Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Big Red on Big Winning Streak!

For the third consecutive game, the No. 2 Cornell women's ice hockey team scored nine goals against its opponent and rolled to a blowout victory.

The victim on Tuesday night was regional rival Syracuse, who was able to hold off the Big Red for 14 minutes before the offensive explosion began. When all said and done, reigning ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Month Jillian Saulnier led Cornell (4-0) with two goals and three assists as the Big Red dominated the Orange 9-2.

Senior captain Chelsea Karpenko — playing in her 100th career game — also had two goals to her name, and ECAC Hockey Player of the WeekBrianne Jenner had a goal and two assists. Defenseman Laura Fortino had four assists, and blue line partner Lauriane Rougeau had three helpers herself.

Cornell has now opened the season at 4-0 for the second consecutive year and only the fifth time in program history. Cornell now owns a 2-1 series advantage lifetime against Syracuse, and the team started non-conference play with a win for the second year in a row.

The Big Red's 27 goals in its last three games is its best three-game offensive stretch since the 1982-83 season when it had a run of 21, 7 and 8 goals in row for a 36-goal breakout in three games.

After struggling for more than half the first period to get on the board, goals started coming for the Big Red. Jenner was first to break the ice, and Saulnier followed with her first goal of the night and second short-handed goal of the season, which she created by stealing the puck from a Syracuse (5-7) defender and putting home a breakaway chance.

The second period saw three Cornell goals, including tallies from Karpenko, senior Rebecca Johnston and freshman Monika Leck. Karpenko's goal came on the power play thanks to nifty passing from Fortino and Rougeau. Johnston's goal — the 70th of her storied career — took a pass from Saulnier on her goal, wrapped around the net and fired high short side over the shoulder of Syracuse goalie Kallie Biladeau.

Leck's goal came courtesy of Fortino and Emily Fulton when Fulton's slapshot was blocked and bounced back out to Fortino. The junior defender found Leck wide open and passed it to her across the rink for an easy putaway.

The Big Red's best offensive period, though, was the third. Karpenko, Saulnier, Catherine White and Hayleigh Cudmore scored for Cornell. Cudmore's goal was special, as the sophomore now has a goal in her career to go along with 14 assists.

Cornell was solid offensively on the power play throughout the game, scoring three times, but the team also allowed a shorthanded goal against it. The Big Red once again dominated the shot totals, edging Syracuse 59-10. Faceoffs were also a distinct advantage, as Cornell won that battle 34-25.

Finally, Tuesday night's game was the Cornell debut for senior forward Erin Barley-Maloney, a transfer from Vermont who sat out all of last year and missed the first three games of this season.

Cornell has a long stretch without games before returning to Lynah Rink on Nov. 11 and 12 for games against Dartmouth and No. 10 Harvard. The Big Red will be missing four players for that game – Fortino, Jenner, Johnston and Rougeau – as they travel to Sweden to compete with the Canadian National Team in the 4 Nations Cup.

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