The Red (4-5-1, 3-4-1) rebounded from a loss against No. 6 Quinnipiac (13-1-2, 7-1-0), 4-0, to shut out No. 10 Princeton (5-2-1, 5-2-1), 2-0, at Lynah Rink last weekend.
Although the Red struggled to maintain its competitive energy heading into the second and third periods against Quinnipiac, it held its ground for the entire Princeton matchup, even holding off the Tigers offense during multiple power plays. Cornell’s match against the Tigers also marked graduate goaltender Lindsay Browning’s 16th career shutout.
“Now, playing for 60 minutes and going hard every shift, that’s a lot of positive,” said Assistant Head Coach Edith Racine after the Princeton matchup on Saturday. “It was learning from yesterday and going one shift at a time and playing for each other.”
On its first night back in Lynah Rink, the Red faced the Quinnipiac Bobcats. During the first period, both teams had high quality scoring opportunities, but neither side found the back of the net.
The Bobcats sank their first goal on a breakaway early in the second period. Even as the Red scrambled to retaliate, the Bobcats forced the second goal during a scramble in front of Cornell’s net. A third frustrating goal in the last three seconds of the second period dampened the Red’s morale.
The Red had several strong chances in the third period, but the Bobcats contained the Red in its half. A final fourth goal on a powerplay sealed the Red’s fate, and the match ended, 4-0.
“We had a pretty good first period, so we gotta get some positive out of that,” Racine said. “We’re young, and we’re still working on the little details here and there, and we need to be able to play for 60 minutes.”
The following afternoon, the Red returned to Lynah to face the Tigers. Never one to wallow, the Red battered the slow-starting Tigers from the puck drop, when junior forward Gillis Frechette punished Princeton with a flick past the goaltender in the first 30 seconds.
“Gillis had a really nice play on that,” said sophomore forward Lily Delianedis. “We were working on that a lot in practice this week, so it was just from all of the work we’ve been doing. It was a nice first shift.”
The Tigers tried to claw back a tying goal, but the Red intercepted their passes and kept the Tigers shooting close to the net. Getting desperate, the Tigers got caught hooking Cornell skaters multiple times.
On one of the Red’s power plays, with 58 seconds left in the first, senior forward Samantha Burke forced the puck into the net during a scuffle in front of the Tiger goal, putting the Red up 2-0 at the end of the period.
“We came out hard, and then the rest of the lines kept rolling after that,” Delianedis said. “Yesterday, we did a good job in the first period. We did that as well today and then kept it going for the Princeton game.”
Entering the second period, both teams got testy. The Red continued to challenge the Tigers, but Princeton had also been spurred into action. The Tigers tested the Red’s defense, most notably when the Red was handed its first penalty halfway through the period and its second penalty a minute later.
For three minutes, the Red penalty kill held the defense, blocking shot after shot from the Tigers.
“The whole group was working together, staying together and working together as a team,” Racine said.
With less than two minutes on the clock, the Red made a passing error while changing lines, leaving a Tiger to face Browning 1-on-1. Browning blocked the shot, but the game was paused seconds later to review the play. The refs returned to deliver Browning a major slashing penalty, landing the Red a five-minute sentence.
The Tigers failed to net a single goal for the entire power play. From the end of the second and into the third period, the Red held the Tigers at bay.
“I’d like to say our penalty kill is a penalty kill that I’ve trusted almost more than any other system on our team,” Browning said. “We’re always good, and we can trust our defense and forward out there to do their jobs. It seemed like chaos, but it was controlled chaos out there.”
In the last few minutes of the match, the Tigers emptied their net in a last-ditch attempt to score, but the Red kept them out — holding on to win, 2-0.
“It felt amazing. I’ve never felt anything like it,” Delianedis said. “Everyone was really working hard out there, winning their battles. We had a couple of 5-on-3s, and our penalty kill did an amazing job just keeping the puck out, and we kept it rolling. It was the best energy I’ve felt all season.”
The match also marked Browning’s 16th career shutout with the Red.
“The adrenaline is rushing,” Browning said. “That was a really fun game to play, and it felt like Big Red Hockey was back, so it felt like we were back home again. Absolutely thrilling.”
After Thanksgiving break, the Red will play Northeastern (12-2-1, 11-2-1) on the road in Boston, Massachusetts on Dec. 4 and 5.