Cornell Takes Game One Against Princeton

Cornell Takes Game One Against Princeton

ITHACA, N.Y. -- ITHACA, N.Y. – The No. 5 women's hockey team ground out a 2-1 win over Princeton in game one of the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals on Friday night at Lynah Rink. It was an eventful ending to the second period as all three of the game's goals were scored within the frame's final two minutes.
 
"I thought it was a typical first playoff game of the year," said head coach Doug Derraugh. "I thought both teams early on looked a little bit nervous and pucks were kind of bouncing around and the play didn't get very much flow going. Both power plays looked a little off. I thought in the first period both teams had some chances there and I thought it settled in in the second and third and it became a typical playoff game where it's physical, lots of speed, close checking and one play here or there could make a difference. That's usually the way it is in the playoffs."
 
Maddie Mills got Cornell on the board first with a short-handed goal eighteen minutes and 18 seconds into the second, marking the third game in a row that the team has recorded a goal with a man disadvantage. Kristin O'Neill got the play off to a start, stealing the puck away from a Tiger skater against the boards. O'Neill skated back to the blue line and sent a perfect pass to Mills, who was positioned in front of the net. The Ivy League Rookie of the Year then whipped in a shot from the far post and cleaned up her own rebound to give the Big Red the 1-0 lead.
 
The 2017-18 Cornell squad now has eight short-handed goals to its name, the most out of any other Big Red team in program history.
 
Princeton was quick to respond, however, as Karlie Lund found the equalizer just 30 seconds later. Annie MacDonald skated down the ice to the middle of the near circle of the Tigers' offensive zone and passed the puck to Lund, who was going down the slot. Lund chipped it in to the back right of the net to tie things up, 1-1.
 
But it was birthday girl Brianna Veerman who shut the door on the opposition with the game-winning goal 57 seconds later. Mills and Erin O'Connor each received assists on the play after getting the puck down to the offensive zone. Mills wrapped around to the near post and found Veerman in front of the crease where she beat Princeton goaltender Stephanie Neatby before she could fully extend her right leg out for the save.
 
Both netminders were at the top of their games, making clutch stops throughout to keep the first and third periods scoreless. Marlene Boissonnault made 30 saves while Neatby made 23.
 
The Big Red's top-ranked penalty kill unit was up to its usual business, killing off all seven power play attempts the Tigers had. The team has not allowed a power play goal since Jan. 20, 2018 against Union.
 
Cornell and Princeton go at it once again tomorrow at Lynah Rink at 3 p.m for game two of the best-of-three series. A Big Red win would advance the team to the ECAC Hockey semifinals at the highest remaining seed.