Frozen Four Bound–Cornell’s Laura Fortino (center) celebrates with teammates shortly after Rougeau’s game-winning goal in triple overtime. (Photo by Patrick Shanahan)
A combined 14 goals scored through three periods and each team giving up three-goal leads was only half the story during Cornell’s NCAA Quarterfinal game at Lynah Rink against Boston University Saturday afternoon and evening.
What turned out to be the longest game in program and Lynah Rink history, suddenly turned into a defensive battle, as it took nearly three overtimes, 59 minutes and 50 seconds, for someone to come out on top–Cornell defeated Boston University 8-7 with ten seconds left in triple overtime to advance to their third consecutive Frozen Four.
The victory avenged a 4-1 loss to the Terriers in last year’s Frozen Four, and the Big Red (30-4) finished 3-0 against the Terriers (23-14-1) this season.
Defenseman Lauriane Rougeau weaved her way between three defenders before the puck slipped past the Terriers goalie, capping off a game for the ages.
“Not sure what you say about a game like that one,” Cornell head coach Doug Derraugh ’91 said. “I played at Cornell, played 13 years of professional (hockey) and been coaching for about seven years. I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a game as crazy as this one.”
The game-winning goal was only the sixth on the season for Rougeau, but she ended up making the play of the year when slipping between three defenders and beating Terriers goalie Kerrin Sperry between the legs with only ten seconds left in the third overtime.
“I saw an opening and I went for it,” Rougeau said. “I knew there wasn’t a lot of time left on the clock, and even though they were three and I was one, I’m just going for it. I just passed her, and it just happened. I was behind the net, I found out I scored, and I was happy.”
The Terriers scored the first three goals, all in the first period, to take an early 3-0 lead. However, the Big Red countered when left winger Jessica Campbell blocked a shot, and raced ahead on a breakaway, burying the puck past Sperry with 45 seconds remaining in the first to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Ten seconds into the second period, senior forward Rebecca Johnston beat Sperry on a breakaway to cut the Terriers lead to 3-2. The Big Red scored two more goals in less than a four-minute span to reclaim the lead 4-3.
After a goal from Terriers’ sophomore forward Marie-Philip Poulin tied the game at 4 apiece at the 15-minute mark of the second period, the Big Red scored three straight goals, and had a 7-4 lead with 11 minutes remaining in the game.
But the Terriers rallied for three straight goals, all on power plays, to tie the game with less than two minutes remaining in the third period. The comeback prompted the nearly 60 minutes of extra play on the ice.
“We took penalties and that’s what cost us there,” Derraugh said. “The way that game was going, it didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me is that both teams scored seven goals and then you go into overtime and you go another three periods without anybody scoring.”
Despite the tough loss, Terriers head coach Brian Durocher was proud of his team’s performance and resiliency late in the game.
“Everyone in attendance saw an absolute classic today…whoever lost was certainly going to have a bitter end to their season but I tip my cap to (Cornell),” Durocher said.
The Big Red look to continue their momentum in the NCAA Frozen Four next weekend in Duluth, Minn. when they play No. 2 seed Minnesota this Friday, March 16 at 9 p.m. The wild win extended the season for the eight seniors who have put the women’s ice hockey program on the map.
“They’ve completely changed the culture of our program and been the most successful senior class in our history and then to play their last game at Lynah (Rink), for that to be their last game, I don’t think the fans are ever going to forget,” Derraugh said.