After Saturday's ECAC women's ice hockey semifinals each ended with six goals for the victors, no one expected a single-goal final on Sunday, but there we are. Cornell's women scored once in the first period of today's championship and held on to earn the ECAC title and advance to the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Cornell's Jess Brown deflects in Saturday's gamewinning goal to beat Harvard. 14850 Photo.Clarkson's Golden Knights smashed Quinnipiac in the early semifinal on Saturday by a 6-0 score, but the late game offered much more suspense. As they've done several times this winter, Cornell had to come from behind -- more than once in the game -- to earn the eventual win, besting Harvard 6-4. Harvard struck first, but Emily Fulton tied the game 1-1 before the first expired. Jessica Campbell scored less than a minute into the second to put the Red ahead briefly, but Harvard posted three unanswered goals, going up 4-2. Junior forward Jillian Saulnier added two, late in the second and early in the third. The eventual game-winner came on the power play, tipped in by sophomore Jess Brown. Fulton added an empty-net insurance goal when Harvard pulled netminder Emerance Maschmeyer for the extra skater with about a minute to go.
Cassandra Poudrier notched the ECAC final's lone goal on Sunday afternoon.On Sunday, Clarkson fans didn't get to celebrate even a single goal with Cheel Arena's deafening air horn. The Big Red scored just once, with sophomore defenseman Cassandra Poudrier lobbing the puck past Clarkson netminder Erica Howe. None of Cornell's veteran players were involved in the goal; assists went to freshmen Caroline DeBruin and Kaitlin Doering.
The win marks the fourth ECAC championship title in five years for Cornell, and just the first ever conference championship win on the road. The team also advances to its fifth NCAA tournament in a row, and will host a quarterfinal game at 3pm Saturday at Lynah. Seeded second in the NCAA postseason field, the Big Red, now 24-5-4, will host seventh-seed Mercyhurst. In a pair of games in Erie in January, Cornell posted a 4-4 tie and a 6-4 win. The Lakers knocked Cornell out of last year's NCAA quarterfinals in overtime. The women's Frozen Four will be held at Quinnipiac the weekend of March 21st.
Cornell's men had the weekend off, just edging into fourth place in the ECAC and earning a first-round bye after last weekend's senior-night win over the Harvard Crimson. They'll host a best-of-three quarterfinal series next weekend against the Clarkson Golden Knights, who needed three games to dispatch the Princeton Tigers. The quarterfinal winners will advance to the ECAC tournament, which returns to Lake Placid this year after an eleven-year absence.