Cornell women’s hockey will get no break from the polar vortex and its subzero temperatures this weekend as they take on both Union and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at home, two more games in a stretch of seven against New York opponents.
On Tuesday, the team made the short trip to Syracuse, where, after falling behind 2-0 early, the Red scored five unanswered goals to defeat the Orange 5-2.
The victory was the Red’s third in five days, as they defeated Colgate at home and on the road last weekend, both by a score of 4-2. Senior forward Lenka Serdar had three goals in the two wins.
And now the Red will try to keep the streak alive at home. Coach Doug Derraugh ’91 credited his team’s power play performance as an important factor in the three wins and hopes to carry momentum with more of the same.
“Our special teams were strong again [against Syracuse] and so was penalty killing,” Derraugh said. “We got another power play goal tonight so that was something that we continued from this weekend — we had good special teams this weekend, too.”
Since the Red’s 5-0 loss to Princeton on Jan. 11, the team has won each of its last six games. Cornell currently sits in second place in the ECAC standings, behind Princeton.
The Red now shifts focus back on ECAC play against both Union and RPI, two teams whose seasons have been drastically different.
Friday’s game is against a Union team that has not fared well this season. The Dutchwomen (3-21-2, 1-12-1 ECAC) lie in the cellar of the ECAC standings with only three points.
Cornell should be able to take advantage of a team who struggles on both ends of the ice. Among ECAC teams, Union scores the fewest goals per game (1.23) and gives up the second most goals per game (3.36).
Regardless of opponent record, Derraugh doesn’t want his team to come out flat.
“We have to be ready from the drop of the puck. We cannot dig ourselves into a hole against a team like Union and then expect to come back in the game,” Derraugh said. “We need to be more prepared, from the beginning of the game especially.”
On Saturday, the Red will face off against middle-of-the-pack RPI (11-10-5, 8-5-1 ECAC). After an abysmal start to the season, the Engineers are now just six points behind the Red thanks to a 5-1-1 record in the new year.
RPI will look to win through strong defense. While the Engineers only outrank last-place Union in goals per game (1.27) in the conference, they are tied with the Red in goals allowed per game (1.78) in the ECAC.
Leading the defensive charge for RPI is goaltender Lovisa Selander. The senior captain ranks fourth among ECAC goalies in average goals allowed (1.82) and first in save percentage (.949).
Friday’s game against Union will be at 6 p.m. and Saturday’s against RPI is at 3 p.m. Both games are at Lynah Rink and can also be streamed on the ESPN+ app (subscription required).
Looking ahead, the Red will head north for games at Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University next weekend. The team won’t leave the state for the rest of the season.