This weekend’s celebration of the seniors on Cornell women’s hockey was only made sweeter with a pair of convincing wins against Ivy League foes Brown and Yale.
Back on their home ice on Friday, the Red (18-3-6, 15-3-2 ECAC) clinched a 4-1 victory against the Bears, (5-19-2, 2-15-2) who had been the first team to beat the Red earlier in the season. The following day, the team sealed a 4-0 shutout against the Bulldogs (7-18-2, 6-12-2). This weekend marked the Red’s final regular season home games.
But Cornell’s soon-to-be graduates will have another chance to play big-time games on their home ice. With only two games remaining in the regular season (Cornell visits Rensselaer and Union next weekend), Cornell has clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the ECAC playoffs, a best-of-three series that will take place the weekend of March 1. After this weekend, the Red maintains an impressive 11-1-0 home record.
In the contest against the Bears, freshman forward Gillis Frechette notched her first career goal to open the scoring. After she passed the puck behind the boards to connect with sophomore forward Maddie Mills and junior defender Micah Zandee-Hart, Frechette found open space on the right side of the offensive zone. Zandee-Hart skillfully placed the passed the puck back to Frechette, who buried the puck into the goal.
“We knew that we had a tough game at Brown earlier this season and we wanted to make sure we would get off to a good start, especially at Lynah Rink,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “I’m sure they had confidence going into the game after beating us earlier this season, so we just wanted to play our game right from the beginning and get the first goal.”
Although shots from the Red were plentiful, scoring was paused until the middle of the second period when Brown gained a quick offensive advantage. Freshman forward Shay Maloney skated past Red defenders straight to the goal, and fired a shot into the back of the net to even the score.
Just two minutes later, however, the Red took advantage of a power play and regained the lead. Mills, on the left side of the offensive zone, received a pass from Zandee-Hart from the top of the zone. Mills blasted a shot top shelf past goaltender Calla Isaac. This time, the one-goal lead didn’t vanish.
Junior defender Jaime Bourbonnais channeled the offensive momentum, securing another goal less than two minutes later. The Red went up 3-1 when Bourbonnais gained control of a rebounded shot by junior forward Amy Curlew and redirected it past the Bears’ goaltender.
A goal off of a third period power play capped off the scoring for the night. Mills located the puck following a denied one timer taken by Zandee-Hart. Mills swiftly placed the puck into the net after the chaos following the previous shot.
The Red’s offensive domination was evident in the shot on goal discrepancies — Cornell had 49 shots compared the Bears’ measly 10. Furthermore, the Red went 2-for-5 on the power play. Cornell’s penalty kill unit had an impressive performance, holding the Bears scoreless in four power play opportunities.
The Red carried Friday’s domination into its senior day game against Yale, a particularly emotional game.
“Our seniors have been great ambassadors of our program and have done great things both on and off of the ice,” Derraugh said. “We are certainly going to miss them and they all bring something different to our team. They really complement each other.”
Halfway into the first period, junior forward Grace Graham put the Red on the scoreboard. From the back boards, senior forward Diana Buckley sent a pass to Graham and Curlew, who were planted in front of the net. Curlew controlled the puck before handing it off to Graham to secure the first tally of the game.
Junior forward Kristin O’Neill added an insurance goal in the second period, with help from Burke. As Burke controlled the puck, O’Neill strategically placed herself between Yale defenders. Burke passed the puck to O’Neil’s stick, who had just enough space to fire a shot into the back of the net.
With less than nine minutes left in the third period, O’Neill took advantage of another scoring opportunity. When Mills entered the offensive zone with control of the puck, she lured the Yale defender toward her, which created space for O’Neill to receive the quick pass. With a fake to the left, the co-captain and leading scorer backhanded a shot past the Bulldog goaltender.
Although this was the last regular season home game for the Red, there will be more action on Lynah as Cornell has the home-ice advantage for the ECAC tournament quarterfinals.
“Lynah’s atmosphere is hard to beat,” Curlew said. “Having the support of the fans really makes a difference, especially when the games get close.”
The Red travels to Rensselaer and Union next weekend. The games will take place at 6 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday.