It wasn’t looking good for the Harvard women’s hockey team midway through the second period of Saturday night’s matchup with Rensselaer. The Crimson trailed by three goals and was unable to get anything past Engineers’ goalkeeper Brianna Piper.
But Harvard dominated the final 25 minutes of play, scoring five unanswered goals to grab a 5-3 win at Bright Hockey Center.
Sophomore Gina McDonald led the way for the Crimson (11-5-1, 8-3-1 ECAC), finishing with her first hat trick of the season. Junior Jillian Dempsey and sophomore Kalley Armstrong also added scores for the Crimson.
After allowing 10 shots on goal in the first period, Harvard clamped down defensively, holding RPI (5-15-4, 2-8-3) to just eight attempts in the final two periods combined.
“A huge character win for us,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “Our kids just didn’t quit, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. They played with a lot of moxie. It wasn’t easy, and they just kept believing in themselves and doing what we were trying to get them to do.”
Dempsey sparked the Crimson comeback, beating Piper with a lefty shot that found the back of the net with 3:29 to play in the second period. McDonald followed suit 86 seconds later, scoring a power-play goal.
7:35 into the final period, Armstrong evened the score, scoring off a rebound. McDonald gave the Crimson its first lead less than two minutes later, then sealed the win, scoring on an empty net with 1:04 remaining.