Entering this past weekend, No. 14 women’s hockey was in dire need of a win. Despite having clinched a postseason berth, the Red (13-12-2, 10-9-1 ECAC) was in the midst of a four-game losing streak, all against ECAC competition. Sitting at the fifth seed, with Princeton just three points back in the standings, Cornell needed to right the ship. With pressure mounting, the team hosted two crucial games against Brown (8-18-1, 6-14-0 ECAC) on Friday, Feb. 10 and No. 1 Yale (24-2-1, 17-2-1 ECAC) on Saturday, Feb. 11.
The Red kicked off its final homestand of the regular season against the Bears. The two teams previously faced off in Providence on Saturday, Dec. 3, where Cornell won 4-2.
Playing with intensity from the start, Cornell was able to get out to a hot start in the first period. After a defensive battle highlighted the first 11 minutes of play, the Red was able to break through. Controlling the puck in Brown’s defensive end, senior defenseman Paige Kenyon put a pass in from the blue line, which was redirected into the back of the net by senior forward Gillis Frechette.
A minute and a half later, Cornell struck again. Once again putting the pressure on the Bears, senior defenseman Kaitlyn Issac put a shot on goal that was blocked in front of the net, leading to a scramble for control. In the ensuing scrum, it was freshman forward Georgia Schiff who was able to pop the puck up in the air, arcing it over the Brown goalie into the net.
The Red still was not finished in the first period. With just under two minutes remaining, freshman defenseman Alyssa Regalado found freshman forward Caroline Chan with space in front of the net. Chan went top shelf, beating the Brown goaltender glove side to put Cornell ahead, 3-0.
Following a scoreless second period, the Bears began to mount a comeback in the third. Just over halfway through the period, the Red was on a power play, controlling possession in Brown’s defensive end, when sophomore forward Kaitlin Jockims was tripped by a Brown defender.
No penalty was called, and the puck was recovered by Brown’s Jade Iginla. Iginla went coast to coast on her own, scoring a rare short-handed goal to get the Bears on the board.
Brown kept the pressure on the Red, drawing within one goal a few minutes later. The Bears’ Cameron Sikich took a quick wrist shot from the end of the blue line, and despite no deflections, it snuck past the glove of sophomore goaltender Brynn DuLac. With just over six minutes to play, Cornell’s lead was cut to 3-2.
Refusing to lose the lead, the Red clamped down on defense. The Bears pulled its goalie in the final minutes of the game, but it was not enough to find an equalizer. With just seconds remaining, Frechette notched her second goal of the contest on an empty-netter. Cornell came away with a key win, 4-2.
The Red had little time to enjoy its win against Brown before taking on the top-ranked Bulldogs on Saturday for its senior game. Cornell played Yale competitively earlier this season in New Haven, drawing a 4-4 tie. The team played with the same intensity in a back-and-forth contest on Saturday.
The Bulldogs struck first in the opening period, but the Red was quick to respond. Sophomore forward Lily Delianedis got a steal in the Yale defensive end and took it to just outside the circle before beating the Bulldogs’ goalie glove side.
In the second period, it was Delianedis again finding the back of the net to give Cornell the lead. She and junior forward Izzy Daniel worked a fast break two-on-one opportunity to perfection, with Daniel forcing the Yale goalie to commit before finding Delianedis for the score.
The Red did not hold the lead at the end of the period, however, as Yale was able to respond. Taking advantage of a power play with less than three minutes remaining, the Bulldogs needed just 11 seconds of control to knot the game back up at two. Cornell went into the final period tied, 2-2.
Following a scoreless third period, the Red entered its fourth overtime game of the year. This one was the shortest, as it took the Bulldogs just 28 seconds to win the game. Claire Dalton went five-hole against DuLac for her second goal of the game, and Yale won the tightly contested game, 3-2.
Prior to the senior game, head coach Doug Derraugh ’91 recounted the importance of this year’s seniors on the women’s hockey program. While Frechette serves as one of the three captains, all the seniors, Isaac, Ellie Zweber, Elana Zingas and Kenyon, have all had a profound impact on the team as well.
“They’re team players… they’ve just had the most success [from] on-ice standpoint… [the seniors], they’ve been a really great team, they do things the right way and they work hard on and off the ice and have good character,” Derraugh said.
Derraugh also reflected on how his seniors have been crucial to anchoring the Red’s defense.
“And then on defense, this year, Paige Kenyon has really stepped up out of the background and the defensive side of things and played a lot of minutes and played a lot of roles,” Derraugh said. “They are really good people, never mind the best of the team.”
Cornell will close out its regular season next weekend, when it travels to Troy, N.Y. on Friday to take on RPI at the Houston Field House (9-22-1, 4-15-1 ECAC) at 6 p.m. before finishing the year at Union (11-20-1, 4-15-1 ECAC) on Saturday at 3 p.m.