After its tournament dreams came tumbling down in shocking fashion last March, the Harvard men’s hockey team has high hopes of improving upon the disappointing up-and-down 2008-09 season and making it back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.
Last year, the team started off strong at 4-2-0, but hit a massive mid-year skid, going 1-12-4 through the middle of the season. The squad turned it around late in the year, finishing the regular season 4-0-2, but was stunned in the first round of the ECAC tournament by conference bottom-dweller Brown, which won two consecutive games at Bright Hockey Center to end Harvard’s season.
What a difference a year makes.
This time last October, Harvard was scrambling to fill the goalie position, looking to three untested netminders to act as anchors of the team’s defense.
Growing up in snowy Montreal, Alex, Michael, and Danny Biega were immersed from birth in a world obsessed with hockey.
“It was a very competitive atmosphere and we took hockey very seriously living in Montreal, which is a very hockey-specific and hockey-oriented town,” freshman Danny says.
It’s a dream all little girls share—to one day grow up and become the athlete, actress, or singer they’ve always admired. Not so long ago, five little girls were lacing up their skates and dreaming about playing Olympic hockey.
Now all grown up, those five Harvard alums—Jennifer Botterill ’02-’03, Angela Ruggiero ’02-’04, Julie Chu ’06-’07, Caitlin Cahow ’07-’08, and Sarah Vaillancourt ’08-’09—have the chance to once again make that dream a reality.
The ninth-ranked Harvard women’s hockey team, having won the previous two ECAC Hockey regular-season and Ivy League titles, looks to continue a tradition of success in the 2009-10 season. Despite having graduated its top three offensive contributors last year, the Crimson plans to capitalize on what has always made it one of the most competitive teams in the nation: speed, creativity, and grit.
“Our biggest focus is to not focus on what we lost,” co-captain Cori Bassett says, “but [on] what we have at this point. It’s hard to look back because we lost an Olympian and our top scorers. Now, we’re looking for everyone to contribute offensively and defensively.”