Harvard women’s ice hockey coach Katey Stone told her players to “play with a chip on their shoulders” after a humbling defeat by No. 2 Boston College in the first round of the 35th Women’s Beanpot on Feb. 5.
On Tuesday night at Matthews Arena, after a full week off, the No. 5 Crimson team delivered and served a 3-0 shutout to No. 3 Boston University. The squad had a full week off after snowy weather forced the postponement of games.
“We did two things,” Stone said. “When we practiced, we practiced hard. When we rested, we rested. I think we had a great balance of both and so it ended up really shaking out like a typical week for us. We took the days off that we typically would take off. We took Saturday off, we went hard on Sunday and we were light yesterday so our kids had a lot of jump and I think you saw that tonight. We were flying.”
Harvard (18-3-2, 14-1-1 ECAC) topped the Terriers (18-4-2, 13-2-1 HE), a squad that has now dropped two consecutive games after a stretch of 12 wins and two ties, by outshooting its opponents 28 shots to 18 through the first two periods. This is the first time in program history that BU has finished fourth in the Beanpot.
The Crimson victory came at the hands of three forwards. After 23 scoreless minutes, junior Lyndsey Fry found the back of the Terriers’ net off assists by sophomores Samantha Reber and Sarah Edney. Fry’s quick shot evaded BU goaltender Kerrin Sperry and put up the first tally of the game.
Just 18 seconds leader, Reber followed up with a goal of her own, helped by sophomore forward Hillary Crowe who was waiting at the crease to fire off an assist to her teammate.
Reber returned the favor two minutes later. The center sent the puck to Crowe, who drilled it into the net to set Harvard up, 3-0, with 4:02 left in the second stanza. Reber finished the night with three points, tying her career-high for the fourth time.
“I feel good about [tying my career-high],” Reber said. “But again, it’s not existent without my teammates. They set me up and make beautiful plays in front of the net that allow us to go on those rushes and get great scoring opportunities. I was the one fortunate enough to be the one with the puck tonight in front of the net.”
While the Crimson may have sunk three goals in under three minutes, all was not always so promising for the team. The first frame saw the team fail to convert all four of its power play opportunities and yield a penalty of its own.
“I think the first period was a little bit just trying to figure it all out,” Stone said. “We had three different looks at the power play with one unit…then we went with what we call a BU power play. It’s an old men’s hockey BU power play and I think they actually ran the same thing in the third period. It just gave us better looks at the net and was more comfortable with two people at the point.”
Co-captain Jillian Dempsey entered the night just goal short of Harvard’s top ten all-time points leaders. While the forward contributed significant game minutes, she skated away from the contest having only made two shots, neither of which were successful.
“Jill did a lot of things off the puck tonight that made a big difference,” Stone said. “We had to put her at center in the third period a little bit and she did a great job for us there. She does all the little things. She may not appear on the score sheet but so many kids who make a significant impact often don’t.”
Crimson goaltender Emerence Maschmeyer made 32 saves, two short of her career-high which was set during last week’s loss to BC. She was particularly effective in the third period, racking up 14 of her saves during the frame.
“The third period is always a key period, especially when we’re up a few goals,” the freshman said. “For me, I have to focus on every shot one shot at a time and our team just had to keep confident throughout the third period.”
This was the second game in this year’s Beanpot during which a lower-ranked team has upset its opponent. On Feb. 5, unranked Northeastern downed the Terriers, 4-1.
“You can see where the ECAC hockey teams are coming up really strong this year,” Reber said. “It makes for a great tournament and it makes for great games all around, no matter what place you’re playing for.”
—Staff writer Cordelia F. Mendez can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @CrimsonCordelia