Harvard Womens Hockey coach John Dooles sat forlornly at his desk in Bright Hockey Center last night with a look of supreme despair.
His Crimson had struggled gallantly against Brown in the opening found of the Women's Beanpot Tournament only to lose a tight 2-1 game in what has become an all too-often repeated ending in this true odyssey of a season.
And said the look in his eyes said it all: What do these kids have to do to win one of these games.
The loss extended the winless streak of the Crimson (4-9-2, 1-3-1 Ivy) straight games. Brown junior Shannon Bryant wrote the cruel ending with her second goal of the game with 3:16 left on the clock, relegating Harvard to its fifth one-goal loss.
"I could cry for these guys," said Dooley. "They work so hard out there, but the bounces never seem to go our way in the end."
He's right--the ending to some of the Crimson's games this year have been extraordinary. St. Laurent and Queen's College both scored goals in the final minute to deny Harvard shots at overtime, and the New Hampshire game saw the Crimson too tired to push the puck up the ice at game's end, even with a man-advantage.
This time, it was the fact that junior Co-Captain Joey Alissi had just scored the equalizer 13 seconds before Bryant's game-winner that made the defeat sting so badly.
"It's definitely frustrating," said senior Co-Captain Kim Landry, who had an assist on Alissi's goal. "This team keeps improving every game, but sometimes I wish we had some results to show for it."
"You see unbelievable efforts by hard-working skaters and goaltenders out there against teams that have twice the manpower and such high skill levels," said Dooley.
"We knew it was a rebuilding year; even still, they have played so far above out expectations. If we're at all disappointed, it's only for them, because they have worked so hard," Dooley said.
This Beanpot is a far cry from the annual bash held on Causeway Street. Brown is a first-time entry this year, replacing Boston University who dropped out for financial reasons.
And at least this year, the Crimson aren't favored to win.
Northeastern routed Boston College last night by a 10-1 margin. The Huskies are the traditional favorites, having won 10 of 14 Beanpots played to date.
And Brown is a traditional lvy League powerhouse. With wins over nationally ranked Providence and New Hampshire this season, the Bears may yet garner their share of tournament titles.
Harvard fought valiantly against the Bears. Diana Clark led the Crimson's emerging second line, creating some solid offensive opportunities, and sophomore netminder Erin Villiotte again turned in a solid performance with 45 saves.
But after two and a half periods of scoreless (and fairly colorless) hockey, Villiotte finally let one slip by. Bryant's low backhand through a crowd from 10 feet snuck past Villiotte on the glove side to finally light the lamp 47:23 into the game.
The Crimson fought back. Fresh man wing Stacy Kellogg got the puck to Alissi in the crease, and her stuff attempt got under Bear goalie Kate Presbrey to knot the score it one apiece.
But Brown charged back up the ice, and the charging Bears spelled only one thing for the Crimson: disaster.
Sophomore Andrea Boudreau put the puck on the net after a pretty rush.
Bryant was there to corral the puck and fire a shot through the maze of black, white, and crimson in front of the net past Villiotte.
Score, 2-1. Game, over.
"The won-loss record hasn't been attractive, but the games sure have been." Lamented Dooley at his desk. "But these guys are winners, and their constantly upbeat attitude will carry over to next year."
And next year, the hockey spirits may decide it's time to smile on the Crimson. Brown0 0 2 - 2 Harvard 0 0 1 - 1 First Period No Scoring Second Period No Scoring Third Period Brown-Bryant (Boudreau, Sakuna) 11:23. Harvard-Aliss (Kellogg, Landry) 14:31. Brown-Bryant (Boudreau) 14:44. Saves:Harvard-Villiotte 19-14-12-45; Brown-Presbrey 7-14-5-26.
Brown0 0 2 - 2 Harvard 0 0 1 - 1 First Period No Scoring Second Period No Scoring Third Period Brown-Bryant (Boudreau, Sakuna) 11:23. Harvard-Aliss (Kellogg, Landry) 14:31. Brown-Bryant (Boudreau) 14:44. Saves:Harvard-Villiotte 19-14-12-45; Brown-Presbrey 7-14-5-26.