The second night each team wanted to go away with the win. Cornell had something to prove and fought harder than even the previous night. The first period saw four goals scored, three belonging to the Lady Rouge. Taylor Woods started the scoring off with a power-play goal and Jess Brown notched her first goal of the season, unassisted, though that would not be the end of the night for the Cat Lady. Jillian Saulnier rounded out scoring in the first with the Red holding a 2-goal advantage at the first intermission. Mercyhurst opened and closed the second which saw four more goals tallied. Emily Fulton scored the Big Red's first of the frame as she continued her incredible production on the season. Jess Brown gave the Red a 3-goal lead, notching the eventual game winner before Mercyhurst tallied their third of the night to go into the final frame down by the same margin they had been after the first intermission. Mercyhurst got within one, but as Slebodnick stood tall, Jill Saulnier notched an empty netter to ice the game and give the Lady Rouge the win they needed at the end of the weekend.
This coming week is the Lady Rouge's homecoming. They have not played a game at home since November 29 and 30 when they hosted Boston College. But this weekend is different. It is Harvard week. Friday sees the women play Dartmouth before they host Harvard on Saturday. The games are both important for the season and neither should be overlooked. So let's look first at how the Lady Rouge match up against the Lady Verde.
Cornell still has three players in the top ten in scoring in points per game with Jill Saulnier (1), Emily Fulton (2), and Jessica Campbell (9). Dartmouth's highest scorer comes in at 87 in the country behind four more Cornellians in the top 100 (Hayleigh Cudmore, Alyssa Gagliardi, Cassandra Poudrier, and Taylor Woods). Saulnier leads the country in goals per game while Fulton comes in at 3 in assists per game just 0.05 behind first place. Poudrier leads the country in power-play goals in 4-7 fewer outings than those who also sit atop the rankings. Three of Cornell's defensemen sit in the top ten in scoring defensemen in the country (Cudmore, Gagliardi, and Poudrier), while Hanna Bunton leads Cornell rookies in scoring, with a spot in the top twenty.
When it comes to defeating the Big Green, Cornell will need to ensure that it does not take them for granted. They are a far stronger team than their 4-12-1 record leads one to believe. Peppering the Big Green with shots and take advantage of power play opportunities. The Green take just over 10 minutes of penalties per game, but they are within the top ten for penalty kills in the country, coming in a tenth of a percent below the Big Red. Cornell needs to take its nation leading 30.1 power play into the game with serious ambition.
Harvard is going to be a tough team to beat. Their record speaks for itself at 12-2-2 overall. But on the heels of their latest game, a 2-0 loss to Yale, Harvard has something to prove. This was the first time since the early 1980s that the Lady Bulldogs beat the Crimson. Over twenty years had passed and last weekend both Yale teams swept both Harvard teams. The women will certainly be coming for blood against their hated foe. Last time the two met on Lynah's ice, Cornell denied Harvard an ECAC championship, extending the drought for the Crimson, a typical league powerhouse, to 6 years.
In spite of its losses of players to the Olympics and an interim head coach, Harvard still has found ways to win. Maschmeyer, a sophomore who saw significant time against the Red in her freshman campaign, leads the country in save percentage and places third in the country in goals against. She seems to have upped her game from last year, stopping 28 Big Red shots in the 3-3 tie earlier in the season. The special teams battle will also be an intriguing matchup. Cornell leads the country in power play percentage, at 30.1. Harvard leads the country in penalty kill percentage, allowing only two chances on the year to give them a 97.5 % kill. One of those two goals was from Cornell senior Jessica Campbell. Harvard's power play, however, is a dismal 16.9%. Cornell will need to find a way to score whenever they can, on the power play or even strength, because goals come at a premium against the Crimson. The are the country's stingiest team, allowing a single goal per game. Cornell is going to have to give everything it has against this team to come away with the win.