Saints march into Lynah Rink, stun Cornell in ECAC ChampionshipMarch 4, 2012 —
Photo by Dave Burbank
The St. Lawrence Saints came marching into Lynah Rink and dethroned the two-time defending ECAC Conference champion Big Red in a 3-1 upset Saturday afternoon at Lynah Rink.
Cornell (29-4, 20-3 ECAC) was looking for its third straight ECAC Tournament title, but the Saints (24-9-4, 15-6-2) spoiled the campaign, locking the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Saints’ goaltender Carmen McDonald had 33 saves, and was able to fend off 10 shots on goal on the Big Red’s five power play opportunities.
“We outplayed them for a lot of the game, but you run into a hot goaltender and it’s tough to (win),” senior Chelsea Karpenko said. “(St. Lawrence) had their chances and they capitalized. We couldn’t capitalize on some of our key chances and that was the difference.”
The Saints struck early on a goal from freshman Jessica Hon, which was deflected into the net on a pass from Josee Belanger, to give the Saints a 1-0 lead four minutes into the second period.
Despite out shooting the Saints 17 to four in the first period, the Big Red trailed 1-0 at the end of the first frame. The game remained 1-0 into the third period, until Karpenko tied the game at one on a shot from the blue line with eight minutes left in the game.
But the Saints got a break when the Big Red turned it over in their own zone. The Saints took advantage of the breakaway as senior right-winger Kelly Sabatine knocked in a shot top shelf just under the two-minute mark in the third period to give the Saints a 2-1 advantage.
“We stuck with it, we got back in the game and again late in the game they capitalized and that turned out to be the deciding factor,” said Karpenko.
An empty-net goal from Alley Bero sealed the Saints’ upset bid, a team whose only ticket to the NCAA Tournament was the automatic bid from the ECAC. “Give St. Lawrence credit,” said Cornell head coach Doug Derraugh. “They played really tough in front of their net…and scored on their opportunities.”
The Big Red’s season is almost certainly still alive, and should receive an at-large bid to the tournament when the Selection Committee makes its announcement of the pool tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m.
Knocking on the fact that the Big Red won the two previous meetings this season against the Saints, St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells marked the game as the biggest win of his career.
“(Cornell) is the pioneer of women’s hockey on the east coast of where programs can go and how they can promote women’s hockey.”