After putting on a show for the Lynah crowd and blanking both Union and RPI last weekend, No. 6/6 women’s hockey will hit the road this weekend to take on Clarkson and St. Lawrence in a pair of critical ECAC matchups.
The Red (16-2-5, 13-2-1 ECAC) currently sits atop the league standings at 27 points, but No. 4/4 Golden Knights (22-5-1, 13-3-0 ECAC) are clipping at their heels with 26 points. The Saints (13-12-3, 8-6-2 ECAC) are in fifth with 18 points.
With the ECAC tournament looming large in three weeks and the opportunity for the Red to host at stake, this weekend provides a key opportunity to pick up points.
Cornell has plenty of momentum heading into the matches: It won its last eight games straight and averaged a whopping 4.5 goals per game. Half of those last eight matches have also been shutouts. The Red also upended both Clarkson and St. Lawrence in early December.
“[I’m] super excited to see what this team can do in the tail end of the season,” said junior forward co-captain and ECAC player of the week Kristin O’Neill. “We’re trying to stay in the moment and not look too far ahead, but playoff hockey is around the corner and I couldn’t be more confident in our group.”
Riding an eight-game winning streak of its own, however, reigning national champion Clarkson still proves to be a formidable opponent. The Red will look to tarnish the Golden Knights’ unblemished home record by focusing on its own defense and special teams to shut down Clarkson’s prolific offense, which has matched the Red in averaging 4.5 goals per game.
“Clarkson will definitely be a good test of where we’re at, especially playing on the road at Cheel Arena,” said senior forward Lenka Serdar. “We know that Clarkson and St. Lawrence are talented offensively and we must be disciplined in our team defense to have success.”
The Red will trek from Potsdam to Canton to take on the Saints on Saturday. The significance of these two league games is not lost on Cornell’s skaters, whose eyes are trained on the standings.
“We obviously know how important these two games are for us,” O’Neill said. “So I think keeping in mind that the outcome of the games could potentially allow us to remain at the top of the ECAC is super important.”
Gametime is at 6 p.m. on Friday at Cheel Arena against Clarkson and at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Appleton Arena against St. Lawrence.