When the sticks hit the ice it was anybody's game. Neither the Harvard nor Dartmouth women's hockey team expected an easy win. No shocking upsets or predicted slaughters.
It was anybody's game. But the Big Green put its name on it with just 20 seconds remaining in OT, squeaking by Harvard, 3-2, with a goal.
Dartmouth took the game with a lot of strong skating and a little bit of luck.
"The third goal was so flukey," said Harvard's Martina Albright, "It went off the shaft of Judy Parish's stick. Up to that point it was a deserved overtime. They were having a good game too."
Harvard Coach John Dooley thought the win seemed kind of flukey too.
"We had the pressure in their end all the time," Dooley said, "but we couldn't get it by them and all of a sudden they come down and got a fluke goal and that was it."
That was it. Kaput. But Dooley wasn't unhappy with the Crimson performance.
"I thought this was the best game we've played all year," Dooley said. "Those kids played their hearts out."
Char Joslin kept the Crimson heartbeat going with a shorthanded goal in the opening minutes of the game. Harvard had just let two scoring oppurtunities glide by, failing to cash in on two consecutive power plays.
Suddenly, the situation was reversed. Both Kim Landry and Beverly Stickles skated to the penalty box, and the Crimson was two women down.
But, Joslin pointed the axe at the Big Green, scoring on a breakaway.
"Char was very with it this game," Elizabeth Hansen said. "That goal was crucial"
But the second period, the Crimson fire peetered out, and Dartmouth's Sarah Pettus tied up the game at 7:46.
"We seem to have a tough time in the second period," Albright said. "But I don't think we necessarily went down. I just think they steamed up and stepped up to us."
The Crimson got its skating legs again and dominated the third period. But it just couldn't poke the puck in the net.
"We had many many more oppurtunities than they did. Everyone hustled really well and we all passed really well," Joslin said. "We just couldn't finish it off."
Any clues to the case of the missing punch?
Big Green Kelley Coyne could be holding the vital clue in her glove.
"Kelley Coyne's been All-Ivy for a while, and she played super," Dooley said. "Generally, with the opportunities and shots we had today, 90 percent are goals. But against Kelley, who's the best goalie around, it just doesn't happen that way."
Although unable to beat Coyne, the Crimson's trip to Switzerland over break helped its play. The wider rink gave Harvard a good chance to practice its spacing and the nature of the tournament--with checking allowed--gave the Crimson a little practice with more aggressive play.
"We were definitely more physical," Joslin said, "which helped to get us into the game right away."
But hockey over the break took a lot out of the team and left a few martyrs. Hansen played with the flu, and Stickles and Sandra Whyte played injured.
"Now there are some kids that are sick an tired," Dooley said. "But, we'll be back."