The Harvard women’s hockey team dominated Russia en route to a 4-0 victory in an international exhibition friendly.
The Crimson came into the exhibition game on a four-game winning streak, in which it outscored opponents, 16-3.
Co-captain Jillian Dempsey and sophomore defender Michelle Picard faced a similar team to the one they met at the 2012 women’s world championships while skating for the USA. This year at the world championships, the United States topped Russia, shutting the Russians out, 9-0, en route to a second place finish. Russia finished sixth.
SPREADING THE LOVE
All four of the Crimson’s goals were scored by a different player. Each goal also came off a touch from multiple other Harvard skaters.
The Crimson was able to bring the puck behind the net and cross it in front many times, creating traffic in front of the goalie. This led to open shots on goal and rebound opportunities. Freshman Mary Parker scored the first goal of the game off assists from seniors Kaitlin Spurling and Kelsey Romatoski. Parker returned the favor, finding Spurling to put Harvard up, 2-0.
“That second goal was perfect, going to the net mid-drive,” said Crimson coach Katey Stone, who also coaches the USA Women’s national team. “Mary Parker made a perfect pass to Katie Spurling.”
Harvard relied on its stick skills, using seamless strings of passes to move the puck up the rink quickly and get into attacking position.
“We work on [our passing] all the time,” Stone said. “One of the things we want to do is be the best passing team in the country.”
The Crimson’s speedy crisp passing was needed to beat a much older and sizeable Russian squad.
“We are moving the ball well, using our speed,” said Stone. “It was a physical game, so it was a good balance.”
One of the most notable omissions from the Crimson stat sheet was a goal from Dempsey. At times, Dempsey was able to break to the net, but was held scoreless. But Dempsey’s current 21-game goal-scoring streak remains unbroken, as the matchup was an exhibition game.
The Crimson tallied five penalties in the game, but was able to kill each successfully. Currently Harvard ranks second in the country in penalty kill percentage at 88.6 percent.
Freshman goalie Emerance Maschmeyer has been a big reason why the penalty kill has been so effective for Harvard. On the season, she boasts a .75 goals against average.