After falling to No. 5 Colgate (20-3-1, 11-1-0 ECAC) on Jan. 12 and 13, the then-No. 8 Cornell women’s hockey set its sight on avenging its previous losses against Princeton (12-6-3, 5-6-3 ECAC) and Quinnipiac (21-5-1, 10-5-0 ECAC) earlier in the season.
Cornell finished its weekend with two victories, defeating then-No. 11 Princeton on Friday, 5-3, and then-No. 6 Quinnipiac on Saturday, 4-3.
The game against the Tigers on Friday started with a hitch as freshman forward Avi Adam was called for a hooking infraction early in the first period. Cornell defended the Tiger advantage, and freshman forward Karel Prefontaine scored shortly after, giving the Red a 1-0 lead.
Despite a roughing penalty on Princeton forward Sarah Fillier six minutes in, Cornell couldn’t capitalize on the power play and extend the lead. However, during a later power play 10 minutes into the first period, junior forward Gabbie Rud capitalized and increased Cornell’s lead to 2-0.
The second period saw some back-and-forth play with an impressive five goals between the two teams. First, junior defenseman Rory Guilday scored, before the Tigers roared back for two goals to cut the Red’s lead to 3-2. Freshman defenseman Piper Grober, who has become a mainstay at defense for the Red, got the two-goal lead right back for Cornell. However, a late shorthanded goal from the Tigers made it a 4-3 game going into the third.
The final period was more defensively oriented, with the Red facing a critical five-on-three penalty kill. Junior forward Kaitlin Jockims had a one-on-one opportunity but was ultimately denied a short-handed goal. Cornell successfully killed off both of Princeton’s power plays.
With three minutes left in the game, the Red would spend the next two minutes with a power play advantage. Despite facing a six-on-five empty-net situation from the Tigers, Cornell’s determined defense held strong, and senior forward Izzy Daniel scored an empty-netter with one second remaining to seal the victory.
The next day against Quinnipiac was a battle from the beginning. Just over five minutes into the game, the puck reached Daniel after three consecutive shots on goal for the Red, and she converted for the first goal of the game. The Red had a chance to increase their lead when the Bobcats received a tripping penalty. Quinnipiac successfully defended against the penalty, and later utilized their own power play to equalize, bringing the score to 1-1.
The second period started intensely, with both teams taking risky chances while having solid defensive plays. The Bobcats incurred a slashing penalty during a Cornell breakaway, and Guilday converted on Cornell’s second power play to advance the Red’s lead to 2-1.
Entering the third period, the Red maintained its strong offensive pressure. Sophomore forward Mckenna Van Gelder seized an opportunity during a delayed penalty, scoring in a six-on-five situation and giving the Red some breathing room. Flipping the script with less than three minutes remaining, the Bobcats scored two goals in 39 seconds, tying the game at 3-3.
Despite the late setback, the Red remained undeterred. In the final 50 seconds, Cornell stole the puck from the Bobcats and Rud netted the go-ahead goal. Cornell held on for the remaining moments of the game, securing a thrilling 4-3 victory for the Red.
The new USCHO Poll was released Tuesday, with Cornell vaulting up to No. 6 in the nation (sixth in Pairwise). The Red’s sweep saw Princeton fall to the No. 12 spot, and Quinnipiac dropped to No. 7. Competing in this year’s particularly strong ECAC, Cornell sits at fourth place in its conference, behind Colgate, Clarkson, and St. Lawrence. Colgate, who sits in third in the Pairwise rankings, is the only team among the aforementioned that Cornell hasn’t beaten yet, but recent success against quality opponents has aided the Red to a top ranking in the nation.
Next week, Cornell will return to Lynah Rink to compete against Ivy League counterparts Dartmouth and Harvard. The Red play Dartmouth at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26, and will then travel to Boston to verse Harvard on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 3 p.m.