Quick collegiate women's hockey quiz:
What do New Hampshire, St. Laurent, Providence, Queen's College, Brown, Boston College, and North-eastern have in common?
Answer--Each has handed Harvard a one-goal loss this season.
In seven out of 20 games this year, the Crimson (6-12-2) has come up short by the slimmest of margins. The pattern continued Sunday afternoon in a most maddening fashion: up 2-0 with just over three minutes to play, Northeastern raced past Harvard's tiring defense to win in overtime 3-2.
At lest when the men's basketball team loses, it loses BIG.
"It's a real bummer," said freshman defender Holly Leitzes after the loss. "It's nice to know we have the capability to win these games; we just never seem to get lucky in the end."
Credit coach John Dooley for refusing to get discouraged by the streak of frustration; even as his team loses in new and exciting ways, he remains upbeat about the progress gained in what is in truth a rebuilding year.
"The team is honestly playing the best it has all year," Dooley says. "Playing like this, we can really give our upcoming opponents a hard time."
And with no games left outside the friendly confines of Bright Hockey Center, look for the Crimson to do just that.
A Shellacking: Easy to overlook in the aftermath of Harvard's recurring one-upsmanship was an impressive 3-0 shellacking of Cornell on Saturday.
The final tally could have been much worse; the Crimson took 47 shots on net and only an inspired performance by goalie Chantel Toth saved the Big Red from a bigger roasting.
Senior Kim Landry posted two goals in the game, en route to a three-goal weekend; afterwards, Dooley gushed with enthusiasm about her recent performance.
"Kim has been playing fantastic; the two she had [against Cornell] were major-league goals," he said. "But the great asset of Landry, her offense aside, is her wonderful sense of defense. She understands what her job is, and she always knows where to be on the ice."
Recruiting Tales: The future looks much brighter for the Crimson; the recent NCAA cutbacks in women's hockey scholarships have given Harvard the chance to compete in recruiting areas it never could have before.
A.J. Mleczko, sister of current sophomore defender Winkie, heads the list of potential recruits. "A true sniper," in Dooley's words, Mleczko attends Taft School in Connecticut and dominates the Constitution State's private school league.
Other Crimson candidates include Colleen Malek, a Saginaw, Mich., native drawn to Harvard by the presence of Midwesterners such as Tripp Tracy on the men's team, and Lauren Turner, Co-Captain of her Long Island, N.Y., boys' team.
Added to the young nucleus the Crimson possesses, maybe some new blood can turn those one-goal nightmares into W's.