Cornell won five Ivy titles in a tournament. Cornell won its sixth Ivy title in a tournament game that ended in a tie. Only one other team in the League won a tournament title on the ice: Princeton.
The remaining seven titles include six outright wins (including the one clinched on Saturday) and one acrimonious tie. The next nearest team? Everyone’s favorite overrated team from Lynah East nips on the Red’s heels with 11 titles.
Winning an Ivy title matters. It is something that predates the ECAC Hockey title (c’mon, guys, shouldn’t we have a cool name for the tournament and regular-season trophies? The historic Whitelaw Cup exists for the men. Why can’t the women have a fun one? The Duthie? The Digit? The possibilities are endless.). It is a part of the women’s history that shows how much older East Coast hockey is than the neophytes out West.
However, it is not the end-all, be-all. The Ivy League title is a regular-season title contested among a subset of our hockey home. Does it indicate success? Absolutely. Does it foretell post-season success? No.
Cornell owns a hefty share of titles. Thirteen Ivy titles. Four regular-season championships. Four tournament championships.
Numbers that should be familiar to all Faithful will be the years in which these titles occurred:
Ivy: 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1990, 1996, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2017
Regular Season: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Tournament: 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014.
To me, dear readers, those numbers are awesome. They inspire both admiration but also fear. More often than not, an Ivy title denotes that the Red can go on to win more championships in the coming weeks. In 2010, 2011, and 2013, the Red won all three trophies. In 2014, without winning either the Ivy League or the regular season, the Red won a triumphant and memorable tournament trophy in Potsdam. An Ivy League title does not foretell success.
But what of 2012? Cornell in 2012 rolled in hard. They went into the post-season having won the Ivy League and won the regular-season title, handily. Cornell went into the ECAC Hockey playoffs with only three losses on the season. No ties. A magical first seed guaranteed the Red the ability to host the playoffs as long as they remained alive. The first weekend saw the Red beat Brown in a series to earn the spot hosting the semifinals and final game in Lynah. After defeating Quinnipiac without too much of a thought, the Red, backstopped by the goalie tandem of Amanda Mazzotta (now assisting at the Bobcats) and Lauren Slebodnick faced St. Lawrence in the ECAC Hockey Final, looking for three ECAC Hockey championships in as many seasons. In spite of all of the firepower of former and future Olympians from Rebecca Johnston, Lauriane Rougeau, and Laura Fortino to Brianne Jenner, Jill Saulnier, and Catherine White, Cornell dropped only its fourth game of the season, snapping a 10-game winning streak. The Saints were the ones celebrating on Lynah’s ice as the seconds ticked off of the clock.
An Ivy League title does not automatically accompany post-season success.
But, hey! They did get TWO titles that year, right?!
Yes, they did. Cornell captured both the Ivy League and regular-season titles.
Time for some harsh reality, readers. Buckle up. That is not possible this season. Cornell sits with 30 points in the ECAC Hockey standings at third place. Cornell cannot fall below fourth place, guaranteeing the Red the ability to host the first round at home. But, first place, the regular-season trophy, is out of reach for these intrepid players. Clarkson is sitting pretty with 36 points. They look to run away with the regular season if St. Lawrence gets anything but a sweep this weekend (a tough feat in Central New York, especially given that St. Lawrence escaped last weekend at home with just a single point and has scored no more than two goals in its last four outings). Cornell, however, can gain all four points this senior weekend and still fall short. The highest that the Red can climb is to number two. That is one trophy that is impossible to get this season for the Rouge.
The post-season tournament trophy (the one that screams to Cornellians as THE trophy) is still up for grabs. The ECAC Hockey post-season is what people remember. This writer vividly recalls the ECAC Hockey championships won during her time on East Hill. A demolition of Dartmouth capped off an exciting run in what still stands as the largest recorded crowd at a women’s game at Lynah. A shutout by Amanda Mazzotta ’12. Two goals by Chelsea Karpenko. Both of their likenesses adorn doors at Lynah. These are moments that are remembered forever, etched in history.
How does that happen for these players? The road goes through the North Country whether in jockeying for better seeding this weekend or possibly on championship weekend.
After this weekend, only two games are guaranteed at Lynah. Cornell will host a playoff series. These seniors can have a real senior night, going out of Lynah in two playoff games. So while this weekend is a celebration of Hanna Bunton, Brianna Veerman, Sydney Smith, Kaitlin Doering, and Paula Voorheis, complacency is not the way to give these seniors a truly lasting legacy. These seniors have already won their first ECAC Hockey title. They just engraved their names into the Ivy title for the first time. Let’s give them a second ECAC Hockey title during their time on East Hill. After all, the road to St. Louis begins by making the NCAA Tournament. How can you guarantee that the committee has to choose you? By winning the conference.