Women’s Hockey Splits Cornell Series

Edouard Boulat

The women’s hockey team continued its season with an exciting and gutsy home-and- home series with Cornell last weekend. Home-ice advantage was hardly a factor, as the road team won both games. Colgate and Cornell first faced off last Friday night at Starr Rink and the Big Red squeaked by with a 3-2 victory. All five goals in the contest were scored within nine minutes of each other in an action-packed second period.

“I thought we played pretty well,” Head Coach Scott Wiley told the Maroon-News. “We scored first with a short-handed goal and that usually gives you a lot of momentum. We kind of sat back and let the momentum swing back and forth. We gave them way too many chances and they simply capitalized.”

Colgate junior forward Sam Hunt opened the scoring with the short-handed goal at 6:36 after firing it into the bottom-right corner of the net, but Cornell’s Liz Zorn scored her 12th goal of the year 35 seconds later. Less than one minute elapsed off the clock before the Big Red’s Caeleigh Beerworth fired a rebound past Colgate first-year goalie Lisa Plenderleith, putting Cornell up by a goal. Sophomore Beth Rotenberg returned the favor when she scored in the crazy second period with assists from first-years Jessi Waters and Hannah Milan, but Cornell retook the lead for good on a Beerworth power-play goal a few minutes later after Colgate was called for having too many players on the ice.

“We definitely need to be better on special teams,” Wiley said. “Our penalty kill has been really good all year, but we have to remember the basics. Sometimes we’re just getting unlucky but we have to get back to the basics of being aggressive and not giving opponents any time and space. If we do that, I think we’ll be fine.”

The Raiders outshot Cornell in the final period as part of their valiant effort to tie the score, but Big Red goalkeeper Jenny Niesluchowski reminded hockey fans of legendary Cornell and Montreal Canadiens goalie Ken Dryden all night, erasing any chance of a comeback.

In the second game of the series, it was Plenderleith’s time to shine, as she anchored a defense that kept a threatening Cornell offense at bay for most of the contest. In an evenly matched first period, the Raiders were able to strike first and score a very important goal.

“To score first was huge; it was incredibly important,” Coach Wiley said. “They had some good chances, but this time it was us that capitalized on our opportunities. We showed a lot of fight.”

Sophomore Marissa Dombovy scored the opener on a one-timer with assists from junior Kiira Dosdall and senior Mallory Johnston at 16:32. The second period was more lopsided, as Cornell outshot the Raiders 21-8. However, Colgate junior Laura Jansen grabbed a loose puck in the neutral zone and passed to Rotenberg, who went five-hole on Cornell goalie Katie Wilson to put the Raiders up 2-0. That lead was more than enough for Plenderleith, who was nothing less than outstanding Saturday. She faced almost two minutes of a five-on-three Cornell power-play and made a miraculous 11 saves during that time.

“Your best penalty killer is always your goalkeeper,” Coach Wiley said. “Killing that five-on- three power play was pretty deflating for them. Our goalkeeper has really played well as of late. She made some really good saves Saturday.”

Plenderleith finished the game with 41 saves and was 21 seconds away from a shutout before Cornell’s Rebecca Johnston scored a late goal from the right face-off circle to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Colgate will host North Country rivals, No. 6 St. Lawrence and Clarkson. for “Pink at the Rink” this weekend on February 8th and 9th. The St. Lawrence game is at 7 p.m., while Colgate will play Clarkson in a matinee at 4 p.m.