ITHACA, N.Y. — On Friday afternoon, Cornell defeated Quinnipiac, 5-1, in the ECAC semifinals. Cornell’s Rebecca Johnston had five points on the night, including two goals.
“I thought they didn’t sustain their forecheck as much as they have in the past against us,” Cornell coach Doug Derraugh said. “We put a lot of strong pressure on them in the offensive zone.”
Cornell took the 1-0 lead 14:41 into the first period on a power-play goal. The Big Red couldn’t cash in on a number of net-front tips, but it was a shot from the right side that finally beat Victoria Vigilanti. Amanda Young fed Johnston on the right side, who wasted no time stepping up to the right circle. Johnston picked her shot and went top shelf for the 1-0 lead.
The Big Red controlled play throughout the second period, holding Quinnipiac to just four shots on goal.
After being pinned in its own zone for most of the period, Quinnipiac tied the score with 2:35 left in the period. Kelly Babstock brought the puck into the zone and ripped a shot on net. The shot was blocked away, and Nicole Kosta picked up the rebound and moved the puck to Erica Uden Johansson on the far side. Uden Johansson’s backhander beat Amanda Mazzotta short side.
“We are really working well together,” Uden Johansson said about her linemates. “‘Babs’ and Kosta have so much talent, and they utilize all of it.”
Cornell answered right back 57 seconds later. A net-front scramble caused the puck to jar loose at the top of the crease. Both teams batted for the puck until Johnston finally snuck it under Vigilanti’s pads. Vigilanti immediately reacted to the goal, asking for a replay. After a prolonged wait, the goal stood and the Big Red were back on top.
“For us, it was just not letting [Quinnipiac's] goal get us down and just keep fighting ahead,” Johnston said.
From there, Cornell never looked back. Just 63 seconds after the second goal, Brianne Jenner, Jillian Saulnier and Johnston put on a breakout clinic. Johnston carried the puck on the near side. As she moved to the right circle, she shuffled the pass to the slot. Saulnier directed the puck to the far side, where Jenner buried it past Vigilanti.
“Those two goals for us at the end of the period were huge,” Derraugh said. “Going into the third period with that extra cushion was really important for us.”
The Big Red added two more in the third period to finish off a strong offensive performance.
“When you play a team as strong as Cornell, you have to play as close to perfect hockey if you are going to have a chance,” Quinnipiac coach Rick Seeley said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of that in the first two periods, but then I thought they were just too much for us to handle.”