Cornell Skates Past Yale

ITHACA, N.Y. — Three different Big Red players scored their first goals of the season while another added her team-leading sixth goal to help lift Cornell (5-2-0, 3-2-0 ECAC Hockey) to a 4-2 win over Yale (4-3-1, 2-3-1) on Saturday afternoon at Lynah Rink.

Sophomores Diana Buckley and Pippy Gerace gave the Big Red a lead in the first period and then freshman Grace Graham used her first career goal to notch the game-winner in the third period and classmate Kristin O'Neill added an insurance goal late in the game.

"I think [the win] is huge for us because we had a couple of tough losses early on in the season, a couple of close games that we just couldn't quite finish out," head coach Doug Derraugh said. "I think it's really important, especially for a young team, to realize that they can close out games.

Buckley opened the scoring just under five minutes into the game when she skated down the left wing and snapped a shot from the faceoff dot over the left shoulder of Tera Hofmann. Senior Brianna Veerman and freshman Hanna Mutschelknaus broke the puck over the defensive blue line to earn the assists.

It took just six minutes for the Big Red to find the net again with O'Neill winning a faceoff back to Gerace that she was able to one-time into the net for the 2-0 lead.

The Bulldogs – who came into the game averaging a nation-best 4.14 goals per game – pulled a goal back at 15:26 in the first when Phoebe Stanz muscled a puck over the line to Eden Murray who then found Krista Yip-Chuck for an easy tap-in.

The second period saw the teams stray away from the offensive display in the first and instead saw them turn up the physicality, as Yale was whistled for two penalties and Cornell for five.

The Bulldogs took advantage of the power-play opportunities and began to pepper the Cornell net with shots, forcing senior goaltender Paula Voorheis to make 11 saves while her team was in the box. Yale outshot Cornell 33-24 in the game, with 14 of their shots coming on the man-advantage.Yale was eventually able to tie the game at two – despite Voorheis' best efforts – at when Staenz finished off a series of tape-to-tape passing at the right post.

"The discipline part has to be better there but I thought the penalty kill did a pretty good job considering all the five-on-threes that we had to kill in the second," said Derraugh.

The Big Red was not done with scoring in the second period, though, and Graham tallied her first career goal at 17:42. As senior Hanna Bunton skated down the right wing and into the offensive zone, she drew two Yale defensemen – and a hit – before she alertly threaded a pass to a trailing Graham. The freshman calmly slotted the puck past Hofmann for a 3-2 lead.

"I think it's probably one of the best we've played as a team so far," said Graham. "It was really fast and really fun to play."

The Big Red picked up in the third period right where it left off the second, as O'Neill continued the trend of going all-out and finished a play for her sixth goal of the year just 33 seconds into the final frame. O'Neill – who went 20-12 on faceoffs - won the draw in her defensive zone and defenseman Sarah Knee combined with Bunton to break it out before Bunton found O'Neill at center ice. O'Neill then surged through two Bulldogs and across the blue line and down the left wing, where she fired a shot from the bottom of the circle past Hofmann.

With the win, Cornell pushed its unbeaten streak in games against Yale to 16.

Voorheis finished the game with 31 saves while Hofmann had 15. Hanna Mandl made five saves in a relief stint in the third period.

Next weekend, Cornell will travel to Quinnipiac and Princeton for some more ECAC Hockey action on Friday and Saturday.