Game of the Year, Runner-Up: Women's Ice Hockey vs. Yale

On March 10, 2007, the Harvard women’s ice hockey team played over 127 minutes in a quadruple-overtime heartbreaker loss to Wisconsin that sent the Badgers to the Frozen Four. The game was the longest in program history and, at the time, the second-longest ever in women’s college hockey.

Nearly seven years later, the Crimson played its next contest that stretched into multiple overtime periods. Looking for a spot in the next round of the ECAC playoffs, the Crimson took to the ice against Yale for 241 minutes of game time that spanned three contests from Feb. 28 to March 2.

No drama was spared, as a Friday night double-overtime loss to the Bulldogs was followed by another double-overtime game—this time a Harvard win—and a decisive Sunday afternoon showdown that sent the Crimson off to face Cornell in the conference semifinals.

“It’s kind of a track meet out there,” said interim Harvard coach Maura Crowell at the time. “Both sides are getting their chances, goalies are coming up big, and it’s a rollercoaster.”

Statistics from the series, like the almost 13 periods of hockey played or the 131 saves made by Yale goalie Jaimie Leonoff, tell a story of superlatives, but the real story lies in the four hours of tense, stalemate hockey punctuated by last-minute key plays.

Crimson rookie goalie Brianna Laing took to the ice for the two most important starts of her career during the Saturday and Sunday contests, fending off any momentum the Bulldogs carried in from their 3-2 Friday win.

Calm under fire, Laing made many clutch saves down the stretch on Saturday, while sophomore Miye D’Oench found openings past Yale’s blueline and Leonoff to tie and win the game, 3-2.

“I think it needed to happen,” said D’Oench after her game-winner, which went under official review. “Something needed to go our way. It was a lucky bounce, and we haven’t been getting a lot of those.”

Sunday saw the Crimson blank the Bulldogs, 4-0. Harvard capitalized on tired Eli legs, and a flurry of Crimson players were able to send the puck past the crease for the win and the berth in the next round.

While Harvard was unable to upend the Big Red for a place in the finals, the team played some of its best hockey of the year throughout the Yale series, displaying endurance and perseverance in the face of two contests that seemed to have no end.

—Staff writer Cordelia F. Mendez can be reached at cordelia.mendez@thecrimson.com.

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