As part of its eight-game road trip, No. 7 Cornell women’s hockey ventures out of the ECAC to play a couple of games against Mercyhurst University this weekend. The Red will try to bounce back against the Lakers after suffering its first loss of the season last weekend.
Game one is at 6 p.m. Saturday and game two is at 1 p.m. Sunday. Both games are at Mercyhurst Ice Center in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Historically, Mercyhurst holds an advantage over Cornell with a 16-9-3 all time record against the Red. Cornell has fared better in recent history, winning three of the teams’ last four matchups. In their last matchup, in 2016, the Red beat the Lakers 2-1 to finish a two-game weekend sweep at Lynah.
Cornell last time out:
The Red split its pair of conference games last weekend, bringing its record to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the ECAC. On Friday, Cornell came back from a two-goal deficit to beat Yale 4-3. Junior forward and captain Kristin O’Neill scored twice to help keep the Bulldogs winless. The next day, the Red suffered its first loss of the season, 4-3, to Brown. The Bears used three goals in the second period to down the Red. Junior Grace Graham had a goal and two assists for the Red.
Mercyhurst last time out:
Mercyhurst traveled to Missouri last weekend, splitting its two games with Lindenwood University. The Lakers lost to the Lions 4-1 in the opener, but finished the weekend strong with a 5-0 win.
Like the game against Brown, the Red will be without some prominent faces this weekend. Three juniors — O’Neill, Micah Zandee-Hart and Jaime Bourbonnais — will be out of the lineup for the Red, as they will be competing for the Canadian National Team in the 4 Nations Cup. Cornell will also be missing head coach Doug Derraugh ’91, who is an assistant coach on the national team.
Scouting the Lakers:
Mercyhurst sports a .500 record, but that may be slightly misleading. Four of those losses came to Wisconsin and Nebraska, who are currently ranked first and second in the nation, respectively. Mercyhurst has a more impressive 6-2 conference record, good enough for first place in the CHA.
The Lakers have a balanced attack, as seven different players have tallied five or more points this season. They like to share the puck, as well, leading the CHA with 3.92 assists per game. One standout so far for the Lakers has been Emma Nuutinen, who ranks third in the CHA in both total points (11) and points per game (1.10).
Cornell beats Mercyhurst if:
… it capitalizes on special teams. Mercyhurst averages 10.5 penalty minutes per game and Cornell opponents average 11.7 minutes in the box, so there will likely be power play opportunities for the Red.
However, the Red have to also be disciplined itself. Mercyhurst is able to draw penalties, as their opponents average 11.7 penalty minutes per game. Cornell can’t take advantage of Laker penalties if its skaters are also in the sin bin.
What they’re saying in Ithaca:
Assistant coach Edith Racine on Mercyhurst: “Mercyhurst has a solid team every year. They present a good out-of-conference challenge for us. We are excited about the matchup and looking forward to it.”
Senior Diana Buckley on the Red’s loss to Brown: “We had a bit of a slow start to the game this weekend. If we want to be a championship team we are going to have to be more consistent — bringing energy in all three periods.”
Racine on playing shorthanded this weekend: “Obviously we miss them as they are a part of our team. We would miss any members of our team that are out, but this is a great opportunity for us to come together as a group.”
What they’re saying in Erie:
Head Coach Michael Sisti on coaching at Mercyhurst: “As we embark on our 20th women’s season, it has been a very rewarding experience. I hope [the current players] are proud to be part of a program with a successful tradition and realize they presently are carrying the torch for us and are a key part of molding our future.”
Mercyhurst head coach Michael Sisti currently has the third-most wins in women’s college hockey history with 468.
Fun facts about the Lakers:
Mercyhurst is the alma mater of famous boxer James “Buster” Douglas.