UMD not only had Caroline Ouellette and an array of offensive weapons, but it also had Jenny Potter—who played for the 1998 Olympic team—and still could not makke it.
If there was one reason UMD found itself on the outside looking in, it was its goaltending. As a team, its save percentage was .907 and it gave up an average of 2.31 goals per game.
While the stats were not horrible, inconsistency plagued the team. In its two meetings with the Crimson last season, it gave up two and then seven goals.
As Harvard saw this weekend, the situation has definitely changed this season.
“Riitta Schaublin played the best of any goaltender I have seen play in years,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “There was nothing to shoot at and when there was—it was criminal, she robbed us over and over again. To have someone back there like that is a huge confidence boost.”
On Saturday, Schaublin, UMD’s sophomore goaltender, set a team record 43 saves in beating the Crimson, 6-3.
Schaublin’s best save on the day came late in the game when she caused the Crimson faithful to groan loudly in frustration.
With just over three minutes left in the game, Harvard was on the powerplay and tri-captain Julie Chu had the puck behind the net and passed it out in front to freshman Sarah Vaillancourt on the left side of the goal.
Although the left side of the net seemed open when Vaillancourt shot the puck, Schaublin quickly came across the net and picked the puck out of the air with her glove.
The only weakness Schaublin showed was her ability to cover up the rebounds and prevent second chances.
Harvard’s third goal came when Schaublin couldn’t keep the puck from bouncing around in front of the net where it eventually hit off Chu’s skate and in.
Nevertheless, Harvard managed three goals total and only that one came as a result of uncontrolled rebounds.
“I think today we put a lot of pressure on their goaltender,” Stone said. “Today, [Schaublin] was the answer.”
Both Harvard and UMD have a number of national team members and some prolific goalscorers.