The No. 9 Crimson (14-10-2, 7-5-2 ECAC North) had no answer to the No. 6 Bears’ intensity in the first two periods. In those 40 minutes, Brown (18-7-7, 10-3-1) doubled Harvard’s shot output, 24-12, and outscored the Crimson 3-0. Not until the final period did Harvard mount a more consistent attack, firing nine shots to Brown’s six.
It was also in the third period that Harvard scored its only goal, on a power-play shot from the point by junior defenseman Pamela Van Reesema.
Up to that point, Brown’s second-string goaltender, sophomore Katie Germain, had been perfect, but largely untested. Van Reesema’s shot never left the ice but it eluded Germain’s line of sight until it was too late.
Aside from Van Reesema’s goal and a few spurts in the third, the Crimson’s offense was dismal.
“We played a little bit scared,” Van Reesema said.
The Bears, on the other hand, seized the opportunity to avenge their 4-2 loss to the Crimson at the Bright Hockey Center back in November.
“They pressured us from the beginning,” junior defender and captain Jamie Hagerman said. “We didn’t react, we let them dictate the play and the longer you let a team like that go, [the more trouble you’re in].”
Brown opened the scoring midway through the first period, when forward Kim Insalaco slid a soft backhand by Harvard goaltender Alison Kuusisto.
In the second period, both teams failed to score on several power-play opportunities early on, including a couple of five-on-three situations. The penalties, however, were still costly to the Crimson.
“The penalties hurt us a lot in the second period,” Van Reesema said. “A lot of us were out [on the ice] for a while. We couldn’t get our regular rotation going.”
Brown finally converted on the power play with 3:54 remaining in the second, when freshmen forward Kerry Nugent scored from in front of the net.
Brown would score again on the power play two minutes later. Insalaco sent a beautiful breakaway pass to sophomore winger Krissy McManus, who converted for the score.
“The played with a hanger the whole game, a forward who hangs back [instead of backchecking],” Van Reesema said. “Our defense had to be wary of the breakaway pass.”
Harvard finally solved the Bears’ attack in the third period, but couldn’t find enough offense of its own. Nonetheless, Harvard coach Katie Stone was pleased with her squad’s effort in the third period.
“In the first two periods we played a little timid,” Stone said. “In the third period, we didn’t think about the score and we won the third period.”
Stone said she is well aware that her team needs a more consistent effort in this weekend final games of the season, at home against Yale and No. 10 Princeton.
“We were only able to put 20 minutes together,” Stone said. “That’s not going to cut it.”