W. Hockey Humbles No. 5 UNH

All-around effort limits Wildcats to just three shots on goal

It didn’t matter how No. 5 New Hampshire played the No. 1 Harvard women’s hockey team on Friday night. The Crimson players had decided before the game that they were going to dominate, and they had the talent to make that happen.

Harvard (10-1) posted three goals in the first two periods en route to a lopsided 7-1 victory that snapped UNH’s nation-best seven-game unbeaten streak.

“Before the game started we knew were going to win,” said sophomore winger Kat Sweet. “We knew we were going to play our hearts out. It was an awesome feeling.”

Sweet led all scorers with two goals, while freshman Julie Chu and senior Tracy Catlin scored a goal and an assist apiece on a night of offensive blitzing by the Crimson against the Wildcats (14-2-1).

“Without taking anything away from UNH, it was total domination,” said Harvard coach Katey Stone, who earned her tenth straight victory over her alma mater.

The dominance was even more apparent in the final shot margin. The Crimson peppered UNH goalie Jen Huggon with 50 shots in the defeat, while junior Harvard goaltender Jessica Ruddock struggled to keep focus with only three shots on her the entire game.

“We expected this of ourselves,” said Catlin when asked whether she was surprised Harvard had outshot the nation’s No. 5 team by a 50-3 gap.

Chu’s speed and handiwork started Harvard’s scoring 8:58 into the game. While on the power play, Chu worked her way towards the net and pushed the puck under Huggon to Sweet, who punched in the power play goal.

Huggon helped keep the game close for the rest of the period, but Harvard pulled away with two goals that had Catlin’s call sign all over them. Within two minutes of setting up sophomore defenseman Ashley Banfield for a one-time goal, Catlin herself scored on a deflection off a rocket fired from the point by junior defenseman Angela Ruggiero.

“[Huggon] made it even more exciting for us,” Stone said. “The kids were salivating more and more with some of those saves.”

The second period was more of the same for Harvard, as Sweet struck again with a goal from the doorstep. Freshman Jennifer Raimondi set up captain Jennifer Botterill for the shot, and Sweet pounced on the rebound.

Botterill’s unassisted goal at 12:48 in the same period opened the margin to 5-0. Less than three minutes later, she raced down the ice on a two-on-none with Olympic counterpart Chu and fed her for a tantalizing goal past Huggon, who was left high and dry by her defense.

“We just couldn’t match the speed [Harvard] brought on the ice,” said Wildcat coach Brian McCloskey. “Huggon came up big at times, but she just didn’t get a lot of help back there tonight.”

In the final frame of play, Ruggiero electrified the crowd when she intercepted a pass and trudged her way past two defensemen, scoring an unassisted, one-handed backhand goal at 9:34.

As Ruggiero scored, Randi Wilcox—the New Hampshire defenseman who had come closest to catching Harvard’s All-World defenseman—fell harmlessly into the end boards. Such was the nature of the Wildcats’ pursuit the entire evening.

UNH finally got on the scoreboard when sophomore Stephanie Jones scored at 12:54 in the third.