After last night's game, the Bright Center crowd applauded, the coach smiled, and the Crimson icewomen enthusiastically congratulated each other. You'd have thought they won.
But although the Crimson played an impressive first-of-the-season game and came on very strong during the third period, they could not catch up with the B.U. skaters as the Terriers held on to a 4-1 second-period lead to win, 5-3.
It was respectable loss for the women skaters, though. Respectable because, as sophomore co-captain Firkins Reed explained when it ended, B.U. "creamed us in last week's scrimmage." And because the second-year Varsity squad showed some real promise. But mostly because when the clock ran out in last season's opener, the Crimson had lost by an embarrassing 17-0.
And at times it even looked like the icewomen might have taken like the icewomen might have taken this one. After the opening face-off Harvard looked good, dominating the ice and aggressively working the puck into Terrier territory.
But with junior right wing Sara Fischer watching from the penalty box, B.U. notched a power-play goal on a quick wrist shot that skimmed past fledgling goalie Katie Williams at 16:47.
The second Terrier tally came a scant minute-and-a-half later, as B.U.'s right wing Julie Devine flicked in a shot almost identical to the first, leaving the score 2-0 at the end of the first stanza.
Williams, a field hockey native who never saw an ice hockey game from between the twines until two weeks ago, played an outstanding first game. "I was a little nervous at first," she said after the game, "but after that there were a lot of shots--so I had no time to be nervous." Right wing Vicki may have helped calm Williams' nerves as she capitalized on a missed Terrier slapshot, flying down the ice and scooting the puck into the net early in the second period.
But B.U. tasted revenge quickly, when the puck glided between the legs of defenseman Julie Starr, and Terrier Lisa Cowen scooped it up and pushed it past Williams.
Yet another wrist shot strayed into the net for B.U. at 6:58, and though freshman Alex Lightfoot brought the crowd to its feet with a quick breakaway soon after the goal, she failed to tally for the Crimson.
During the third period Harvard really showed its stuff. With the score 5-1 after B.U.'s Maureen Mann scored seven minutes into the period--junior co-captain Lauren Norten seized a power play opportunity, scoring an unassisted goal at 10:32.
A minute or so later, Reed took advantage of some confusion in front of the B.U. crease, nudging the puck past the goal line for the final marker of the evening.
First-year Coach Rita Harder, a former star skater for Brown, said she thought the team looked "basically good, but we have to clean up a few details."
"Our skills are good, but we still haven't pulled together as a team," she added.