ITHACA, N.Y. – Jillian Saulnier scored twice, then assisted on linemate Brianne Jenner‘s tap-in goal late in the second period to power the Cornell Big Red women’s hockey team to a 3-0 victory over McGill in an exhibition game at Lynah Rink, Friday.
Jenner finished the night with a goal and two assists, and Emily Fulton had a pair of assists in front of sophomore goaltender Stefannie Moak‘s 20-save shutout against the defending CIS national champions.
It was the first meeting in a decade between the two teams — who both wear similiar red and white uniforms — and the result evened McGill’s record to 2-2 lifetime against Cornell and 2-5 in seven road games versus NCAA squads this season.
“We had some great chances to score but we just couldn’t get the puck in the net,” said McGill head coach Peter Smith‘s whose troops were playing for the first time since Nov. 30 and missing injured All-Canadian snipers Gabrielle Davidson and Melodie Daoust. “I liked the way we played today. It had a real fast pace. We didn’t have a great second period but I thought we were right in it against a strong veteran team.”
McGill went 0-for-3 on the power-play while Cornell was 1-for-1.
Saulnier got the Big Red on the board just three minutes and four seconds into the game after a terrific play by Jenner. Freshman defenceman Sarah Knee attempted a give-and-go feed back to Saulnier skating through the neutral zone, but it didn’t connect. Jenner never gave up on the play, though, racing to gain control between two McGill defenders inside the blue line before shuffling a pass into the slot for Saulnier. After a little deke to send McGill goalie Brittany Smrke to the ice, Saulnier tucked a forehand between the goalie’s legs to give the Big Red a 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Moak, a 5-foot-7 junior from Sackville, N.S., was called upon to make just four saves in the opening frame — including a shot from Stefanie Pohlod that rang off the goalie’s mask. The Big Red forced at least six or seven turnovers in the neutral zone to keep the Martlets at bay. When the visitors did gain control in the offensive zone, Saulnier hustled to stickcheck Leslie Oles — McGill’s leading scorer — to thwart a chance in the slot, and sophomore forward Caroline DeBruin blocked Brittany Fouracres‘ attempted shot on a power play late in the stanza.
Cornell pounced again late in the second period with two successful strikes to break the game open. Saulnier’s second goal came on the power play. She and Emily Fulton worked passes back and forth along the top of the zone before Fulton finally teed up Saulnier for a one-timer from just outside the top of the right circle that sailed over a sliding McGill defender and past Smrke’s left shoulder before hitting the back bar of the net with 3:19 to play in the period.
Jenner then extended the lead to three by finishing off a line rush with 22.4 seconds remaining before the intermission. She gained the zone on the right side before dishing off to Fulton on a three-on-three. Fulton attempted a pass across the slot toward Saulnier, but it deflected off a McGill defender’s stick before hitting Saulnier in the skate. Fortunately for the Big Red, the carom went directly to Jenner at the right post for a tap-in.
McGill came out the aggressor early in the third period, outshooting Cornell 11-5 but Moak proved unbeatable. She slid across to stop Katia Clement-Heydra on a two-on-one in the opening minute. Four of her 20 saves were against Oles, including a shot from the slot that Moak redirected off the crossbar and over the net.
Cornell ended up with a 22-20 edge in shots and Smrke finished with 19 saves and took the loss between the pipes for the Martlets as her record dropped to 7-4-0 overall.
McGill (12-9-0) will conclude their cross-border tour of NCAA squads when they visit the Clarkson Golden Knights on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Martlets have only met Clarkson once in school history, suffering a 7-0 setback in Potsdam on Jan. 3 last year.
Cornell (7-6-1) returns to action next weekend with home games against St. Lawrence on Jan. 9 and Clarkson on Jan. 10 at Lynah Rink.
GAME NOTES: Cornell has been the winningest program in ECAC Hockey over the last five seasons, heading into this season. The Big Red has averaged over 26 wins per season in compiling a 133-29-10 (.802) record since 2009-10. During that same stretch, McGill has been the winningest program in CIS hockey, posting a 166-42-3 record overall (.794) with four conference titles and three CIS national championships… Cornell won the regular-season title four of those five years with the stretch of four straight coming to an end last season. The next closest ECAC Hockey squads in terms of recent wins are Harvard and Clarkson. The Crimson have amassed a 106-42-17 (.694) record, while the Golden Knights check-in with a 118-54-21 (.666) record.
McGill 0 at Cornell 3
[Friday, January 2, 2015 at James Lynah Rink (Cornell)]
GOALS BY PERIOD:
McGill 0-0-0 — 0
Cornell 1-2-0 — 3
1, Cornell, Jillian Saulnier 7 (Jenner, Knee), 3:04.
Penalties-Saulnier Corn (bodychecking), 15:56.
2, Cornell, Brianne Jenner 7 (Saulnier, Fulton), 9:37.
3, Cornell, Jillian Saulnier 8 (Fulton, Jenner), 16:41 (PP).
Penalties-Veerman Corn (interference), 5:22; Davies Mcg (hooking), 15:44.
Penalties-Jenner Corn (bodychecking), 13:48.
Shots on Goal-
McGill 4-5-11 — 20.
Cornell 5-12-5 — 22.
Power Play Opportunities-
McGill 0 / 3;
Cornell 1 / 1.
McGill, Brittany Smrke (L, 7-4-0, 22 shots-19 saves; 60:00).
Cornell, Steffanie Moak (W, 1-0-0, 20 shots-20 saves; 60:00).
Start: 7:00 PM
End: 8:47 PM
Linesmen-Drew White, Scott Smith.
1. CORNELL – 19 Jillian Saulnier
2. CORNELL– 11 Brianne Jenner
3. CORNELL – 35 Stefannie Moak
Daniel DeCaria, Cornell Sports Info Office (514) 398-7012
Earl Zukerman, McGill Sports Info Office (514) 398-7012