The Harvard women’s ice hockey team may have escaped the snowstorm in Boston on its weekend road trip, but it certainly could not avoid the blizzard.
The No. 8 Crimson (12-8-4, 7-4-4 ECAC) was blown away by Ivy rival Princeton (14-6-4, 10-3-2 ECAC) Friday night by a 6-1 margin. Although Harvard rallied to knock off Quinnipiac (9-16-5, 3-12-3 ECAC) Saturday with a 3-0 shutout, the stunning result against the Tigers left Harvard with an uphill battle in the regular season’s final weeks to earn home games in the opening round of the conference tournament.
The top four teams in the ECAC standings will host the quarterfinals, but the Crimson’s two-point weekend leaves it mired in fifth with four games left on the league docket.
HARVARD 3, QUINNIPIAC 0
Harvard showed few ill effects of the previous night’s demolition, starting out the Bobcats game at the Northford Ice Pavilion with a quick power-play goal in the first period. At 14:45 in the frame, junior Katie Johnston scored a Crimson man advantage with freshman Jenny Brine and senior Jennifer Raimondi picking up the assists. Raimondi’s helper was her team-high 18th assist of the season.
“In terms of consistency, our offensive varies from game to game,” captain Carrie Schroyer said. “We were beaten so badly [against Princeton], it got our adrenaline, and we came out really fired up.”
The early goal would stand up for the duration, as senior netminder Ali Boe racked up her school-record 14th career shutout, holding Quinnipiac scoreless with 21 saves. Boe’s counterpart, Bobcats goalie Connie Craig, finished with 24 stops and succeeded in blanking the Harvard power play the rest of the way.
It finished 1-for-11 on the afternoon but held Quinnipiac to a woeful 0-for-9 on its own power play in a whistle-heavy encounter that saw two game misconduct penalties—to Johnston and the Bobcats’ Nicolette Leone—assessed within seconds of each other in the final period.
“The game became very rough,” Raimondi said. “We were on the wrong end of some bad calls, and it hindered our ability to get into a rhythm.”
Harvard’s second goal came at 17:21 of the middle period. Brine, the team’s leading scorer with 13 goals on the year, further demonstrated her offensive prowess when she took a feed from sophomore forward Laura Brady to increase the lead to 2-0.
Junior Jennifer Sifers sealed the win only 34 seconds into the final frame, sneaking past the Quinnipiac defense to score unassisted. From there, the matchup devolved into a sloppy, 13-penalty third period.
“The referee let the game get out of control,” Schroyer said. “It was very physical, out of control, really not safe, which you hate to see in women’s hockey.”
PRINCETON 6, HARVARD 1
No. 6 Princeton proved to be too much for Harvard, outperforming the Crimson at every facet of the game in a 6-1 rout at Baker Rink. Freshman netminder Brittany Martin suffered her first collegiate defeat
“We weren’t ready for it,” Raimondi said. “It was not a fun loss for anyone, and it stung. But if you don’t come to play, that can happen.”
The Tigers set the tone with a dominant 16-1 edge in shots on goal in the opening period and scored the first of their six unanswered goals when Brittany Salmon cashed in at 15:13 into the frame. Adding insult to injury, the Tigers scored short-handed. Sifers helped the Crimson avoid the shutout when she scored on that same power play more than a minute later, with 2:51 left in the game. But the lopsided 49-16 final shot count told the story.
“They outshot us by a huge margin,” Schroyer said. “They controlled the flow in their offensive zone, dominated in the defensive zone, and we didn’t get a lot of offensive opportunities.”
Martin, who split time with Boe on the weekend, wound up with 43 saves in the defeat, while Princeton keeper Roxanne Gaudiel needed only 15 stops to hold Harvard to a single goal. The five-goal loss matched a pair of 6-1 drubbings at the hands of Minnesota-Duluth in November as the Crimson’s worst results of the season.
The Crimson seeks to get back on track with the Beanpot final against Boston College tomorrow night and home games versus Cornell and Colgate this weekend.
—Staff writer Abigail M. Baird can be reached at email@example.com.
—Staff writer Jonathan Lehman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.