Embroiled in a tight 1-0 game with ECAC foe Quinnipiac in the second period on Saturday, the Harvard women’s hockey team pulled away after co-captain Julie Chu quickly substituted in at the end of a penalty, received a long pass in front of the defense, and buried the Bobcats’ hopes for an upset.
The Crimson (14-3-1, 11-2-0 ECAC) eventually finished an unblemished weekend by defeating Quinnipiac (6-15-0, 3-10-0) by a 5-0 final.
Chu’s goal came on a precision pass up the ice from senior forward Liza Solley. After getting the puck, she simply faked left, got the Bobcats’ goalie Janelle Wolitski to go low, and then flicked it up backhand into the back of the net.
“I was able to sneak behind the defense and Liza made a great saucer pass on my tape,” Chu said. “I was trying to get [Wolitski] moving side to side, and then I knew I had to put it over her.”
Just 30 seconds later, sophomore Kati Vaughn scored her second career goal on the power play when she flung the puck on net from the top center of the offensive zone. The score came just seconds into a power play that had upset the Bobcats bench because of what it saw as a phantom penalty call on Antoinette Maldonado.
“I was not happy with our sense of urgency in the first period,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “We played with conviction from then on out, though.”
The Crimson’s opening tally came just 4:15 into the contest off the stick of freshman Amy Uber, who notched her first career goal on the play. Senior winger Katie Johnston kept hammering the puck at the right corner of the net and finally found a seam as the puck went by Wolitski and into the middle of the crease. Uber finished the job from there by burying it in the net.
Fellow rookie Jen Brawn also got the first goal of her career in the third period, extending the Crimson lead to 4-0.
“It’s always a highlight to us on the bench,” said Stone about having two players net their first scores.
Down the stretch in the third period, Quinnipiac made a bold move and decided to pull its goalie with over four minutes left to play. At the 17:14 mark, sophomore Sarah Wilson finished the scoring by getting the puck up ice and beating a diving defender for an empty-net score.
All was not perfect for the Crimson, however. Continuing a trend from Friday’s game against Princeton, the Harvard defense gave up its most shots in the final frame. The Crimson held the Bobcats to just nine chances total on net in the first two periods, and then gave up 12 in the last one.
After the game, Stone and the team talked about some of the things that the Crimson still needed to improve upon.
“We need to take care of the puck,” Stone said. “We cannot pass our problems to someone else, as we call it.”
When the final horn sounded, Harvard’s defense had held strong and repelled Quinnipiac, its six power plays, and the minute of extra-skater play in the third period. Sophomore goaltender Brittany Martin made no major mistakes in net and tallied 21 saves en route to her fourth shutout of the season.
—Staff writer Gabriel M. Velez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.