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Women's college hockey notebook

Cornell women’s hockey banks on scoring from Weston’s Gillis Frechette

Before she moves on to Wall Street, Cornell senior captain Gillis Frechette hopes to lead her team into the postseason.Eldon Lindsay/Cornell Athletics

You can take Gillis Frechette’s scoring consistency to the bank, which is fitting, considering what awaits once her college career is over.

The Cornell senior from Weston has scored in 16 of the Big Red’s 21 games this season, and is second on the team in points with 33 (11 goals, 22 assists.) One of the most prolific scorers in ECAC Hockey over the last two seasons, she is the league’s reigning Player of the Year, having earned the honor after compiling 40 points last season.

With all of that production while playing in the most competitive conference in women’s hockey this year, one would think that Frechette would be homing in on a pro career in one of the several options now available in women’s hockey. While it’s still on the table, her initial focus is on finance.

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“I have accepted a job in NYC at Bank of America, so I will be moving to New York City,” said Frechette. “I am very excited about my job and to move onto that next chapter of my life, but I would also love the opportunity to continue to do what I love and play hockey.”

Until she hits Wall Street, Frechette is busy with No. 10 Cornell (12-7-2), which hosts Harvard Friday night. The Big Red are tied for fourth in the ECAC with Clarkson, which is ranked ninth. Three other ECAC teams are above them both in the standings and rankings, making the second half of the season a true fight to the finish.

“It is definitely a fantastic experience being able to play in a league where there is so much competition and you are testing yourself and your team going into every weekend,” said Frechette. “We always talk about consistency being one of the most important parts of being a great team, and this is imperative in a league like the ECAC where every game is going to be a battle.”

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A perfect example came last weekend, when Cornell was outskated by No. 5 Colgate Friday, losing, 9-3, but then defeated the Raiders the next day, 4-2. It may make for some huge ups and downs, but the battles will serve Frechette and the Big Red well if they make the NCAA tournament.

Frechette is just one of a family of hockey players; her sister Finley was an assistant captain at Cornell, graduating in 2011, and her younger brothers Fitz and Mick have played in the preps, as she did at St. Paul’s in Concord, N.H. Despite her stellar stats, the transition to Cornell wasn’t easy.

“I think it did take me a little bit of time to adjust to the pace of the play and the physicality,” said Frechette. “But once I did freshman year, I learned how to bring my strengths of my game from high school to the college level and improve on the things that I struggled with in the beginning.”

One of Cornell’s three captains, Frechette saw the newcomers going through a similar adjustment in the first half of the season. But now that the team is entrenched in the home stretch, practice becomes about that consistency.

“I think the second half of the year we have the system-type stuff under our belts,” said Frechette. “It becomes more about making those become habits so we aren’t even thinking about it.”

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Frechette’s final few weeks of collegiate hockey will be high-stakes, and it’s all that she is focused on at the moment. But when she does move on to finance, she will still consider lacing up her skates.

“The current landscape of the professional leagues with women’s hockey is that most of the professional players are also working full-time, so that theoretically could be a possibility for me,” she said. “Right now, I am taking it one step at a time and focusing on making the most of my last year at Cornell and enjoying every second of playing with the Cornell jersey on.”

Knoll on a roll

Northeastern earned an important Hockey East victory Saturday, defeating Vermont, 3-1, thanks to a shorthanded goal by Katy Knoll. The Catamounts are second in the league standings, directly behind the Huskies. Late last season, UVM handed NU a stunning defeat that gave the Huskies key things to work on. History did not repeat itself, and now NU (23-2-1) has a formidable 18-point lead in Hockey East. It wasn’t Knoll’s only game-winner of the weekend. She also had the deciding goal in a 3-1 win over Merrimack Friday, giving her four winning goals this season and 17 overall … Julia Nearis, a Beverly native, powered Boston University to an important 1-0-2 week. She scored a power-play goal in a tie against Providence that the Terriers (8-15-2) eventually won in a shootout. Days later, she notched the tying and shootout-winning goals against Maine, which they trail in the league standings by just 1 point ... It’s been a rough new year for Boston College, which has lost four of its last five. With eight games left in the regular season, the 14-11-1 Eagles host Vermont and Merrimack this weekend.

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Kat Cornetta can be reached at sportsgirlkat@gmail.com.