Too bad for the Harvard women’s hockey team that the score is kept in goals and not shots.
For the second straight contest, the sixth-ranked Crimson (3-2-2, 2-2-2 ECAC) easily outshot an Ivy rival but due to staunch opposing goaltending and missed chances on the power play, saw its winless streak upped to four games.
“This was our first time on the road,” junior Liza Solley said. “And we’re still feeling it out.”
Harvard scraped out a 1-1 tie with host Brown (3-4-1, 2-1-1) on Saturday after a quick exchange of goals in the final period broke a lengthy scoreless lull.
HARVARD 1, BROWN 1
For all but a brief minute-and-a-half long span in the third period, Brown and Harvard found themselves locked in a defensive duel.
Crimson netminder Ali Boe went toe to toe with counterpart O’Hara Shipe for the opening 43:25 of the game before she was beaten on a one-timer by Kim McManus and the Bears third line. But Harvard’s own young tertiary offensive unit answered back only 92 seconds later when freshman Jenny Brine forced home a rebound on Shipe to equalize.
Shipe finished with 33 saves, while Boe racked up 26, most of them bailing a novice blue line corps with a lingering habit of committing turnovers in the defensive zone. As the Crimson defense continued working out the kinks, its offense struggled as well, the power play especially.
“We were trying a new formation,” Solley said. “We were a little bit disjointed in the attack. We had a lot of opportunities but we weren’t capitalizing.”
Despite entering Friday’s action as the top-ranked power play in the nation, Harvard languished with a man advantage in its pair of road clashes this weekend, going a fruitless 0-for-14 with an extra skater, 0-for-8 against Brown.
“We just didn’t have any luck this weekend,” senior Jennifer Raimondi said. “We were one step behind where we need to be, but we’ll get the power play back on track.”
With the draw to the Bears, the Crimson has already fallen to last year’s fourth and eight-place ECAC finishers and tied the sixth-place squad from a season ago. The promised conference parity in this Olympic year has been fulfilled in the early going.
“The scores are surprising people,” Raimondi said. “Every game means something, every game is up in the air, and every game we need to come out with our best effort to get a win. We’re seeing the bottom teams catch up and we expect a full season of exciting games.”
YALE 3, HARVARD 1
The Crimson fired everything but the kitchen sink at Sarah Love on Friday night, but the all-conference netminder was up to the challenge, tallying an astounding 46 saves to propel Yale (2-4-2, 2-2-1) to a 3-1 win at Ingalls Rink.
Coming off a weekend in which Harvard coach Katey Stone implored her skaters to put more pucks on net, the team responded, but could not get the better of Love.
“Love is a great goaltender,” Solley said. “She plays out of her mind against us. And she was controlling the rebounds really well.”
Its 47 shots were the most since the season opener, and the Crimson’s top line alone got off more shots on goal (19) than the entire Bulldogs team, which mustered only 17, but converted three into scores. The second period was particularly imbalanced, with Harvard outgunning Yale, 26 shots to four.
“Love had our number,” Raimondi said. “We were getting the shots on net, but they did a good job of keeping us to the outside and preventing us from getting to net.”
In that decisive and telling frame, the Crimson failed to capitalize on three of its six total unsuccessful power play chances.
“It’s a good lesson,” Solley said. “Now we go into Duluth having to work on some things. We say ‘let’s make the power play more of a threat.’”
The persistent Bulldogs lit the lamp once in each period: Deena Caplette commenced the scoring with a power-play strike in the first, Jenna Spring notched a goal early in the second, and freshman Sarah Tittman iced it with an empty-netter in the third.
The lone Harvard response came with a mere 53 seconds left in the game, when junior Jennifer Sifers finally put one past an exhausted Love and prevented the potential second shutout in the history of the rivalry.
“Obviously we’re competitive and we’d rather win than lose or tie,” Raimondi said. “But it’s an uphill battle and we’re working toward February and March. We’ll be where we need to be.”
The loss, nevertheless, marked the first time Harvard has dropped games to the Bulldogs in back-to-back seasons since 1981. Yale beat the Crimson in New Haven last year when Love totaled 48 saves.
—Staff writer Jonathan Lehman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.