In his eighth season as the head coach of the Cornell Big Red women’s ice hockey program, Doug Derraugh has become its all-time winningest coach.
He assumed the coaching reins of the Big Red women’s program in 2005. His worst season would be in 2006-07 with a 4-23-2 record. With smart recruiting, Derraugh slowly built a national power. The 2009-10 season was not only his first winning season as head coach, but the club claimed the ECAC regular season and postseason titles.
Derraugh is a former Cornell player himself. From 1987 to 1991, he accumulated 153 points on the strength of 66 goals and 87 assists. A professional career followed with stops in Austria, Germany and Italy, respectively.
The January 29 win against the Mercyhurst Lakers solidified his legacy as an elite coach. The record-breaking win was a 4-0 shutout for the 136th win in his career.
Hayleigh Cudmore opened the scoring at the 2:27 mark for the Big Red. Assists were credited to Jillian Saulnier and Laura Fortino. High-scoring Brianne Jenner added to the lead at 9:02 after her shot beat Mercyhurst backstop Amanda Makela.
Before the end of the period, Jenner beat Makela again. With a second assist going to Fortino, Jenner gave Cornell a 3-0 advantage at the 16:13 mark. In the game, Jenner reached her own milestone as she got career point number 100.
Heading into the second frame, Stephanie Ciampa replaced Makela, which changed the momentum. Mercyhurst played a stout, defensive style of play in the second period and held Cornell scoreless. Despite two power-play opportunities for both squads, the score remained 3-0 in favor of the Big Red. Cornell was outshot 6-5 in the second.
Heading into the final frame, the game became more physical. A total of eight penalties were given out, with Cornell being given six of them. In a span of two minutes and 52 seconds, Cornell was called for three penalties.
Emily Fulton was called for charging at 7:45. Then Fortino was called for tripping at 9:26, and another tripping call went to Cassandra Poudrier at 10:37. Despite the advantage, Mercyhurst could not capitalize on the power plays.
At the 15:39 mark, Cornell's Jessica Campbell scored on Ciampa. Freshmen Taylor Woods and Alyssa Gagliardi were both credited with the assists.
After the fourth goal, the physicality intensified. Jenner (a very sportsmanlike player) received a rare roughing call at 18:08. A mere 14 seconds later, Mercyhurst’s Jenna Dingeldein also received a roughing call.
The goaltending of Lauren Slebodnik was a factor in the historic win for Derraugh. With 19 saves, she improved her season mark to 14-4-0.
After the graduation of team leaders Rebecca Johnston (who captured a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games), Catherine White and Amanda Mazzotta, Derraugh has not missed a beat. Despite having eight freshmen on the roster, Derraugh has ensured a smooth transition as the squad remains strong in the ECAC.
With the arrival of prized recruit Hanna Bunton in autumn 2013, the Big Red have a bright future.
With three consecutive NCAA Frozen Four appearances (from 2010 to 2012), Derraugh is looking to lead the Big Red to a fourth in 2013.
As the winner of the 2010 ACHA Coach of the Year Award, he led the club to the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four title game versus the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Therefore, Derraugh has the experience to lead them back to the big game. The club lost a heartbreaking triple overtime match in the 2010 final as Jessica Wong scored on Big Red backstop Amanda Mazzotta.
The following year, he set a Big Red hockey record (men and women) with the most wins in one season – 31. He would lead the Big Red to the 2011 Frozen Four, marking the first time that a Cornell women’s sports team qualified for national semifinals two years in a row.
Like Tommy Lasorda with baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, Derraugh has coached many Rookie of the Year winners (five in a row from 2008 to 2012). Along with three Ivy League Player of the Year Award winners (Catherine White, Laura Fortino, Rebecca Johnston), Derraugh has established himself as a players coach. Should the time come when an ECAC team wins an NCAA Frozen Four, it would be no surprise to many if Derraugh is the head coach.
Despite the dominance of programs in 2013 like the undefeated Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Boston University Terriers, Derraugh has a remarkable roster. Led by Jenner and Saulnier, Cornell is capable of an upset.