The women’s hockey team hopes to remain perfect in three starts when the Red takes on Robert Morris at Lynah Rink tomorrow afternoon for the home opener. Cornell is coming off a convincing sweep of Vermont last weekend, during which the team outscored their opponents 12-2 over the course of two games.
As if the Red (2-0, 0-0 Ivy) needed more reason to celebrate, this past Monday sophomore forward Rebecca Johnston was named ECAC Hockey’s Player of the Week for her efforts in Burlington, Vt., including two goals and six assists.
“I don’t really think about that,” Johnston said. “Obviously it’s a great honor, but when it’s time to play I don’t really focus on my expectations or anything like that ... I just focus on what I have to do and try to get it done.”
The Red will be without Johnston for tomorrow’s game, as she travels to Montreal to compete in the Four Nations Cup with Team Canada.
Robert Morris currently stands at 3-3 and is coming off back-to-back losses to St. Lawrence in which the squad managed just one goal. The Red, however, is not underestimating the team from Pittsburgh. Head coach Doug Derraugh acknowledged that the Colonials’ .500 record betrays the all-around solid play of the team.
“Robert Morris came off the start of the year, beat Minnesota, which is considered perhaps one of the best teams in the country this year,” Derraugh said. “They’ve had a couple losses since then. Speaking to some of the coaches that have played them since then, they’ve said that they’re a really good team, solid from goaltending out.”
Robert Morris will travel to Rochester, N.Y., to take on RIT this afternoon before making the trip to Ithaca for tomorrow’s 4 p.m. non-conference contest. This will open a five-game homestand for Cornell. Derraugh is expecting RMU to provide good competition for the Red.
“[Robert Morris’s] goaltender is supposed to be phenomenal,” he said, “so that will be a big challenge for us, but also they play a really good team game.”
One major distinction between this year’s Red squad and last year’s is the youth movement.“We’re definitely a different team,” Johnston said. “We lost three players last year and then we gained nine this year. ... The majority of our team are freshmen and sophomores, so we’re really young.”
“We’re trying to work on teaching, especially,” said Derraugh, echoing Johnston’s sentiments. “I have a large group of freshmen — teaching them our systems and making sure we’re executing our game plan and taking care of that [is our first priority] ... and preparing for Robert Morris second.”
In evaluating the driving force behind the Red’s dominating start to their season, one they aim to continue on Saturday, Johnston said, “We really brought intensity and just team play; we really worked well together and we worked hard. ... That was the key to our success.”
“We were scoring a lot more, too,” she added. “It’s really looking good for us this year, so hopefully we can just keep it up, and keep improving.”