The No. 8 Harvard women’s hockey team rebounded from its tough loss to Boston College at the Beanpot, sweeping Rensselaer and Union this weekend to clinch home ice in the opening round of the ECAC playoffs.
Against Rensselaer (9-19-4, 6-12-2 ECAC) on Friday night, a strong start carried Harvard (18-8-1, 15-4-1) to a 4-2 victory. The following afternoon, the Crimson was able to close out the perfect weekend, as strong play by junior goalie Laura Bellamy lifted Harvard to a 1-0 victory over Union (4-24-4, 2-16-2).
“We played really well Friday night, and I was impressed with how intense we came out right off the bat,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “Rensselaer is a good team, and I think we controlled the majority of the game. On Saturday, it wasn’t our best game, but we were able to persevere.”
The Crimson continued to perform at a high level on the road, finishing the regular season with a 10-3-1 record away from the Bright Hockey Center.
HARVARD 1, UNION 0
Sophomore forward Lyndsey Fry’s first-period goal, her second score of the weekend, proved to be the difference in the 1-0 victory over Union in Troy, N.Y.
With under thirty seconds remaining in the first period, Dempsey was able to steal the puck away from the Union defender and found Fry as she entered the Union zone. Fry weaved between the Dutchwomen defenders before lofting a well-placed shot into the top corner of the goal.
“I think that [the goal] was important at the time,” Dempsey said. “We hadn’t gotten on the board yet, and it was a little frustrating since we were dominating the period but didn’t have any results. So it was great to get that goal and get that momentum.”
The Crimson was able to maintain the lead behind the strong play of Bellamy, who recorded 24 saves in the shutout.
“Bellamy was terrific for us,” Stone said. “She had to be, and we got the goaltending when we needed it.”
The shutout was Bellamy’s sixth of the season and second against the Dutchwomen.
Harvard was able to control the puck for a majority of the game, peppering the Union goalie with 35 shots. But the Crimson was unable to increase its lead, as Dutchwoman netminder Kate Gallagher recorded 34 saves.
But behind a strong defensive effort keyed by Bellamy, the Crimson was able to preserve the one-goal lead and ultimately the victory.
HARVARD 4, RENSSELAER 2
Facing the Engineers in Schenectady, N.Y., the Crimson was able to get on the board first when Harvard freshman Samantha Reber scored off an assist from Dempsey with a little over five minutes left in the first period.