W. Hockey Upsets No. 1 Dartmouth Despite Questionable Calls
When the buzzer sounded on Saturday, the No. 6 Harvard women's hockey team was not complaining about its 3-2 upset victory over No. 1 Dartmouth. But it had plenty of chances to argue with the officials during the game.
The referees made highly questionable calls in Dartmouth's favor in each of the three periods. In the first, freshman goaltender Jessica Ruddock appeared to stop Dartmouth forward Jennifer Wiehn from point-blank range on the breakaway.
But the ref bit his whistle, allowing just enough time for Ruddock to step back and let the puck slip over the goalline to pull the Big Green even, 1-1.
"I didn't think it went in," Ruddock said. "It was on the goalline underneath my pad and I was trying to hold it there. The first shot didn't go in but I think she banged at it again and pushed it across the line after the whistle.
"I didn't get to see what happened but I guess it must have been right on the goal line when the ref made the call."
Harvard never got a makeup chance because Correne Bredin, one of Dartmouth's imposing defensemen, knocked over senior winger Tammy Shewchuk from behind on a breakaway late in the second. Bredin went to the box, giving the Crimson a six-second two-man advantage, but the officials did not give Shewchuk a penalty shot.
The referees did wave off a goal in the final period, only the call went against Harvard again. With nine minutes left and the two teams deadlocked at 2-2, junior co-captain Jennifer Botterill squeezed a rebound past Dartmouth netminder Amy Ferguson which was quickly swept away by a Big Green defenseman. The goal judge lit the lamp behind the boards, but on the ice head referee Erik Schmakel ruled that the puck had never crossed the goalline.
Botterill--whose status as captain allows her to talk to the officials--rushed to Schmakel for an explanation, and Schmakel then skated to the Harvard bench to make his decision clear to Harvard Coach Katey Stone.
"It's always worth it to get your two cents in, and I pushed Erik a little bit that time," Stone said. "Anytime the light goes on and the goal is waved off I'm going to question the officials' call."
Minding the Net
Harvard's offense was flying on Saturday, taking at least 13 shots in each period. But Ferguson--who had never lost to the Crimson before this weekend--was stingy in the crease, stuffing Harvard's top forward line from the doorstep all day and diving from post to post to keep rebounds out of the goal.
It took a near-perfect shot from Botterill--a rifle from the slot that scorched the roof of the net--to get the game-winning goal.
Ruddock also came up big for the Crimson, especially in the third period. Dartmouth pulled Ferguson in the final minute of regulation and forced three faceoffs deep in the Harvard zone. The Big Green threw five shots on net in the final 27 seconds, but Ruddock stopped every one of them to secure the victory for Harvard.
" knew Dartmouth would send a bunch of people to the crease if they got a shot on goal after the last faceoff,"
Ruddock said. "I just wanted to keep the puck in front of me so I knew what was going on."
Maybe that was because Ruddock had already given her teammates--and the fans--one scare when the puck was behind her early in the game. Midway through the second period, it was right behind her left skate after she had ventured five feet out of the crease to play an uncontested puck.
The 1,066 fans in attendance made a collective gasp as Ruddock inched back to the goal, but sophomore defenseman Pamela Van Reesema raced to the net to shove the puck under Ruddock's pads, forcing the officials to blow the play dead and avoid the fluke goal.
"That was just for fun--I like to entertain the crowd," Ruddock joked. "When that happens and I don't know where the puck is, the best thing to do is not to make any sudden movements so I don't kick it into the goal."
Sophomore winger Tracy Catlin won the puck in the corner and threw it to center ice, where Suurkask and senior center Tara Dunn were waiting in the slot. Dunn tipped the puck to Suurkask, who backhanded it through Ferguson's five-hole to even the score at 2-2.
Suurkask and Dunn found each other for several chances throughout the game, both on the breakaway and in the set offense. This is not unexpected for the two Canadian roommates in Winthrop House. They had been linemates for most of their Harvard careers before Stone decided to move Dunn to the blueline in November. Dunn returned to the second line when co-captain Angie Francisco went on the disabled list earlier this month.
"We had to make a few adjustments when Angie went down and Tara joined our line," said Suurkask, who has scored game-tying goals in the third period in two consecutive games. "Now things are coming together and we are finally able to read each other on offense."