The woman who answered the phone in the Bowdoin Athletic Office yesterday didn't even know the school had a woman's hockey team. And on the home swing of its two-day trip through Maine, the Harvard squad almost overlooked that fact, too.
But the icewomen managed to put together two superb periods of hockey--on the heels of their worst first period of the year--to post a 7-1 victory over the hapless Polar Bears in Brunswick yesterday.
"We came out slowly--extremely slowly," Harvard Assistant Coach Bill MacDonald said afterwards. "We had just had a tough game up at Colby and some of the girls may have been overlooking the Bowdoin game."
The Polar Bears' 1-0 lead after the first was enough incentive, though, to bring the Crimson minds back to the game at hand. By the time the final buzzer had sounded, 12 different Harvard skaters had been involved in the scoring, including the top four defensemen.
The win raised the Harvard record to 11-7 while Bowdoin fell to 3-9. More important, though, the victory--which came just one day after the icewomen suffered a disappointing 4-1 loss at Colby--keeps the Crimson's EAIAW playoff hopes alive. Vying with Colby, Cornell and Dartmouth for the tourney's last two spots (UNH, Providence, Northeastern and Princeton have secured the top four), the Crimson closes out its regular season Saturday against Princeton at Bright Center.
"The committee [which will extend the bids this weekend] will really look at how we do Saturday against Princeton and how Colby does against Northeastern," MacDonald said "If we do well and Northeastern blows Colby out. I'd have to say we'd get one of the spots."
A loss yesterday, however, would have all but extinguished any Crimson playoff hopes, and after the game's first 20 minutes, things looked bleak for the icewomen. The Polar Bears went on top first, opening the day's scoring just 2.24 into the match. Bowdoin's Jennifer Birmingham took the puck from teammate Anni Utryhoven on the play and then sent a quick backhand past Harvard goalie Cheryl Tate to give the Polar Bears their early lead.
While Tate then stopped Bowdoin in the remainder of the first. Polar Bear netminder Susie Leonard did the same, surviving 13 Crimson shots to leave Harvard scoreless after one.
"We just couldn't seem to get anything in," MacDonald said. "They had only three shots on goal in the entire first period. We had 13 but came away with nothing."
But the Crimson turned the tables in the second, putting two goals past Leonard while limiting Bowdoin to a single shot. Harvard first struck at 4:49 when blueliner Sue Newell slapped the puck into the twines to tie the score at one. The icewomen went on top for good when Amy Spaulding took a similar slapshot at the 12:36 mark.
With a scanty 2-1 lead after two, the Crimson took little time increasing its lead, upping the score to 3-1 when Kathy Carrol scored just 35 seconds into the final period.
Crimson Co-Captain Alex Lightfoot added two quick goals of her own--with a Megan Berthold score sandwiched in the middle--to bring the score to 6-1. When blueliner Deb Taft finished the day's scoring at the 14:24 mark, all four Harvard defensemen (Taft, Berthold, Newell and Spaulding) had tallied.
"It was really good to see the defense do some scoring for a change," MacDonald said. "They really deserve the credit for this win."