In its fifteenth straight win at the Bright Hockey Center, the Harvard women’s hockey team (15-1-1, 12-0-0 ECAC) rolled over the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers (6-15-2, 4-7-0 ECAC), 4-1, to stay undefeated in conference play.
Both teams started quickly, scoring three goals within a four-minute span in the opening period. The Crimson led, 2-1, after the first but found itself tied in shots on goal, 10 to 10, and unable to convert its only power play opportunity before heading into the first intermission.
In the next two periods, Harvard out-shot RPI, 23-5, and surrendered no goals on two power play opportunities. The Crimson took advantage of a five-on-three power play of its own to add its fourth goal of the evening early in the third period. The score took place on a redirection shot by junior Lyndsey Fry, placing the puck in the top left corner of the net for her second goal of the evening.
“I think that we were ready to go coming in,” coach Katey Stone said. “However, I think that we worked a little bit harder in the second and third period. We came up with a few more one-on-one pucks and didn’t turn the puck over as much. I think it was a greater sense of urgency and more communication. These games are all pretty tough and we have to get in the habit of playing in some real dogfights.”
Fry agreed with her coach, stating that the early goal by RPI—a power play goal by Engineer junior Taylor Horton—got the team re-focused. Two minutes after the Horton score, Fry knocked an RPI pass into the boards and skated past two Engineer defenders before slapping the puck past the outstretched arm of the goalie. The goal gave Harvard an advantage that it never relinquished.
“You get a little slap in the face there when they score a goal,” Fry said. “You remember that they are coming to play. The biggest thing that we have to keep in mind when we play is that the success we’ve been having means that every team that comes in here has their Stanley Cup game.”
Sophomore Crimson defender Michelle Picard sparked the inception of the night’s offense when she intercepted a pass deep in RPI territory, starting a breakaway before flicking a wrist shot into the top left corner of the goal to give Harvard its initial advantage. Picard had a team high plus-minus of +2 on the day and her three shots on goal were tied for third on the team.
Senior Jillian Dempsey, the team’s leading shot-taker, managed six shots on goal but had her thirty-game point streak snapped. The streak, which dated back to last season, was the longest in the nation.
Friday’s contest marked the Crimson’s sixth win and thirteenth unbeaten contest in a row. The match-up was the fourth in a five-game homestand that culminates on Saturday against Union. Stone said that with nearly half the regular season—12 of 29 games—to go, the team still has a lot to work on.
“We’re trying improve in every facet of the game and not just one or two,” Stone explained. “We’ve been doing well grinding it out, playing tough, and being physical. We’ll do whatever we need to [in order] to get the win.”
The victory was the team’s second this season against the Engineers, having defeated them, 2-1, on the road earlier this month. In every game, Fry said, whether at home or on the road, it is key to approach the opponents in a similar fashion and focus on what the team can control—its own play.
“Last time we played them we weren’t playing our game,” Fry said. “The biggest thing was coming out and focusing on us and what we were doing instead of what they were doing. Obviously we watched film and prepared for what they were going to bring at us but the biggest difference between last game and this game is making sure we focus on what we were going to do. We did the little things well today.”
—Staff writer David Freed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.