Both men’s and women’s Big Red Hockey programs are in playoff action this weekend, and both teams are facing the Clarkson Golden Knights. Cornell’s men are at Lynah Rink in Ithaca for a best-of-three ECAC quarterfinal series, while the women return to Cheel Arena in Potsdam for a single NCAA quarterfinal game tomorrow.
“Both teams are fairly familiar with each other at this point, so there won’t be any huge surprises,” says Cornell senior goaltender Paula Voorheis of the contest with Clarkson — the third in four weekends. Live video of the game will be available on ClarksonAthletics.tv.
Cornell’s women beat Clarkson 2-1 at Cheel back in January, but the Golden Knights edged the Red 5-4 to end the regular season in Ithaca last month. Clarkson hosted last weekend’s ECAC tournament, at which Cornell beat St. Lawrence in a semifinal on Saturday before falling to Clarkson in the final on Sunday.
“Our team has been playing playoff style hockey for a while now. Colgate, St. Lawrence, and Clarkson were all very close, fast-paced games,” Voorheis says. “We would have loved to play at Lynah, but Cheel has given us some great games in the past. It’s a fast ice surface, and the crowd is always loud.”
Cornell will be playing without freshman forward Kristin O’Neill, who has been suspended by the ECAC as part of their “supplemental discipline process,” saying that the cross-checking penalty she received in the third period of last weekend’s ECAC championship game deserved additional action. The Clarkson player hit with the cross-check needed no help getting off the ice, stayed in the game, and even participated in that power play. The ECAC offered no explanation for the suspension.
It’s the sixth NCAA tournament appearance for the Big Red, who reached the Frozen Four in 2010, 2011, and 2012. They fell in triple overtime to Minnesota-Duluth in the 2010 national championship game.
Also reaching the NCAA tournament this month are Wisconsin, Robert Morris, Boston College, Minnesota-Duluth, and Minnesota. The Saints will play at Boston College at 1pm, and the Big Red face Clarkson in Potsdam at 3pm, on Saturday, March 11th.
The winners of the quarterfinal round will head to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri for the Frozen Four, with semifinals on March 17th and a championship game on March 19th.
For the Big Red men, it’s a best-of-three ECAC quarterfinal series against Clarkson at Lynah Rink, with games at 7pm Friday and Saturday, and a third game (if necessary) on Sunday afternoon at 4. Cornell had a bye week in the first round of the ECAC tournament last weekend, after finishing 3rd in the regular season league standings, so they come into this series rested and raring to go.
Cornell head coach Mike Schafer points out that the team went undefeated for the entire month of February, with a 6-0-3 record over four weeks. “We hope to be undefeated in March, too,” he added. Video for this weekend’s games will be available at ECACHockey.com.
Cornell and Clarkson have skated to a pair of ties during this season, but the Red are 20-8-1 against the Golden Knights in postseason history, including a 3-1 record in the ECAC finals and a 6-4 win in the 1970 NCAA championship game in Lake Placid.