McDonald’s french fries typically do not provide insight into hockey strategy. Yet, for the Harvard women’s hockey team, this savory food provides the perfect representation for how the Crimson needs to approach the upcoming games against Holy Cross.
“Our coach told us an anecdote about how McDonald’s french fries are consistent no matter where you go,” junior defense Kaitlin Tse said. “Similarly, consistency is going to be a big theme for Friday, especially since it’s an out of league play.
For the first time in program history, Harvard women’s hockey will take on non-conference competition Holy Cross—not once, but twice. The first game on Friday will be a 6 p.m. home game at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. On Saturday, the Crimson will make the return trip to face the Crusaders at 2 p.m. at the Hart Center. This will be this first time since the October 2006 match against Rensselaer that Harvard women’s hockey faces a completely unknown team.
“Since Holy Cross is a completely new opponent for us, it’s going to be a bit tricky,” freshman forward Lunasa Sano said. “However, I think our main points to focus on are the same: pay attention to detail and hustle.”
The Crimson stands strong at 3-1-1, with wins against Dartmouth (4-1), Princeton (3-2), and Brown (6-3), along with one loss against Quinnipiac (2-1). Additionally, the 24-10-1 record of the Harvard women’s hockey team against new competition further suggests favorable results. Yet, despite success so far in the season, the overall unfamiliarity of the matchup this upcoming weekend means that setting the tone early on will be integral to success for Harvard women’s hockey.
“Friday night we are going to play our game,” Tse said. “We are going to use our size and speed. We are going to try to get a lot of shots on net, from players all over the rosters—freshman to seniors, and from defense to forwards.”
And with team where over one third are freshman, utilizing the talent of younger players has certainly been key. With four goals in five games, two of which were scored in the 6-3 win against Brown, freshman forward Brooke Jovanovich leads the Crimson. This past Tuesday November 14, freshman forward Brooke Jovanovich was awarded the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week.
Other Harvard players that will certainly be key in the upcoming matches against Holy Cross include sophomore forward Val Turgeon who, with the first goal around the 15:27 mark in the November 11 match against Yale, helped the Crimson skate to a 2-2 tie. On the defensive side, sophomore goalie Beth Larcom has held the team down with a .925 save percentage.
But skating to a win against the Crusaders may pose some difficulties. Though Holy Cross lost 3-2 to Dartmouth, who the Harvard women’s team beat 6-3 this season, the Crusaders are second in the NEWHA and have a 88% success rate for the penalty kill through nine games, while the Crimson’s success rate is 77.3% on the penalty kill through five games.
Players that the Harvard women’s hockey team will need to keep an eye on include senior forward Kara Violette, who leads Holy Cross with nine points in nine games, along with senior forward Kelsey Goostrey and freshman forward Katie MacCuaig, who each have scored four goals this season. Additionally, freshman goalie Julia Pelletier’s .939 save percentage with a 4-0-1 record may pose challenges for the Crimson offense.
However, if the Harvard women’s team remains consistent, the Crimson should expect to see favorable results.
“If we come prepared and play consistent as coach said, we should be fine.” Tse said.
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