Cornell Women’s Hockey

Stories I wrote covering the Cornell Women’s Hockey team from 2010-2012. The stories were published through Slope Media, an online student publication through Cornell University.

Cornell’s win in triple overtime propels Big Red to third consecutive Frozen Four

By Tim Weisberg

Frozen Four Bound–Cornell’s Laura Fortino (center) celebrates with teammates shortly after Rougeau’s game-winning goal in triple overtime. (Photo by Patrick Shanahan)

Frozen Four Bound–Cornell’s Laura Fortino (center) celebrates with teammates shortly after Rougeau’s game-winning goal in triple overtime. (Photo by Patrick Shanahan)

Published March 11, 2012: A combined 14 goals scored through three periods and each team giving up three-goal leads was only half the story during Cornell’s NCAA Quarterfinal game at Lynah Rink against Boston University Saturday afternoon and evening.

What turned out to be the longest game in program and Lynah Rink history, suddenly turned into a defensive battle, as it took nearly three overtimes, 59 minutes and 50 seconds, for someone to come out on top–Cornell defeated Boston University 8-7 with ten seconds left in triple overtime to advance to their third consecutive Frozen Four.

The victory avenged a 4-1 loss to the Terriers in last year’s Frozen Four, and the Big Red (30-4) finished 3-0 against the Terriers (23-14-1) this season.

Defenseman Lauriane Rougeau weaved her way between three defenders before the puck slipped past the Terriers goalie, capping off a game for the ages.

“Not sure what you say about a game like that one,” Cornell head coach Doug Derraugh ’91 said. “I played at Cornell, played 13 years of professional (hockey) and been coaching for about seven years. I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a game as crazy as this one.”

The game-winning goal was only the sixth on the season for Rougeau, but she ended up making the play of the year when slipping between three defenders and beating Terriers goalie Kerrin Sperry between the legs with only ten seconds left in the third overtime.

“I saw an opening and I went for it,” Rougeau said. “I knew there wasn’t a lot of time left on the clock, and even though they were three and I was one, I’m just going for it. I just passed her, and it just happened. I was behind the net, I found out I scored, and I was happy.”

The Terriers scored the first three goals, all in the first period, to take an early 3-0 lead. However, the Big Red countered when left winger Jessica Campbell blocked a shot, and raced ahead on a breakaway, burying the puck past Sperry with 45 seconds remaining in the first to cut the deficit to 3-1.

Ten seconds into the second period, senior forward Rebecca Johnston beat Sperry on a breakaway to cut the Terriers lead to 3-2. The Big Red scored two more goals in less than a four-minute span to reclaim the lead 4-3.

After a goal from Terriers’ sophomore forward Marie-Philip Poulin tied the game at 4 apiece at the 15-minute mark of the second period, the Big Red scored three straight goals, and had a 7-4 lead with 11 minutes remaining in the game.

But the Terriers rallied for three straight goals, all on power plays, to tie the game with less than two minutes remaining in the third period. The comeback prompted the nearly 60 minutes of extra play on the ice.

“We took penalties and that’s what cost us there,” Derraugh said. “The way that game was going, it didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me is that both teams scored seven goals and then you go into overtime and you go another three periods without anybody scoring.”

Despite the tough loss, Terriers head coach Brian Durocher was proud of his team’s performance and resiliency late in the game.

“Everyone in attendance saw an absolute classic today…whoever lost was certainly going to have a bitter end to their season but I tip my cap to (Cornell),” Durocher said.

The Big Red look to continue their momentum in the NCAA Frozen Four next weekend in Duluth, Minn. when they play No. 2 seed Minnesota this Friday, March 16 at 9 p.m. The wild win extended the season for the eight seniors who have put the women’s ice hockey program on the map.

“They’ve completely changed the culture of our program and been the most successful senior class in our history and then to play their last game at Lynah (Rink), for that to be their last game, I don’t think the fans are ever going to forget,” Derraugh said.

Saints march into Lynah Rink, stun Cornell in ECAC Championship

By Tim Weisberg

Photo by Dave Burbank

Photo by Dave Burbank

Published March 4, 2012: The St. Lawrence Saints came marching into Lynah Rink and dethroned the two-time defending ECAC Conference champion Big Red in a 3-1 upset Saturday afternoon at Lynah Rink.

Cornell (29-4, 20-3 ECAC) was looking for its third straight ECAC Tournament title, but the Saints (24-9-4, 15-6-2) spoiled the campaign, locking the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Saints’ goaltender Carmen McDonald had 33 saves, and was able to fend off 10 shots on goal on the Big Red’s five power play opportunities.

“We outplayed them for a lot of the game, but you run into a hot goaltender and it’s tough to (win),” senior Chelsea Karpenko said. “(St. Lawrence) had their chances and they capitalized. We couldn’t capitalize on some of our key chances and that was the difference.”

The Saints struck early on a goal from freshman Jessica Hon, which was deflected into the net on a pass from Josee Belanger, giving the Saints a 1-0 lead four minutes into the second period.

Despite out shooting the Saints 17 to four in the first period, the Big Red trailed 1-0 at the end of the first frame. The game remained 1-0 into the third period, until Karpenko tied the game at one on a shot from the blue line with eight minutes left in the game.

But the Saints got a break when the Big Red turned it over in their own zone. The Saints took advantage of the breakaway as senior right-winger Kelly Sabatine knocked in a shot top shelf just under the two-minute mark in the third period to give the Saints a 2-1 advantage.

“We stuck with it, we got back in the game and again late in the game they capitalized and that turned out to be the deciding factor,” said Karpenko.

An empty-net goal from Alley Bero sealed the Saints’ upset bid, a team whose only ticket to the NCAA Tournament was the automatic bid from the ECAC. “Give St. Lawrence credit,” said Cornell head coach Doug Derraugh. “They played really tough in front of their net…and scored on their opportunities.”

The Big Red’s season is almost certainly still alive, and should receive an at-large bid to the tournament when the Selection Committee makes its announcement of the pool tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m.

Knocking on the fact that the Big Red won the two previous meetings this season against the Saints, St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells marked the game as the biggest win of his career.

“(Cornell) is the pioneer of women’s hockey on the east coast of where programs can go and how they can promote women’s hockey.”

Overtime goal extends Cornell winning streak to six

By Tim Weisberg

Champions–Cornell presented the ECAC championship trophy after a 2-1 overtime victory against Clarkson Friday night at Lynah Rink. It is the Big Red’s third consecutive ECAC Championship. (Photo by Patrick Shanahan)

Champions–Cornell presented the ECAC championship trophy after a 2-1 overtime victory against Clarkson Friday night at Lynah Rink. It is the Big Red’s third consecutive ECAC Championship. (Photo by Patrick Shanahan)

Published Feb. 17, 2012: Clarkson’s desperate attempt to have officials take a second look at a Cornell goal in overtime was to no avail. The goal stood, and the No. 3-ranked Big Red prevailed in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Golden Knights Friday night at Lynah Rink.

The goal by freshman Jillian Saulnier hit the left post and went in, ending the Golden Knights seven-game unbeaten streak and avenging a loss at Clarkson Jan. 28.

“(Clarkson) beat us last time we played them, and they deserved to win the last time we played them,” Cornell head coach Doug Derraugh said. “This game could have gone either way.”

The Big Red (25-3, 19-2 ECAC) proved early why they are the three-time defending Ivy League and ECAC Champions, scoring less than three minutes into the first period on a Rebecca Johnston goal to take a 1-0 lead.

However, the Golden Knights (20-8-5, 14-5-2) answered back less than four minutes into the second period when Carly Mercer found Jamie Lee Rattay in front of the net, tying the game at one.

“We were pretty soft on the puck, turning it over a lot and trying to do too much with the puck, individually” said Derraugh.

The Big Red was also unable to score on three power play opportunities, only attempting two shots on goal during six minutes with a man advantage.

According to Derraugh, the Big Red played individually and not as a team during a majority of the game.

“(Clarkson) clogs up the middle of the ice and we’ve got some players that are obviously very skilled with the puck but at this level you’re not going to beat…that many players no matter who you are,” Derraugh said. “Sometimes, when it’s a close game, some of our (players) try to take it upon their own shoulders to win it themselves and it just doesn’t work. You’ve got to stay within the team framework.”

The game was certainly close. The Golden Knights took 29 shots on goal, the Big Red 28, and each team had three penalties. And Saulnier’s goal in overtime capped off a tough battle for the Big Red, albeit with a bit of controversy.

“I saw it go in so I knew it was (a goal),” Big Red forward Rebecca Johnston. “ It was frustrating that a couple minutes later (Clarkson) tried to get (officials) to look at the replay. I mean, I saw it go in.”

The call stood, and the Big Red were presented with the ECAC Championship trophy at the end of the game, having clinched their third consecutive ECAC and Ivy League title last weekend.

The Big Red conclude their regular season against No. 10 St. Lawrence tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m., the final regular season home game for the winningest senior class in program history.

“It’s a special (senior) class we have,” said Saulnier. “They’re totally worth it. They’re totally worth our efforts, and every little bit we put into tomorrow’s game is for them.”

Cornell advances to second consecutive Frozen Four with win over Dartmouth

By Tim Weisberg

Teamwork–Cornell saw seven goals scored by six different players as the Big Red advanced to its second consecutive Frozen Four with a 7-1 victory over Dartmouth in the NCAA Quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Lynah Rink. (Photo by Darl Zehr)

Teamwork–Cornell saw seven goals scored by six different players as the Big Red advanced to its second consecutive Frozen Four with a 7-1 victory over Dartmouth in the NCAA Quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Lynah Rink.                 (Photo by Darl Zehr)

Published March 12, 2011: The Cornell women’s hockey team distributed the offensive wealth, as six different players scored the Big Red’s seven goals in a 7-1 blowout over Dartmouth in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Lynah Rink Saturday afternoon.

According to Big Red head coach Doug Derraugh, it is imperative to play collectively as a unit come playoff time.

“In order to succeed at this time of year, you can’t rely upon one or two players,” Derraugh said. “You got to have everybody going and we did that (this afternoon). I thought everybody was firing on all cylinders once we got our feet under us.”

Freshman center Brianne Jenner started the scoring binge for the Big Red (31-2-1, 20-1-1 ECAC) with a goal at the 5:45 mark in the first period to break a scoreless tie.

However, the Big Green (22-12, 15-7) capitalized on a power play goal from Camille Dumais a little over a minute later to tie the game at one.

The turning point of the game was 30 seconds later, when Big Red wingman Kendice Ogilvie intercepted a pass on the Big Green power play at the blue line and scored a short-hand goal to put the Big Red up 2-1 with four minutes left in the first period.

According to Derruagh, the Big Red looked overwhelmed early, but was able to gain ground after the shorthand goal from Ogilvie.

“We looked a little bit nervous early on, but I thought we got our feet underneath us (after Ogilvie’s goal),” he said. “I thought we played very strong in all zones tonight and (it was) nice to see us finish our chances when we had the opportunities. I thought everybody played to their full potential and the score reflected that.”

And the Big Red made sure to play to their full potential, as players from all three lines scored at least one goal.

Junior center Catherine White also believed the collective effort helped the Big Red upend Big Green.

“We had everybody working hard off pucks, people going to the net and just finding the open man and getting pucks on the net and getting some pretty nice goals,” White said.

The win over the Big Green advanced the Big Red to its second consecutive Frozen Four, all while matching an NCAA tournament record for goals in a game.

For White, being back in the Frozen Four is what the team has strived for all season.

“Obviously, (the Frozen Four) is an unbelievable experience for me and I know I can speak on behalf of the other players that are there,” she said. “The atmosphere is unlike any other. I know the freshman are really excited and I know everybody’s super stoked to be there again and of course for the freshman, there first time…”

The Big Red will face Boston U in the Frozen Four in Erie, Pa. next Friday, March 18. The winner will play in the National championship Sunday, March 20.

According to Derruagh, contributions from the Big Red’s third line will be a major factor in their overall success in the Frozen Four.

“Every team that’s going to go into the Frozen Four has got two lines that are extremely dangerous but the question might be who’s got the third line that can contribute consistently throughout the tournament,” he said. “So that’s big for us to have all three lines going.”

Cornell edges out Quinnipiac, advances to ECAC Championship

By Tim Weisberg

Photo by Dave Burbank

Photo by Dave Burbank

Published March 4, 2011: It took a last stand in the waning seconds, but a blocked shot on goal later, and the Cornell women’s hockey team prevailed 4-3 over Quinnipiac in the ECAC Hockey Semifinal Thursday night at Lynah Rink.

The Big Red (29-2-1, 20-1-1 ECAC) controlled the blue line from face off, but were unable to capitalize offensively until a power play goal by Chelsea Karpenko gave the Big Red a 1-0 edge with under two minutes in the first period.

According to Cornell head coach Dough Derraugh, the power play goal from Karpenko gave the Big Red a much-needed boost.

“Obviously that power play goal (from Karpenko) was really big for us,” Derraugh said. “You know, I thought (Quinnipiac) did a pretty good job of playing us early in the game…and then we get that big power play goal. It took the weight off our shoulders a little bit and I thought we started to play more our game, started to move the puck better after that (goal).”

The Bobcats (22-12-3, 12-9-1) were the No. 5 seed in the conference tournament, and heavy underdogs against a Big Red team that had only lost one conference game all season.

However, the Bobcats did not back down, trailing 3-1 after two periods and making it a game after scoring with under five minutes left to make it 4-3. But according to Derraugh, the level of play from the Bobcats did not come as a surprise.

“I think it was pretty much what I expected,” he said. “I know the media expected to be seeing something different but I knew (Quinnipiac) was going to pressure…(but) we made the big saves when we needed them.”

The big saves came from recently injured goalie Amanda Mazzotta, who played for the first time Thursday night since suffering an injury in a game against Clarkson Dec. 4.

Tonight’s game also marked the second-largest crowd in the program’s history, drawing 1,547 spectators to Lynah Rink.

The Big Red will host Dartmouth in the ECAC championship this Saturday at 3 p.m., hoping to avenge a loss to the Big Green in Hanover, N.H. Feb. 18.

The Big Green defeated Harvard 4-1 Thursday night in Cambridge, Mass. to advance to the ECAC Championship.

According to Big Red senior forward Hayley Hughes, the match-up against the Big Green seems only fitting, considering the Big Green was the only ECAC team to beat the Big Red.

“That’s what we were hoping for,” Hughes said. “There’s nothing better than redemption (against Dartmouth) in the championship game so we’re really looking forward to playing them.”


Big Red score seven unanswered in 7-1 blowout

By Tim Weisberg

Photo by Darl Zehr

Photo by Darl Zehr

Published Feb. 13, 2011: If you knock enough on the door of opportunity, sooner or later it’s going to answer, and the Cornell women’s hockey team kept knocking, scoring seven unanswered to take care of Yale 7-1 Saturday afternoon at Lynah Rink.

It was the Bulldogs who scored first three minutes into the first period on a goal from Aleca Hughes. But the Big Red answered back with a power play goal from center Catherine White to tie the game at the end of the first intermission.

The Big Red (25-1-1, 19-0-1 ECAC) had plenty of opportunities to score, constantly in attack mode past the blue line. It was only a matter of time before the Bulldogs (7-17-3, 6-11-2) would be unable to hold off.

That door finally was answered in the second period. In a span of 1:41, the Big Red scored three goals to take a commanding 4-1 lead and put the game out of reach.

But for Big Red head coach Doug Derraugh, playing from behind is something his team is not accustomed to doing.

“I thought we were getting a little bit anxious,” Derraugh said. “We haven’t been in that situation very often where we get scored on first.”

The Big Red took 52 shots on goal, while holding the Bulldogs at bay with 17 shots, making the first goal appear to be a fluke.

But according to senior right winger Amber Overguard, getting down one goal early did not rattle the Big Red.

“It didn’t deter us,” Overguard said. “If anything, it motivated us more.”

It was certainly a big driving factor for the Big Red, considering they have not lost since Nov. 2 of last year.

“We’re a very talented team,” said Derraugh. “I’m a little bit surprised at some of these games the way we have dominated, (but) going into every season you look to win every game and that’s what we wanted to do this year and tried to do.”

The Big Red close out their regular season next weekend when they travel to Dartmouth next Friday, and play at Harvard on Saturday.

According to Derraugh, the Big Red’s utter dominance this season is irrelevant as they prepare for the playoffs having already clinched the ECAC.

“They’re some really strong teams in this league and we’re going to have to battle here through the (ECAC) playoffs,” he said.

“We got another big weekend coming up with Harvard and Dartmouth so those will be really tough games as well which I think will be really good for us going into the playoffs.”

The playoffs begin with the ECAC quarterfinals at Lynah Rink on Feb. 25.



Big Red upended by Mercyhurst in overtime

By Tim Weisberg

Published Nov. 2, 2010: They say revenge is best served as a cold dish. The No. 4-ranked Mercyhurst Lakers served up their dish on ice, handing the No. 2-ranked Big Red their first loss of the season in a 4-3 overtime win Tuesday night at Lynah Rink.

The game was a rematch of the 2010 NCAA semifinal, in which 3-2 overtime win landed the Big Red in the national championship game.

The Lakers (7-1-0) got their revenge, winning on a short-handed goal in the first minute of overtime to stun the Big Red (4-1-0).

According to Big Red head coach Doug Derraugh, the loss to the Lakers was a tough one to swallow.

“It’s obviously a tough way to lose,” Derraugh said.

The Big Red struck first on a goal by Brianne Jenner 15 minutes into the first period. But every time the Big Red took the lead, the Lakers seemed to match the Big Red with a goal of their own.

The Big Red had a chance to pull away in the third period when Jenner added her second goal of the night midway through the final period , but less than a minute later, the Lakers tied the game at three.

In overtime, the Big Red had a power play, but the puck slipped passed the blue line and Lakers senior defenseman Cassea Schols took control of the puck before dishing it to senior forward Jesse Scanzano for the game-winner.

Despite the loss, Derraugh enjoys playing against the Lakers.

“I like playing this team because it’s always a challenge,” said Derraugh. “I think it’s turning into a really good rivalry.”

The Lakers lead the all-time series with a 12-1-1 record, but their lone loss to the Big Red came earlier this year in the Frozen Four. The Big Red ended the Lakers’ 09-10 season, but the Lakers got their revenge on the cold Lynah Rink ice.

The Big Red’s disappointing loss also comes with some tough news; Jenner and junior Rebecca Johnston will be gone for two weeks when they leave to play for the Canadian national team.

However, according to Jenner, the Red will be deep enough to be able to win without her presence on the ice.

“I think everybody matters on this team, and we have the depth,” Jenner said. “[I am] going to miss playing with them and will be excited to get back.”

The Big Red face another tough match-up this weekend, when they host Ivy League opponents Harvard and Dartmouth.

But despite the expected absence of key players at the center and right wing position, Johnston and her fellow teammates have one particular goal in mind: a national championship.

“That’s something I definitely want to accomplish before I leave Cornell,” Johnston said. “I think our team is worthy of that goal.”

The Big Red hopes to stay undefeated in conference play when they take on Harvard on Friday, Nov. 5 and Dartmouth on Saturday, Nov. 6 at Lynah Rink.