Cornell University's women's hockey team ended a thrilling season Saturday afternoon, falling to Mercyhurst in overtime in NCAA quarterfinal action. The Big Red came from behind twice, forcing overtime in the final minute of the third period on a Jillian Saulnier goal, but the Lakers scored 4:49 into overtime to advance to the NCAA Frozen Four.
Mercyhurst's Caroline Luczak gave the Lakers what looked like a go-ahead goal with just 1:13 left in the third, but Saulnier's slap shot less than twenty seconds later tied the game at 3.
"As a younger player on the team, it's so much better to have someone to look up to on the team," said Saulnier of the squad's seniors. "Erin Barley-Maloney... brings everything to the table, does little things right," the sophomore forward added.
"Looking back on the season, we had a great season again," said senior captain Lauriane Rougeau. "We won the Ivy League, the ECAC, so yes, I'm disappointed, but this was again an amazing season for the Big Red. I know in my heart that next year they're going to do an amazing job also."
Mercyhurst got on the board first, and the teams went to the locker room with the Lakers leading 1-0 at the first intermission, but the second period was all Cornell's. Junior Brianne Jenner tied the score at 1 midway through the second stanza with the Big Red skating 5-on-3 on a pair of Mercyhurst minors, when Rougeau and senior defenseman Laura Fortino brought the puck into play in front of Lakers netminder Stephanie Ciampa.
Freshman Jess Brown celebrates her third goal of the season.With under a minute to go in the second, freshman forward Jess Brown beat Ciampa for a five-hole goal to give the Red the lead going into the second intermission.
Mercyhurst's overtime win sends them on to the NCAA Frozen Four in Minneapolis next weekend. It was just the first loss at Lynah all season for the Big Red, whose season is over. "I expected a close game," says head coach Doug Derraugh, whose team has come from behind more than once to eke out a win in the last few weeks. "We just couldn't come up with the final tally here today."