Harvard Women's Hockey Coach John Dooley hasn't had much luck building up the team's ranks this season. The Crimson still suits up only 12 players.
But after its past three games, Dooley should have no problem building up the team's morale.
Though the team has yet to win in the past week, it's games have been anything but painful affairs. After a near-upset of the top-ranked team in college women's hockey last Tuesday, the Crimson managed 2-2 ties against two tough road opponents: Cornell and Rochester (RIT).
Harvard (4-7-2 overall, 3-5-2 ECAC) had hoped to win these games, and thereby vault itself into playoff contention (the Crimson needs to finish in the top eight to make the ECAC tournament), but, for now, the ties will suffice, especially considering what the team was up against.
In Ithaca Friday, Harvard matched up against the top goalie in women's hockey, Chantel Toth, and it showed.
Harvard's second-line, continuing its surprisingly strong production, tallied the first goal at 13:54 of the first period, when freshman Megan Hall punched in a feed from sophomore Diana Clark. The two teams traded goals for the next two periods, with Cornell's Jennifer Wilson and Harvard's Jo-Anne Alissi scoring in the second, Big Red center Kerry Hammond tying it up in the third.
The story of the game, though, was Toth, who shut down the Crimson with 41 saves, 19 in the first period. She held Harvard to only one-of-seven on the power-play.
The next night, Harvard had to contend with hard-hitting RIT. With an RIT player off for an illegal body check (go figure), the Crimson took a 2-1 lead in the third when Alissi notched her second-goal of the weekend on assists from junior Francie Walton and freshman Holly Leitzes. But RIT evened it up at 15:15 and neither team made good for the remainder of the game.
Poll Watching: The Harvard men's team held firm at number two in the nation this week, even picking up one first-place vote for the first time this season.
The vote did come from a local sports reporter, but it was significant nonetheless: This was the first time in eight weeks that top-ranked Maine did not receive 25 first-place votes.
Are the Black Bears slipping? Well, not really.
Though Clarkson did force Maine into a 4-4 tie Friday (Maine tied it on a power-play goal with 1:28 remaining), the Black Bears didn't leave any doubts about their superiority Saturday night. The Black Bears swatted the Golden Knights, 6-0, in Orono. Clarkson couldn't get one shot on net the whole first period. Wow.
Dutchmen Recap: Harvard had a minor scare of its own Friday with a 3-2 defeat of lowly Union.
Dutchmen sophomore goalie Mike Gallant (one of Union's three goalies from Ontario) kept his team in it the whole way, stopping 38 shots, 17 in the third stanza.
Harvard junior Chris Baird, now 10th in ECAC scoring with 15 points, scored the Crimson's winning goal at 10:08 on a power-play goal. Captain Ted Drury and junior defender Lou Body assisted.
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