SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- The Big Red is ECAC Hockey regular season champs.
The No. 4 Cornell women's hockey team edged Union, 2-1, Saturday afternoon to claim its regular season league title since the 2012-13 season. With the win, Cornell finished with 36 points in the league, which was three higher than the Colgate, Clarkson and Princeton who finished tied for second. The Big Red will host Rensselaer in the quarterfinal round of the ECAC Hockey tournament.
"We are excited about winning the regular season title," said head coach Doug Derraugh. "There were many very tight races in the ECAC which shows the parity and strength of our league. We worked hard for this and I am proud of our accomplishment."
Cornell totaled 62 shots on net against the Dutchwomen, which is the most it's attempted this season.
"It was a tough game today," Derraugh said. "We had a lot of shots and we had to remain patient and stay focused."
Despite being held off the board for the first 39:05 of the contest, the Big Red generated numerous chances. Prior to its first tally of the afternoon, the Big Red had fired 44 shots on net that were turned away by Union goaltender Amelia Murray, who finished with a total of 60 saves.
The Big Red finally snuck one past Murray in the later portion of the second period with a goal from Grace Graham. Gillis Frechette retrieved the puck along the boards in the offensive zone and sent it back towards the blue line to Diana Buckley. The senior fired a shot that was tipped by Graham in front of the net and worked its way past Murray to even the score at one.
Moments earlier Katie Sonntag netted her fourth goal of the season to put the Dutchwomen briefly ahead 1-0.
The Big Red wasted no time in the third period with Pippy Gerace netting what turned out to be the game-winner. The senior absorbed an initial attempt from Lenka Serdar and worked the puck past Murray just 40 seconds into the third period.
Marlène Boissonnault finished the contest with a total of 13 saves on 14 shots faced. The senior goaltender also collected her 53rd career-win which ties Amanda Mazzotta (2008-11) for the second most in program history.
Cornell went 0-for-4 on power play opportunities, but held the Dutchwomen to 0-for-2. On both of Union's chances, the Big Red did not allow a shot on net.
The Big Red will host the Engineers next weekend for the quarterfinal round. The series will be best-of-three with the two first clashing at 6 p.m. Friday and at 3 p.m. Saturday at Lynah Rink. The third game, if necessary, will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
NOTES TO KNOW
- The Big Red has now killed 44 of its last 45 penalties and has currently killed its last 13.
- Cornell is now 28-1-2 all-time against Union.
- Frechette has now recorded a point in three of the Big Red's last four games.
- For the second game in a row, Gerace netted the game-winner. She now has three on the season.
- This marks the Big Red's seventh weekend sweep of the season.