Struggles Prelude Offensive Breakout

The Harvard women’s hockey team started its season with a bang this weekend, beating Quinnipiac and Princeton on the road. The pair of wins gave the Crimson a perfect start both overall and in ECAC play.

Against the Bobcats (1-9, 0-2 ECAC) on Friday, Harvard (2-0, 2-0) trailed 1-0 going into the third period, but two goals from sophomore forward Kate Buesser gave the Crimson a 2-1 victory.

Saturday, Harvard put the game out of reach early, jumping out to a 6-1 lead and holding off a late Tigers rally to win 6-4.

“I think it’s a great start to the season,” junior goalie Christina Kessler said. “I think we will only get better going forward.”


Harvard started strong on Saturday at Princeton (1-3, 0-2), spreading out six goals over the first two and a half periods to take a five-goal lead. But the Tigers were able to claw their way back into the game, scoring three goals in the third before falling.

“We came out flying, [but] had some mental lapses and let them back in the game,” tri-captain Jenny Brine said. “That kind of killed the buzz.”

Sophomore forward Liza Ryabkina sparked the Crimson offensive effort with a hat trick, while junior defenseman Cori Bassett added two goals of her own.

Despite outshooting Princeton 21-5 in the first period, Harvard only managed one goal in the frame off of a backhanded shot by Ryabkina 6:22 into the game. Senior defenseman Kati Vaughn notched the assist on the play.

Bassett’s first goal came 3:05 into the second period and was assisted by Brine and junior forward Anna McDonald.

Princeton responded quickly when freshman forward Charissa Stadnyk scored a power-play goal to cut Harvard’s lead to 2-1.

Bassett added her second score, a powerful shot from the left side of the net, with the Crimson playing shorthanded nine minutes later. At 16:05 Basset and senior forward Sarah Wilson combined following a faceoff to set up another Ryabkina goal.

Early in the third period, Harvard scored two power-play goals, taking a 6-1 lead. Wilson notched her first of the game at 7:13 and Ryabkina completed her hat trick at 8:54.

The Tigers attempted a late rally, scoring three goals, including a power-play score by freshman forward Paula Romanchuk, to cut Harvard’s advantage to 6-4.

“I think we got a little too comfortable with the lead,” Kessler said. “We need to work on our penalty kills.”


Harvard won in dramatic fashion Friday in Hamden, Conn. against Quinnipiac. The Crimson went down 1-0 in the second period, but two third-period goals from Buesser saved the game.

“We came out a little tentative,” Brine said. “We didn’t pull through until the third period. It was the first game of the season, it took us a while to get it together.”

Buesser’s winning effort with just over a minute left in the game was set up by junior forward Randi Griffin. Griffin took the puck behind the Bobcat net and attempted a wraparound shot. Her effort left the puck on the goal line, and Buesser charged in and forced the puck into the net.

The game’s first period was uneventful, as Harvard managed eight shots and did not score, despite having two power-plays early in the game.

“I think it’s a lot easier to start in your home rink where you’re comfortable, where you know the fans are going to be cheering for you,” Kessler said.

Quinnipiac jumped out to a 1-0 lead 1:19 into the second period. Freshman forward Stacey Kmill deflected senior defenseman Trudy Reyns’ shot into the net for the Bobcat’s first and only goal. The Crimson shot six times during the period, but was unable to get on the board.

Harvard picked up its play in the third period. At 2:32, Buesser’s unassisted wrist shot beat Quinnipiac goalie Nanna Holm Glaas to tie the game at one. The Crimson managed a few more shots, but none could beat Holm Glaas until Buesser’s late game-winner.

Despite uneven play, the Harvard players were happy that they were able to pull out the win.

“Last season we were known for not giving up, and that was something we wanted to prove again this year,” Brine said.