Women’s Hockey played two of the best matches Lynah Rink has seen all season over the past weekend. However, despite a triumph over Colgate, 3-2, the Red lost a tight battle to Harvard in the last period of the game, 6-3.
The team’s defeat against ECAC No. 2 Harvard (18-6, 13-4) and victory against No. 6 Colgate (21-7-1, 11-5-1) leaves the Red (10-11-2, 8-7-1) still 3.5 points behind the Raiders. Though the team has looked competitive recently, Cornell will need to play at peak performance in the upcoming weekends to qualify for the ECAC and NCAA playoffs.
After a loss to Harvard on Saturday, the Red returned to the ice the following afternoon to take on Colgate, who sits one spot above Cornell in the ECAC rankings. Beginning at the opening face-off, the Red easily matched the Raiders’ energy, trading attempts throughout the first period. Nearly 15 minutes into the game, Colgate managed to sneak a shot past graduate student goaltender Lindsay Browning, taking a 1-0 lead.
However, the Red was quick to respond. With 15 seconds left in the period, sophomore forward Gabbie Rud returned with a goal to tie the game, coming off a long pass across the offensive zone by junior forward Gillis Frechette.
During the second period, the Red maintained a similar focus, demonstrating some of its scrappiest playing so far this season. Toward the end of the frame, Frechette scored the Red’s second goal, giving Cornell a 2-1 lead entering the third.
Shortly into the final period, freshman defender Rory Guilday followed up on a shot off the post by sophomore forward Lily Delianedis to score what ultimately ended up being the winning goal.
With nearly four minutes left in the game, the Raiders managed to sink a shot in the back of the net once more, shrinking the Red’s lead to 3-2. In a last minute attempt to tie it up, Colgate pulled its goaltender to have an extra forward on the ice. Nevertheless, Cornell maintained its dedication to defense and warded off all attempts to penetrate its perimeter, ending the game with the win.
“We moved the puck, and we battled,” said Associate Head Coach Edith Racine. “We played hard for 60 minutes and played well as a team.”
Frechette largely attributed the day’s success to the team’s ability to prioritize its defense.
“We always go into games thinking defense is first,” Frechette said. “We play our systems in the D-zones, and we’re going to get our chances offensively.”
This week alone, Frechette scored nine points in just three games. For her efforts, she was named ECAC Driscoll Skills and Skating Player of the Week.
Following this weekend’s games, Guilday stressed the importance of teamwork in the face of adversity.
“Everyone was supporting each other,” Guilday said. “We were cheering each other on, and no one gave up. That’s why we won today.”
The team plans to take the rest of the season one match at a time. However, the Red has its sights set on earning a spot in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals.
“We treat every game like a playoff game right now,” Frechette said. “Playing against these good teams is at the forefront of our minds. It’s the way we need to continue to play for the rest of the season.”
This win over Colgate came after a hard-fought loss against Harvard the previous afternoon at Lynah. Harvard, currently No. 2 in the ECAC, played the first period as though expecting to win, allowing the Red to find openings in its defense, setting up shots that were unable to find the back of the net. Though it lagged in shots on goal, Harvard found its first score after a defensive slip.
Cornell responded with vigor, stopping the Crimson from taking control of the game. 12 seconds into a power play, sophomore forward Kaitlyn Jockims tied the match.
The Red’s offense suffered a blow during the second period when a slew of penalties kept the team shorthanded. Harvard pounced on these opportunities, scoring two power play goals in six minutes. The Red managed another goal by Guilday before the end of the period, but it couldn’t convert a power play before the buzzer. Cornell went into the second intermission down, 3-2.
Heading into the final period, the Red was only down by one goal. Thanks to a sneaky backpass from junior forward Izzy Daniel, Delianedis tied the match, 3-3, with just over 17 minutes left in regulation.
The Red’s position crumbled quickly after that. An unlucky rebound put the Crimson up, 4-3, and a power play gave Harvard a second goal. During a Cornell power play, the Red attempted to find an offensive spark by playing with an empty net, challenging Harvard with a six-on-three scenario. However, Crimson senior defense Emma Buckles got a shot from behind its blue line that skidded into the Red’s net. With Cornell unable to find any response in the third, Harvard won the match, 6-3.
Following the high-stress weekend, the Red took on Penn State (15-9-4) on Tuesday at Lynah Rink. Since it was a non-conference game, Cornell took the opportunity to play more of its third line, as well as playing sophomore goaltender Deanna Fraser in the first period and freshman goaltender Brynn Dulac in the final two periods. Although the team competed throughout the contest, the Nittany Lions got the best of the younger team, defeating the Red with a shutout victory, 5-0.
The Red will face Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (9-18, 5-12) at 6 p.m. on Friday and Union College (4-25-1, 1-17) at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Lynah Rink for the last home weekend of the season.