The Harvard women's ice hockey team outplayed Northeastern in two of the three periods last night at Bright Center. But the middle period belonged to the Huskies.
And that's all the Huskies needed to pin a 7-1 defeat on the icewomen. Despite a superlative effort from Crimson goalie Cheryl Tate, Northeastern proved too strong, scoring five second-period goals en route to its fifth straight victory.
The loss dropped the Crimson record to 3-2, while the Huskies, one of the East's top ranked teams, ran theirs to 6-1.
"We played two good periods of hockey," Harvard Coach John Dooley said afterwards, "but we played a very poor second period. They're a good, strong, highly skilled team, which just took advantage of what we gave them."
But the Crimson refused to give anything in the first period, using a strong passing game to keep the puck away from the larger and quicker Northeastern squad.
Tate, meanwhile, sparked the team, making several diving saves to keep the game scoreless until the Harvard offense managed to light up the scoreboard Captain Alex Lightfoot took a pass from Jennifer White, skated by a Husky defender and put the puck just past Northeastern goalie Patti Hunt That goal, at the 12:20 mark, would be the Crimson's only of the night.
The Huskies came out strong in the second taking snapshots from the blue line and keeping the icewomen on the defensive Tate who shut the Northeastern offense down in the first period by recording 18 saves-could not handle a shot by Carolyn Sullivan at the 8.45 mark. Sullivan's blast, from the blue line, tied the score at one.
Northeastern took the puck after the ensuing face off, controlled it for two minutes and then broke through the Crimson defense to score what turned out to be the game winner At 10:02, the Huskies Jill Toney put the puck past Tate's outstretched stick.
Just 29 seconds later, the Huskies struck again, once more on a slapshot from the blue line. Forward Pattie Magrath took the puck from teammate Lisa Sylvia, positioned herself, and then sent a rocket flying past Taste.
But the Huskies second-stanza scoring spree continued. Sharon Stidsen upped the score to 4-1 at the 14:15 mark, while Sullivan tallied her second of the night at 18:39, as Northeastern took a 5-1 lead into the final period.
"We started out mentally ahead, and then we lost it a bit," said a dejected Lightfoot. "And then we totally fell apart. We just let down," she said, explaining the squad's second period problems.
The two squads exchanged possessions in the early moments of the last period, but the Huskies broke through the Crimson defense at the 6:12 mark to put the score at 6-1 Northeastern's offense ended the night's assault when Roseanne Boyd put a slapshot past Tate with just over three minutes remaining.
"Cheryl (Taste) just played a super game" Dooley said "The problem was that when we play a good team like that. We are too slow in doing everything and we just can't complete our passes or out plays.
The icewomen will find little time to think about last night, though, as they begin preparing today for an important Ivy showdown tomorrow against Cornell.
"This loss will be a good experience for us We'll be a better team because of this beginning Saturday," Dooley said.