In its storied 26-year history, the No. 3 Harvard women’s hockey team had never opened a season with more than six consecutive wins.
But this weekend, the Crimson (8-0-0, 2-0-0 ECAC) looks to extend its win-streak to 10 games with games against Cornell (2-5-1, 0-4-0) and Colgate (11-4-1, 4-0-0) on Friday and Saturday ay Bright Hockey Center.
In a four-day span this past week, Harvard had two consecutive wins over ranked opponents on third period goals by co-captain Angela Ruggiero.
Now, according to Harvard coach Katey Stone, the Crimson will look to come back on Friday both rested and with a few minor adjustments.
“We’ve had a really long week-and-a-half, and we’ve had some really tough games,” Stone said. “We’ll just loosen up Thursday and tweak a few things strategically. Then we’ll be ready to go on Friday night.”
The tweaks are sure to include working on keeping the pressure off the Crimson goalie Alie Boe. Against the Friars on Tuesday night, the sophomore Boe came up huge for Harvard, making save after save in net against flurries of offensive attacks.
“We hurt ourselves,” Stone said. “We hung our goaltender out to dry.”
The Crimson hopes to work on reenergizing the offense and not leave the game hanging until the third period.
Stone feels that such late-game heroics, like Ruggiero’s game-winning goal Tuesday night against New Hampshire, put unnecessary pressure on the entire team
“We were able to get a late-period goal that ended up being the difference but I think at times tonight we made it more difficult on ourselves than it needed to be,” Stone said.
Against Cornell, a team aveaging 3.0 goals per game, tightening the defense is a priority.
But the Big Red’s statistics are deceiving—No. 6 St. Lawrence, the only ranked team Cornell has played to date, defeated them 3-1 and 6-0.
Similarly, Colgate averages 3.0 points per game and fell twice to its only ranked opponent, No. 9 Mercyhurst, 5-0 and 4-2 in consecutive contests.
Harvard will look to jump out to an early lead and utilize all four lines against both teams.
“We definitely want to get some exposure for the freshmen and the players who don’t get to play as much and see what they can do,” Ruggiero said. “If they produce this weekend, maybe they’ll have the chance to play on a higher line.”
The Crimson’s top liners could use the extra breaks on the ice, especially given the games against No. 8 UNH and No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth on the horizon next week.
Making adjustments on both ends of the ice will be vital if the Crimson hopes to pull off a string of three victories against these Top-10 ranked teams.
Harvard hosts Cornell tonight at 7 p.m. and Colgate tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m.