It took almost 30 shots, but the Harvard women’s hockey team found a way to beat Union goalkeeper Kate Gallagher Friday night at the Bright Hockey Center.
At the 16:54 mark in the second period, sophomore Elizabeth Parker redirected a high shot from rookie forward Hillary Crowe to give the Crimson a 1-0 lead.
Captain Alisa Baumgartner then put the game away in the third period when her shot from the right flank snuck past Gallagher with 7:07 left to play in the contest. The forward made her first appearance since last season when she sustained a shoulder injury that kept her off the ice for over 10 months.
“It’s good to get the legs going again,” said Baumgartner after the Crimson's 2-0 win. “It was definitely nice to be back out there. I made some good plays, [but] I [also] made a lot of mistakes, so from here on out, it’s about getting better on the little things.”
Defensively, Harvard put on a strong performance, limiting the visitors to 15 total shots. Junior goalkeeper Laura Bellamy captured her second clean sheet of the season, but it was her counterpart who stole the show.
Gallagher seemed impenetrable for almost two periods, showing good reflexes and alertness against an offense that ranks second in the league. The goalkeeper stopped 12 shots in the first period alone, a frame where the Crimson, led by sophomore Lyndsey Fry’s and sophomore Gina McDonald’s three shots apiece, came out of the gates firing.
“[Union’s] goaltender played out of her mind—I thought she was awesome,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “She made it look easy tonight.”
Union could not keep up with Harvard, putting up six shots in the first period and five in the second. The Crimson did not relent in the second frame, testing Gallagher with 18 shots, one of which got past the junior goalie.
Parker finally gave the home team what it wanted when she stuck her stick out in the air to hit the puck, which was sailing wide left, into the back of the net.
“I was just trying to get a stick on it, hoping to get it towards the net. It was a great pass [from Crowe],” Parker said.
Fry once again led Harvard with five shots in the period, followed by sophomore Marissa Gedman’s three attempts.
It was Gedman who initiated the play that sealed the victory in the final minutes of the contest. The defender, racing down the middle of the ice, saw Baumgartner skating down the right side and passed her the puck. With freshman Samantha Reber standing near the goal, the senior realized that the rookie had drawn defenders away, giving her enough space for a shot. Baumgartner let one fly, and the puck slid right under Gallagher’s legs and into the net.
“I wasn’t expecting it—it was definitely a plus that it went in,” Baumgartner said. “I saw Reber going to the net hard, and honestly, I was just looking to put the puck on net for a rebound for her. But luckily, it went in.”
It was a dream return for Baumgartner, who made it through physical therapy in time for the rest of her senior campaign.
“We’re sort of getting our roster back full again,” Stone said. “We’re desperate to get everybody healthy and back in the lineup, and that’s when we are at our best, obviously.”
Harvard finished with 36 shots on the night, outskating its opponent almost the entire contest. The Crimson faces Rensselaer on Saturday for its second home game in as many days.
—Staff writer Brian A. Campos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org