected shots and intense competition from the Bulldogs and Red, Rebecca Foggia notched the first goal of the second period, extending Yale’s lead to 2-0. However, the Red retaliated, and skillfully meandered their way onto the scoreboard: when junior forward Amy Curlew’s shot deflected off the stick of Yale’s goalkeeper, sophomore forward Maddie Mills took advantage of the loose puck and notched her first goal of the season.
While the Red entered the third period at a one goal deficit, Cornell did not let this dampen their spirits.
“Going into a period down a goal can sometimes be a mental challenge,” said senior forward Diana Buckley. “However, in the Yale game we put our noses to the grindstone and stuck together as a team.”
O’Neill scored her first goal of the game within the first two minutes of the third period. From Cornell’s defensive zone, she drove the puck down the length of the ice, overcoming the defense of two Bulldog players to fire her 10th career shorthanded goal into the back of the net and even the score.
While Yale quickly regained the lead with a goal from Emma Vlasic — the Bulldogs’ efforts ultimately proved insufficient, as back-to-back goals from freshman forward Sam Burke and O’Neill secured the victory for the Red, 4-3.
“We played hard for the full 60 minutes and it was a great team win,” said assistant coach Edith Racine. “We stuck to our game plan and the girls focused on their shifts and staying in the moment so we got the outcome we wanted.”
Despite mounting an outstanding, come-from-behind win to start the weekend — the Red failed to keep up the momentum, faltering to the Bears in Providence, Rhode Island.
This disappointing loss, however, was not entirely without excuse: Cornell played without the help of O’Neill, junior defenseman Jaime Bourbonnais and junior defenseman Micah Zandee-Hart, who will be competing in the Four Nations Cup for the Canadian National Team starting Nov. 6.
“We certainly faced some adversity, missing a few players,” said senior forward Lenka Serdar. “But we must learn to execute our game plan no matter who is in the lineup.”
To start the game, Brown swiftly took offensive initiative, with Veronica Alois slipping a backhand shot between the Red’s goalposts. Towards the end of the first period, Cornell’s junior forward Grace Graham entered the Bear’s defensive zone and drew goaltender Calia Isaac to the right. Sophomore forward Maddie Mills then received a pass on the opposite side of the zone to notch the Red’s first goal of the game.
“We had a bit of a slow start in the game this weekend” Buckley said. “If we want to be a championship team we are going to have to be more consistent—bringing energy in all three periods.”
The end of the first period put the Red firmly in the lead after Graham scored her second goal of the season.
Even though Cornell entered the second period with a 2-1 lead, it quickly fell behind after the Bears scored three goals within six minutes of each other, the first by Sena Hansen and the next two by Abby Nearis.
In the last 20 seconds of the second period, freshman forward Sam Burke placed a backhander shot into the top of Brown’s net, reducing Bear’s margin to one goal.
But this proved to be too little, too late, as Cornell failed to score again, falling to the Ivy League rival 4-3. This was despite Cornell maintaining an advantage in shots (41-20), with 11 shots on goal coming from the third period alone.
Going into its next games, the Red will take this close loss as an opportunity to learn and grow as a team.
“The outcome was not what we wanted, but Brown played a great game. We just missed out on some opportunities,” Racine said. “But we are going to learn from it and work hard this week to get ready for next weekend.”
The Red will be back on the road to take on Mercyhurst Saturday at 6 p.m. and then Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be streamed live on ESPN+.