PROVIDENCE, R.I. — No. 3 Cornell got two goals apiece from Rebecca Johnston and Erin Barley-Maloney, and Lauren Slebodnick stopped all 23 shots she faced in a 5-0 shutout against Brown in Meehan Auditorium on Friday night.
With the win, the Big Red is just one victory away from clinching its third consecutive ECAC Hockey regular season championship. Cornell will get that chance on Saturday against Yale.
The Big Red (23-3, 17-2 ECAC Hockey) bested the Bears (7-12-7, 4-11-4) by a 9-0 margin in Ithaca during the season’s first weekend, and while Friday night’s contest was much closer, Brown still had few quality chances to score thanks to a smothering effort by the Big Red defense.
Going into the third period already ahead 3-0, Cornell allowed Brown to take just two shots in 20 minutes to squelch any hopes of a Bears comeback.
During that third period, Barley-Maloney got her second goal at the 12:10 mark. Winning a faceoff back to Hayleigh Cudmore, Barley-Maloney took position in front of the net. Cudmore went to the right point and passed across the ice to Amanda Young. There, Young wound up a slap shot and blasted the puck toward the net. Barley-Maloney got the redirection to put the Big Red ahead 4-0.
Just a minute and a half later, Johnston got her second goal of the game cleaning up a loose puck in front of the net. Brown goalie Katie Jamieson appeared to think she had the puck covered after a Cornell shot, but the puck remained loose in front and skittered out to Johnston. The senior calmly lifted the puck over Jamieson to give the Big Red its final tally.
Cornell has now won four consecutive games overall and nine consecutive against Brown. Cornell improved its road record this year to 11-2.
Cornell got its scoring started at the 12:39 mark of the first period after killing off a Brown power play and not letting the Bears take many threatening shots.
Putting pressure on the Bears defense, Barley-Maloney took a shot from the slot that was saved by Jamieson. The rebound went behind the net and to Jamieson’s left, but waiting there was freshman forward Monika Leck. Leck played the rebound perfectly, passing it back to Barley Maloney immediately. Barley-Maloney chipped the puck over Jamieson’s left pad, and the Big Red had its 1-0 lead.
Six minutes later on the power play, Cornell struck again on a similar play. Brianne Jenner had the puck behind the net to Jamieson’s right and tried a centering pass to Jillian Saulnier. The freshman couldn’t get her stick on the puck, but it kept traveling to Laura Fortino. Fortino had no trouble getting her stick on it, wristing a shot past Jamieson to score the Big Red’s 38th power play goal of the year.
Just 28 seconds into the second period, Johnston showed her individual talents to make it a 3-0 game. With the puck in the Cornell offensive zone but in possession of a Bears player, Johnston snuck up behind her and lifted her stick to steal the puck. Now with control herself, Johnston skated right into the middle of the ice and blasted a laser of a wrist shot off the glove of Jamieson and into the net.
When challenged during the night, Slebodnick stood her ground and picked up her fifth shutout of the year and 10th of her career. She made 14 saves during the second period, easily the Bears’ best on offense.