The Harvard women’s hockey team (13-16-2, 10-10-2 ECAC) saw its season come to an end versus No. 4 Colgate (31-4-1, 19-3-0 ECAC) in the ECAC Quarterfinals on Saturday, dropping the first and second games of the best-of-three series. The Crimson fell to the Raiders by a score of 6-4 on Friday before losing game two by a score of 6-1 on Saturday.
“It’s always hard to say goodbye to your seniors, knowing that they’re never going to put that jersey on again,” said freshman forward Becca Gilmore. “But it’s exciting what this team did this year. We have a lot of big goals for next year, and it’s going to be a fun year.”
COLGATE 6, HARVARD 4
Fans were treated to a 10-goal thriller on Friday night in the opening game of the playoff series. The goals came early and often, with the Raiders’ Breanne Wilson-Bennett finding the net in under a minute to get the contest off to a quick start.
Colgate added a pair of scores before the end of the first period to bring the score to 3-0, but the Crimson was not deterred. Harvard managed to fight back to within a goal by the middle of the third period, thanks to power play efforts from senior defenseman Chelsea Ziadie and Gilmore. Ziadie logged her team-best third power play goal of the season, and Gilmore finished the night with two goals.
Gilmore’s classmate, forward Keely Moy, also got on the board for the Crimson, finding the net following a pass from junior Kate Hallett midway through the third frame. With 8:48 to play, the goal put the Crimson within one, and a memorable comeback looked as if it were developing.
Harvard’s resilience when down was ultimately not enough to topple the formidable Raiders, who scored shortly after the Crimson’s fourth tally to increase their lead to 6-4. Impressive puck movement in a 5-on-3 situation topped off by a quick reaction from Chelsea Jacques gave Colgate its second power play goal of the night and effectively killed off Harvard’s chances of taking the series’ first game.
Sophomore goaltender Beth Larcom had a busy night, racking up 37 saves on the Raiders’ 43 shots on goal. Both teams converted twice on the man advantage, with the Crimson going 2-4 compared to Colgate’s 2-7.
COLGATE 6, HARVARD 1
A second high-scoring game of the weekend shut the door once and for all on Harvard’s season, as the squad fell 6-1 to Colgate on Saturday night to conclude its 2017-2018 campaign.
The Raiders opened the scoring in the first period again, this time on a power play through Jessie Eldridge, who was able to beat Larcom from close range 7:20 into the tilt. The Crimson was quicker in responding this time, as freshman forward Brooke Jovanovich equalized just 41 seconds later.
Otherwise, the teams held one another in check through the first frame, but it didn’t take long into the second period before Colgate got on the board again. At 0:40 of the second period, the Raiders regained their lead and held onto it for the remainder of the game. Eldridge added her second goal of the night before the end of second and finished on an empty Crimson net in the third to seal her hat trick.
Harvard fought throughout the game, registering 32 shots on goal compared to Colgate’s 36. The Crimson went 0-5 on power plays, however while the opposition converted one of its three power play opportunities on the night.
The Raiders will continue on to the ECAC semifinals, where they will play No. 5 Cornell. Harvard bows out of the tournament and will have to wait until next year for a shot at ECAC glory.
“Obviously it’s a horrible feeling when your season ends, but I’m truly so, so proud of this group,” sophomore Kat Hughes said. “I think that throughout the year, every single day we got better and we got closer through all the losses and ups and downs. We stuck together. I think it was a crucial year for our program, and we really set the pace for how we want to improve in the next year.”
—Staff writer Eamon J. McLoughlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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