Entering the game against the Clarkson Golden Knights, Cornell women’s hockey had staved off all goals from past opponents for over 176 consecutive minutes. After just five minutes on the ice, however, Clarkson netted a goal, bringing that streak — and, eventually, the prospect of a ninth straight game won by the Red — to a devastating close.
With a quick game-opening goal from Clarkson’s Loren Gabel, the Red (16-3-6, 13-3-2 ECAC) began to run a score deficit. Clarkson’s (23-6-1,14-4-0 ECAC) first-period scoring trend only continued.
Clarkson, who is currently defending its second consecutive national title, eclipsed three more goals in the first stanza. Kristy Pidgeon buried the puck into the Red’s net with 13 minutes left in the period, and Kelly Mariana and T.T. Cianfarano channeled their team’s offensive momentum, adding the third and fourth goals of the game.
“Clarkson is very good defensively and they have very good goaltending, so you can’t afford to get behind a couple of goals,” Cornell head coach Doug Derraugh ’91 said. “We didn’t have a good start, and that is going to have to change if we want to be successful in the playoffs.”
Following the fourth goal, sophomore Lindsay Browning replaced senior Marlène Boissonnault as goaltender. She stopped all 10 shots that Clarkson sent her way.
In the second period, the Red had three power play chances, but struggled to convert these opportunities to goals due to Clarkson’s lethal penalty kill unit. Two power play opportunities for Cornell in the third period also proved to be fruitless.
In early December, the Red took a 3-1 victory over the Golden Knights in the comfort of their own Lynah Rink — away at Clarkson, the Red’s dominance dissipated.
“We managed the puck better when we played them at Lynah, and we were more disciplined early on,” Derraugh said. “At Clarkson this weekend, we tried to do too much at times and they forced some turnovers that ended up in the back of our net.”
With a quick turnaround, the Red traveled to Canton, New York to take on another ECAC competitor, the St. Lawrence Saints (13-12-5, 8-6-4 ECAC) in a game that ended in a 1-1 draw.
In the first four minutes of the contest, St. Lawrence secured a power play opportunity, which was skillfully shut down by Cornell’s penalty kill unit. For the entirety of the power play, goaltender Lindsay Browning did not have to block a single shot.
Neither team made it onto the scoreboard during the first period, as Browning, who got the nod to start in goal, saved 12 shots and the Red could only muster three shots on goal.
“Browning really stepped up for us this weekend,” head coach Doug Derraugh said. “It was great for a really young goaltender to step up in a tough environment in the middle of the game. She performed really well and is a big part of the reason we were able to get the tie against St. Lawrence.”
In the latter half of the second period, St. Lawrence gained the offensive advantage and scored the first tally of the night. During a power play, St. Lawrence forward Justine Reyes gained an opening and fired a slap shot towards Browning — the elusive puck managed to find its way into the back of the net, putting giving the Saints at a 1-0 advantage.
At the beginning of the third period, senior forward Lenka Serdar traveled with the puck to the offensive zone and junior defender Bourbonnais strategically skated to the right side of the net to receive a pass from Serdar. When the pass came, Bourbonnais blasted the shot past Grace Harrison, putting the score at 1-1.
The game transitioned to overtime, as the remaining third period scoring attempts were futile. To begin overtime, Cornell quickly took control of the puck, but none of its six shots found their way into the goal. Once the Saints icers gained possession, they failed to capitalize upon their one shot attempt.
This weekend’s results ensure a home-ice advantage for the Red in the quarterfinals of the ECAC tournament. As the regular season winds down, each game is vital for tournament standings.
“These games will have important implications as far as seedings for the playoffs go,” Derraugh said. “We need to build momentum going into the playoffs and we need to continue to get better with each game if we are going to be successful.”
Cornell will be back at Lynah Rink next weekend, where they have only surrendered one loss on the season. The Red will hit the ice against Brown at 6 p.m. on Friday and Yale at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Both games can be streamed on ESPN+.