The Harvard women’s hockey team lived, and then almost died, by the quick, surprise scores Friday night.
After opening the scoring with two quick goals late in the first period, the Crimson (2-0-0, 1-0-0 ECAC) had to hold on for a tight win after Quinnipiac (2-4-2, 0-1-1) would not go away and answered quickly late in the game. When captain Carrie Schroyer flung the puck from inside the Harvard blue line with nine seconds left to play, the Crimson could finally take a deep breath and coast to a 5-3 win over the Bobcats at Bright Hockey Center.
The win, however, was not a pretty one, as the Crimson almost relinquished its early lead.
“I think there were lots of ugly moments today,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “We need to improve everywhere, and we will. Our effort was sporadic tonight—that’s not typical of us.”
In one of the bright spots, senior Jennifer Raimondi’s hustle led to Harvard’s first goal, and then 48 seconds later Schroyer put Harvard up 2-0.
After a back-and-forth stretch—with Quinnipiac just inches away from netting a goal a few times—Raimondi found the open space during a power play and fired a slapshot at the Bobcats’s Connie Craig. Craig could not keep hold of the puck, and freshman Sarah Wilson pulled it away and then put it up and over the Quinnipiac goalie’s right shoulder.
Schroyer notched her first score of the season late in the first period when she put the puck right between Craig’s legs on a scramble in front of the net.
Despite being down early, the Bobcats never let the game slip away as the Crimson’s flow and solid play turned into a sloppy struggle to keep the lead.
One bright spot for Harvard was the play of Wilson. She finished with two goals, adding the second in the second period after the Bobcats pulled within one when Vicky Graham knocked the puck off senior Ali Boe’s shoulder and into the net. Raimondi also assisted on Wilson’s second tally and finished with four assists on the night.
Still, Wilson knows that the team has a lot of work to do.
“I think we kind of learned our lesson, that we just can’t take any team lightly,” Wilson said. “We just didn’t come out as ready as we should have.”
During that same middle frame, neither team found much rhythm despite each netting a goal. For the Crimson, a number of breakaways did not produce any points as Quinnipiac kept breaking up two-on-one and three-on-one Harvard advantages down the ice.
“We had a lot of odd-man rushes, and we didn’t bury the puck,” Stone said. “We have to learn that and we will. We were very inefficient today and the puck bounced everywhere. We made it so much harder on our selves then it needed to be.”
In fact, the last two frames were almost the Crimson demise, as the Bobcats outshot it 24-to-16 and scored three goals to Harvard’s two.
Eighteen of those shots came in the third period, when Boe had to save a barrage at the end to seal the win for the Crimson. Along with the power kill unit, Boe saved two key penalties in the last five minutes.
“The big moments came when Ali Boe kept us in the game,” Stone said. “We have a lot of work to do. We’re young, but we are going to be fine. We just have to weather the storm and Ali understands that fortunately we have someone who can keep us in the games until we figure out what we are doing.”
—Staff writer Gabriel M. Velez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.