Women’s hockey rang out its last matches of the season at Lynah to the tune of the Big Red Pep Band and happy tears, celebrating two wins and Senior Day.
The Red (12-12-2, 10-8-2) faced Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (9-21, 5-15) on Friday and Union College (4-27-1, 1-19-0) on Saturday and defeated them 4-2 and 5-3 respectively for a weekend sweep. Cornell later lost a tight match against Colgate (24-7-1, 14-5-1) on Tuesday night in Hamilton, 2-3. On Saturday, the team also honored its seniors, who played their last weekend at Lynah Rink.
The home weekend started against RPI. The Red dominated play but could not find the back of the net for nearly the entire first period. On a power play, freshman defenseman Rory Guilday finally put Cornell on the board with less than three minutes left in the period.
“I’m the most proud of seeing this team just keep going and going every day and getting better,” said Assistant Head Coach Edith Racine. “Especially coming out in the first period and just having the momentum, staying on the puck, just doing the little things that we ask them to do every day.”
RPI responded with a vengeance in the second period, taking several close shots right out of the gate. Cornell’s offense still posed a threat, but it wasn’t until the fifteenth minute before it found its second goal. Sophomore forward Lily Delianedis snuck a rebound behind the goalie, putting Cornell ahead 2-0. Refusing to relax there, sophomore forward Kaitlin Jockims buried a third puck in the last minute of the second period, increasing the lead to 3-0.
Even down three goals in the third period, the Engineers put up a fight. RPI netted two goals in the first six minutes, cutting into Cornell’s imposing lead. The rest of the match remained tight. Junior forward Gillis Frechette found sophomore defenseman Ashley Messier right in front of the RPI goal, and Messier knocked the puck into the net, extending the Red’s lead to 4-2.
“RPI is a good team, and in the third period they got their chances,” Racine said. “They made it pretty interesting.”
Both teams scuffled for a final goal, but RPI couldn’t overcome the Red defensemen, and Cornell hung on for a 4-2 victory.
“We got it done, so this is good preparation for what’s coming next,” Racine said.
The next day, Cornell laced up its skates to compete against the Union College Dutchwomen. The team started off with the familiar sound of the Cornell Pep Band and swarms of fans and family members welcoming them to the ice.
The match served as the Red’s Senior Day, with the team honoring their four seniors – forward Bella Kang, forward Samantha Burke, defense Taylor Petrowski and defense Athena Song – and graduate student goaltender Lindsay Browning.
With Senior Day in mind, the Red started off strong. Nearly halfway into the first period, Song skated her way past Union defenders to snap the puck into the back of the net, securing the first goal of the match.
Just two minutes later, Union retaliated with a goal of its own, tying the match 1-1. Cornell responded when Guilday sought out Frechette, feeding her the puck to secure the second Cornell goal.
With just 36 seconds left in the first, junior forward Izzy Daniel breached the Union perimeter once more during the period, scoring the Red’s third goal on a five-on-three power play. She was assisted by Frechette and Jockims. Cornell went into the first intermission with a 3-1 lead.
Dutchwomen returned in the second period with vengeance. Early in the second period, Union scored two tight goals, tying the game 3-3.
The Red managed to reciprocate later in the period, with Daniel sinking an unassisted goal to restore the lead.
During the third period, the Red maintained steady control of the game, putting up the majority of shots on goal. Nearly halfway through the period, Burke secured the Red’s fifth and final goal for the game after an assist by Song and Kang. The Red ended the game with a 5-3 win over the Dutchwomen, with two goals scored by Cornell seniors.
Fresh victory in hand, the team remained on the ice to conduct a ceremony which recognized the team’s departing members. The seniors were presented with flowers and accompanied by their families in appreciation of their time spent dedicated to the team.
On Tuesday, the Red traveled to Hamilton to face Colgate, a team Cornell had narrowly defeated 3-2 nine days prior. Freshman forward Leah MacSween scored her first career goal in the first period, but Colgate responded fast and sharp. With one goal in the first and two in the second period, the Red had to cover a lot of ground in the third period.
Jockims netted a second goal for the Red on a power play in the third period, but the team struggled to find the crucial equalizer for the rest of the final period. Colgate defeated the Red, 3-2.
The Red’s last matches of the regular season will be on the road against St. Lawrence (14-11-7, 10-6-4) on Friday at 6 p.m. and Clarkson (22-7-3, 13-6-1) on Saturday at 3 p.m.