Sometimes in life, similar efforts produce vastly different results.
In its games against both Boston College and Dartmouth this past weekend, the Harvard women's hockey team unleashed a barrage on the opposition's goaltenders, outshooting its foes by the most lopsided of margins.
But while Harvard's 47 shots against B.C. translated to a 9-1 win at the Heights on Saturday, Harvard's 40 shots against Dartmouth were not enough to secure a victory, as the Big Green downed the Crimson yesterday, 5-3, in Hanover, N.H.
The loss is the second defeat at the hands of Dartmouth for Harvard (14-4-3, 12-4-3 ECAC) this season.
"Obviously it was a really important game for us, so we were pretty disappointed," said junior winger Tammy Shewchuk. "With all the obstacles we've been facing lately, these were two points we definitely wanted."
Dartmouth 5, Harvard 3
Those hopes for revenge were dashed when Dartmouth freshman phenom Carly Haggard took a pass from center Kim McCullough and netted the Big Green's fourth goal, the game-winner, at 12:52 in the third period.
In the game's opening minutes, the contest did not appear that it would be as close as it was, as Dartmouth went on top 2-0 early in the first period. But after that point, Dartmouth slowly relinguished the lead to Harvard. The Crimson received goals from sophomore forward Jen Botterill and sophomore defenseman Angela Ruggiero in the first and second periods, respectively, to tie the game at two.
Harvard then went ahead with just over three minutes expired in the third period when senior center Courtney Smith delivered a pass to Shewchuk, who sent the puck past Dartmouth goalie Amy Ferguson.
From that point forward, however, the Dartmouth defense got stingier and cut down on the number of Harvard scoring chances. Though Ferguson surrendered rebounds after several of her saves, the Crimson forwards were prevented from taking advantage of any second-chance opportunities.
"Their defense was really tight," Shewchuk said. "They did a good job of keeping us away from any rebounds."
The Big Green evened the score at three goals apiece on a goal by defenseman Kristin Romberg with ten minutes left in the game.
Less than three minutes later, with momentum on Dartmouth's side, Haggard, last week's ECAC Player of the Week, lit the lamp for the deciding goal.
The Big Green would add an empty-netter in the game's final minute, as the Crimson launched a failed last-ditch effort to tie the game.
Ferguson, who is ranked near the top of the conference standings with a .931 save percentage, registered 37 saves. Her spectacular efforts left the Crimson offense frustrated.
"We didn't have any bounces go our way," Shewchuk said. "There were a couple shots that I have no idea how the goalie stopped them."
Dartmouth, which dropped a 6-1decision to No. 1 Brown on Saturday, went scoreless on the man-advantage, despite nine Harvard penalties. The Crimson, meanwhile, was equally ineffective, managing just one goal in its eight power play chances.
"They played us well on the penalty kill," Shewchuk said. "Sometimes the power play works for us, and sometimes it doesn't. It had worked the day before against B.C."
Harvard was playing without junior forward Kiirsten Suurkask, who, along with Darmouth defenseman Correne Bredin, was in Europe playing for the Canadien Under-22 team.
Harvard 9, B.C. 1
Heading into the weekend, Harvard Coach Katey Stone had reshuffled the team's scoring lines in an attempt to rejuvenate the Crimson offense, which had failed to produce a goal in last week's 1-0 loss to No. 8 Providence.
B.C. thus provided Harvard an opportunity to get accustomed to its new offensive configuration before the team's meeting with Dartmouth.
As things turned out Saturday, Stone's adjustments paid off dividends.
Led by the newly-assembled top scoring line of Shewchuk, Botterill, and freshman Kalen Ingram, Harvard struck early and often. The Crimson got on the board just 25 seconds into the game, and proceeded to notch goals in the opening minute of the second and third periods as well.
The Shewchuk-Botterill-Ingram combination accounted for eight of the Crimson's nine scores.
"We were pleased with how the new lines worked," Shewchuk said. "I thought we moved the puck really well."
While things such as line assignments may vary over the course of a season, other things--notably Shewchuk's customary success against B.C.--stay the same.
In the Crimson's first match with the Eagles this year in November, Shewchuk tallied four goals and two assists to lead Harvard to a 7-2 win.
This time around, Shewchuk composed an even greater force, playing a role in all nine Harvard scoring plays with four goals and five assists.
Also for the Crimson, Ruggiero, who leads the ECAC in scoring by defensemen, collected four assists.
"With the luck we've been having lately, you never know what to expect," Shewchuk said. "But we played very well. We were pleased."
The Eagles, who lost to Northeastern 7-0 last week in the opening round of the Beanpot, decided to change goalies late in the second period, substituting freshman Heather Cohen for starter netminder Sharon VanTuyl. The switch resulted in somewhat of an improvement for B.C., but Harvard still managed two additional goals against Cohen.
Meanwhile, Harvard goaltenders, senior Crystal Springer and sophomore Alison Kuusisto, combined to hold the Eagles scoreless throughout almost the entire game--stopping 26 shots. Harvard's bid for a shutout, however, was ruined when Eagles sophomore forward Jane Jorge snuck the puck past Kuusisto with just ten seconds left in regulation.
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