Junior forward Katie Johnston registered three assists on the night and helped to break the ice in the first period with a shot on net that resulted in Harvard’s first goal in its game against the Big Green.
It took three periods, but by the end of the No. 9 Harvard women’s hockey team’s matchup against Dartmouth last night, it was clear that the rivalry was still as fresh as ever.
After fighting a tight game for two periods, the Crimson (8-5-2, 5-2-2 ECAC) broke through in the third to take the game 4-1, leaving the Big Green (5-6-0, 2-5-0) and its goalie, Kate Lane, seeing red.
“I thought we put a lot of pressure on them,” Harvard head coach Katey Stone said. “I felt like we played pretty hard for almost sixty minutes. We had one hiccup in the game down the stretch. We’re not that kind of team—we can’t spend that much time in our defensive zone.”
After freshman Jenny Brine scored her third goal of the night on a play in which she charged into the net, Lane became upset and frustrated that no call had been made on the play. To her dismay, and Brine’s benefit, the referee awarded the Crimson the goal and a 3-0 lead that was more than enough for Harvard senior goaltender Ali Boe to uphold.
Dating back through last season, the Crimson has now taken the last four meetings between the two teams.
Harvard seemed to have the Big Green’s number right from the opening face off of this matchup, as it outshot Dartmouth 20-11 in the first two periods.
Brine drew first blood early in the second period. Both squads came out running up and down the ice with energy and rhythm that had not been evident in the opening period. Dartmouth had the first opportunity to score, but the Crimson counterattack actually broke through. Senior forward Jennifer Raimondi led a charge up the ice, and after a failed attempt to convert the breakaway, an errant shot by junior winger Katie Johnston was put home by Brine to give Harvard a 1-0 lead.
“[Brine’s] in the right place,” Stone said. “She’s a very smart player and knows how to anticipate where the puck is going to go.”
Overall, the Crimson threw 13 shots on goal during the middle frame as it mounted a number of attacks and worked the fast break and forecheck well to keep continuous pressure on the Big Green. Harvard almost doubled its lead when late in the period Brady received the puck on the right side of an open Dartmouth net. But the Crimson had to settle for a 1-0 lead when the period bell sounded.
The contest started off slowly, as neither team found a consistent rhythm in the opening period. Harvard managed to get off a couple tight chances in front of Lane, while Dartmouth’s first opportunity to get the puck past Boe came with just 29 seconds left in the period. Even the only two penalties in the frame cancelled each other out as they overlapped for most of the time and the 4-on-4 hockey that ensued was just as back-and-forth.
In the third, however, play became more physical as eight penalties were called, including five on the Big Green that came late in the matchup when Dartmouth seemed to become frustrated.
“You expect that from a team, especially if you are up 3-0 at the end of a game,” Johnston said. “You have to get your head up even more so than at the beginning of the game.”
The Big Green’s offense has struggled all season to find the back of the net against good teams. In a three-game stretch against No. 1 St. Lawrence, Clarkson and Brown, Dartmouth did not even notch a single goal. Last night, while the Big Green finished zero for four during its one-man advantage situations, the Crimson was two of six on its own powerplay, with a final tap-in by freshman Sarah Wilson to seal the deal.
Veterans Raimondi and Johnston helped spark the offense by registering three assists each on the night.
“I think I was a little more confident today, and a little more relaxed than I usually am,” Johnston said. “I just seemed to click well with my two linemates.”
The win against Dartmouth was the fourth game for Harvard in a span of 12 days—during which the Crimson went 5-1. With the victory, Harvard heads into the break with the momentum that it will hope to carry through for the rest of the season as it did last year.
“It’s better than last year,” Stone said. “As I said to the kids, I am really proud of how they played between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are a better team than we were at Thanksgiving.”
—Staff writer Gabriel M. Velez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.