Different week. Different teams. Same result.
Despite a jam-packed schedule with two weekend conference games followed by a Tuesday night showdown against Connecticut, the No. 2/3 Harvard women’s hockey team did just what it’s been doing all season long. It made winning look easy.
The Crimson blanked both Princeton and Quinnipiac last weekend, then followed it up with a 5-1 routing of Connecticut three nights later.
“We’re really happy with how we’re playing,” co-captain Laura Bellamy said. “We’re 5-0 in January, and it’s been nice to be on campus and just think about hockey. We’ve been happy with the way we’ve played [since the break].”
With a 14-1-1 season record, the Crimson has seemingly faced little opposition from its competition so far this season, winning by an average of 4.64 goals.
The Crimson has a chance to keep its perfect 11-0 ECAC record intact when conference foes Rensselaer (6-14-2, 4-6-0 ECAC) and Union (7-12-3, 0-7-3 ECAC) travel to Bright Hockey Center for a pair of weekend matchups.
“They’re both tough teams,” Bellamy said. “[They’re] really hard working.”
First up for Harvard will be a rematch with RPI. When the two teams faced off two weeks ago, the Engineers gave the Crimson one of its toughest tests of the season. Harvard went up early in the second with a goal by junior forward Kalley Armstrong, but RPI fired back and squared the game up before the close of the period. A power-play goal by senior defender Kelsey Romatoski gave the Crimson the 2-1 lead it would maintain, but not without some close calls down the stretch.
“We could’ve played better the last time when we played RPI,” junior forward Lyndsey Fry said. “We owe them a big game, especially having them come to our rink.”
Freshman forward Mari Mankey tallied RPI’s only score of the night, one of her four goals on the season. Fellow first year Alexa Gruschow leads the team with nine goals and ten assists on the season, good for a team-high 19 points.
“I think the biggest thing is making sure they remember us a little better after this weekend,” Fry said. “We let it be to close last time we played them. We didn’t play Harvard hockey.”
After that, Crimson will have a Saturday showdown against Union. Two weeks ago, Harvard breezed to a 9-0 victory when they travelled to Schenectady, New York to take on the Dutchwomen. It was the Crimson’s most dominating performance of the season, as Harvard saw seven different players score. Harvard outshot their opponent 42 to 13 on the evening.
But even with such a commanding win, the Crimson does not underestimate Saturday night’s opponent.
“Union’s going to throw everything at us,” Bellamy said. “Anytime someone comes to our home rink, we know they’re going to give it all they’ve got.”
The weekend’s home stand will be the last time the Crimson plays at Bright for the rest of the month. Harvard has a pair of road stints lined up the next two weeks, as well as a Beanpot appearance to kick off its February contests.