While most of the University enjoyed the long winter break, Cornell women’s hockey was hard at work. The team faced and defeated many of its rivals over break, solidifying the squad as one of the top teams in the nation.
On Jan. 4 and 5, No. 4 Cornell (16-1-2, 10-0-2 ECAC) hosted Mercyhurst University (11-6-2, 5-1 CHA) in two consecutive games. In the first matchup, the first period ended in a 1-1 deadlock. The Red outmatched its opponent for the remainder of the contest and won the game, 6-2.
Senior forward Kristin O’Neill led the way for the team, netting two scores. Goals were also scored by junior Maddie Mills, senior Grace Graham, senior Paige Lewis and freshman Sydney Breza. Senior captain Micah Zandee-Hart additionally stuffed the stat sheet with four assists.
A day later, the Red hit the ice again. This time around, Cornell had to fight throughout the entire game while Mercyhurst put up a strong fight. Senior Amy Curlew scored the lone goal for the team and the game was similarly tied 1-1 after regulation.
Just under two minutes into the extra frame, O’Neill stole the puck from a Laker defender in the neutral zone and sent it forward to Mills. She faked a high shot, and then slid the puck under the goaltender’s leg to secure a 2-1 victory.
In the following weekend, the team headed out for the first road trip of 2020, when on Jan. 10, Cornell first took on ECAC rival Union College (2-15-5, 2-5-3 ECAC). Despite its significantly lower ranking, the Dutchmen battled the entire game, and were able to constantly keep the pressure on junior goalie Lindsey Browning. She did not break through, recording 33 saves. O’Neill provided the lone goal as Cornell tied Union, 1-1.
The team then made a quick trip to Troy, New York to take on RPI (0-22-1, 0-12 ECAC) on Jan. 11. The Red’s offense was clicking, amassing a total of 44 shots. Only two found the back of the net from the sticks of Zandee-Hart and senior Jaime Bourbonnais. The Red’s defense shut out its winless foe for the victory.
The road trip was followed by another homestand for Cornell, this time against a pair of Ivy League teams. On Jan. 17, the Red took on Dartmouth (5-10-3, 2-7-3 ECAC) in the first game, which proved to be too much for the Green. Mills and sophomore Gillis Frechette had two goals, while junior Willow Slobodzian had one. It was a quiet night in front of the net for Browning, who only faced eight shots. By the end of the game, the Red had powered past Dartmouth, 5-1.
Cornell hosted No. 9 Harvard (10-7-1, 9-3-1 ECAC) on Jan. 18 in a game that many circled on the calendar. At the time, the Crimson sat second behind Cornell in the ECAC standings. In what many expected to be a close contest, Cornell dominated during the entire game, notching a 7-0 triumph. Graham, Frechette and freshman Izzy Daniel each had two scores while Bourbonnais put in one. It was a statement win for the Red, which is currently riding an unbeaten streak that dates back to November.
Frechette was named the ECAC Hockey Player of the Week for her contributions against Dartmouth and Harvard. Out of the 12 goals scored, she contributed to five of them by notching four goals and one assist. This is the second time this season the sophomore has earned the honor and she joins Browning as one of the only Cornellians to earn the recognition twice this season.
With just ten regular season games left, the Red hopes to close out the season strong while keeping its eyes on the post-season and a national championship run. The team will host Colgate next in a weekend series on Jan. 24 and 25.