The Cornell Big Red Women’s Hockey team fell behind and could not recover in a loss to the Clarkson Golden Knights in the ECAC Women’s Hockey championship game on Sunday afternoon.
The Big Red entered last weekend with momentum after a 6-1 win over Rensselaer in Game Three of the ECAC Quarterfinal round.
Entering this past weekend, the Big Red were matched up with the fourth-seeded Princeton Tigers that had captured the Ivy League title after going 8-0-2 throughout the league’s action.
The Tigers had claimed a victory and a tie against the Big Red through the previous two, regular season meetings, topping Cornell 5-0 in Ithaca in the latest of pairing.
Saturday’s semifinal did not begin as Cornell had hoped as it quickly fell behind after giving up a goal on the first chance of the penalty kill. The opening goal seemed to take a toll on the Cornell skaters as the offense appeared out of sync until a late surge that ended with a number of chances but nothing to show on the scoreboard.
The game did not get better for the Big Red as it conceded a second goal that saw Carly Bullock backhand a chance past Marlène Boissonnault to make it 2-0 in the early moments of the second period.
With his team staring at a 2-0 deficit, Head Coach Doug Derraugh brought his Big Red to the bench when he called for a timeout.
Upon returning to the ice, Cornell looked different than the team that started the game as Boissonnault would be replaced by sophomore Lindsay Browning, a move that would prove beneficial to the Big Red.
Cornell, seemingly rejuvenated after the timeout, began to settle into form and would be rewarded for their efforts when Gillis Frechette lifted a puck from the high slot over the shoulder Tigers’ goaltender Stephanie Neatby to bring the Big Red back within a goal.
The deficit would be erased early in the third period when Cornell’s Maddie Mills used a head-fake and great stickhandling to create a wraparound, empty net goal to tie the game.
The contest would remain tied into the second overtime period when Micah Zandee-Hart lifted a wrist shot past Neatby to send the Big Red to Sunday’s final.
While the Big Red held the home ice advantage for the championship game, Clarkson seemed more controlling of the playing surface and would take advantage of Cornell defensive breakdowns as Lauren Gabel netted two goals in 26 seconds to take a 2-0 lead in the second period for the Golden Knights. In yet another outstanding postseason performance, Mills put the Big Red on the board late in the third period to cut the lead in half.
Midway through that same period, Ella Shelton answered for Clarkson, extending the lead to 3-1, before an empty-net goal in the final minute would seal the fate of the Big Red and hand Clarkson the ECAC title.
Despite the tough ending to the conference tournament, the Big Red did not suffer a season-ending blow with the final horn, as they were then selected as an At Large bid into the eight-team NCAA tournament field.
Along with Clarkson, the automatic qualifier from the ECAC, the Big Red is joined by fellow Ivy League team, Princeton, to secure three ECAC entrants in the national tournament.
Cornell, as an At Large bid, did not receive a seeding in the field and will take on the third-seeded Huskies of Northeastern University in the opening round this weekend.
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