Harvard (5-0-0, 2-0-0 ECAC) downed the Purple Eagles (2-6-2) 4-0 and 3-1 in its first two games of the year at Bright Hockey Center.
Crimson coach Katey Stone notched victory number 175 with the shutout on Saturday, while co-captain Angela Ruggiero broke the Harvard record for most goals by a defenseman with her 73rd career tally on Sunday.
Junior winger Nicole Corriero extended her scoring streak to five games with one goal and two assists over the weekend.
Harvard 3, Niagara 1
Corriero broke a 1-1 tie at the start of the third period, scoring the eventual game-winning goal on a pass from sophomore center Julie Chu 30 seconds into the period.
The goal came as a relief for Corriero, who thought she had broken the tie with a goal in the second period until realizing a whistle had been blown just before the score.
“It was definitely an awesome feeling to get it back,” Corriero said. “Chu gave me the perfect the pass and I shot it as hard as I could. I guess the goalie was still moving.”
Corriero also had an opportunity in the first period. Niagara’s Jessica Clermont prevented her from getting a shot off a short-handed breakaway by taking a tripping penalty at 9:46.
Corriero’s goal broke a scoring drought that began after Niagara scored the first goal the Crimson had conceded all season at 11:05 in the first period and was nearly ended by Harvard several times.
“Because this game was tied for two periods, you never knew what was going to happen,” Corriero said. “They could get a break and come in score or we could capitalize on one of our 100,000 opportunities.”
“Either we were too aggressive or [Niagara goalie Allison Rutledge] was letting up really big rebounds so it’d go right past us and they’d transition the other way out of the zone,” Ruggiero said. “Or they were just holding us up and we weren’t getting our stick on the ice, because they’re a physical team.”
In a repeat performance of the day before, freshman forward Katie Johnston put the Crimson on the board in the first period. Co-captain center Lauren McAuliffe passed to junior defenseman Ashley Banfield for a shot from the point. Johnston pounded the rebound home for her second collegiate goal.
The final Harvard tally of the game came in the middle of the third period, when Ruggiero flicked the puck at the goal off Niagara co-captain Lindsay Vine’s arm, deflecting it into the net for the score and pushing Ruggiero past Charlotte Joslin ’90 for most goals by a Harvard defenseman.
The third period saw Harvard switch up the lines a bit. The final frame also seemingly featured Ruggiero on every other shift.
“We needed to find different ways to score,” Stone said. “We did that in the third period. We adjusted our special teams just to get different looks at the net because straight-on rebounds weren’t happening right away.”