The Harvard women's hockey team lost, 5-1, to all-powerful Providence College last night in the season opener in Providence, R.I.
Harvard came out shooting, and scored only 19 seconds into the contest. A rush on the opening face-off moved the puck down the left side. Freshman sensation Sandra Whyte passed the puck across to Tri-Captain Julia Trotman, who netted the lone Crimson goal.
Coach John Dooley showed his confidence in the young squad by playing six freshmen against the perennial ECAC power. The Friars won the ECAC Championship in 1984 and '85.
The freshmen showed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and effort. Whyte, the first-line center, helped anchor the Crimson offense, and second line wings Ceci Clark and Lauren Messmore "back-checked and hustled really well," according to Trotman.
The freshman defense also showed strength, as Beverly Stickles broke up lots of two-on-ones.
Tri-Captain and goaltender Jennifer White, who suffered a concussion in the game, was superb in the nets, stopping 46 Providence shots. According to Trotman, "She was phenomenal--the key factor that held us in the game."
The Crimson skated right with Providence through the first two periods. Harvard held the Friars to one goal in the first period, scored by junior Heather LaDuke, who went on to net the game-winner late in the second period.
The Friar experience and superior conditioning shined through in the third period after two evenly played periods. Harvard hung tough, and showed incredible potential despite allowing three Providence goals, the fifth one scored by LaDuke, giving her a hat trick on the night.
Providence goalie Jill Rennie finished with 17 saves.
Although the Crimson didn't have high expectations for the traditionally discouraging season-opener, it was inspired by such a positive start. Trotman added, "They really got us on our toes to start the season."
The Crimson hosts Boston College next Monday in the home-opener. Harvard looks forward to the Ivy opening weekend at Yale and Brown on December 3rd and 4th, when the team's strength and depth is sure to show.
THE NOTEBOOK:Harvard Assistant Coach Julie Sasner made her debut as a coach yesterday. Sasner was last year's Ivy League Most Valuable Player. She played four years for the Crimson varsity...Harvard's schedule is packed in February. After a January 31 date against Boston College, the Crimson plays nine games in 21 days. The Ivy League Tournament is scheduled for February 25-26.
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