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Junior Nicole Corriero stole the show in both games of the Harvard women’s hockey team’s season-opening weekend, posting 16 points in two days of play against Union.
No. 3 Harvard (2-0 0, 2-0-0 ECAC) posted back-to-back shutouts over Union (2-4-1, 0-2-0), 13-0 and 11-0.
Corriero’s six goals on Friday night broke the previous school record of five, which had been shared by Dianne Hurley ’84, A.J. Mleczko ’97-’99, Tammy Shewchuk ’01, and her 10 points tied the mark set by Jennifer Botterill ’03.
“It was kind of surreal,” Corriero said. “Everything was falling into place. I want to use it as a way to jump start the season.”
In the absence of co-captain defenseman Angela Ruggiero and sophomore forward Julie Chu, who are representing the United States in the Four Nations Cup in Sweden, the Crimson received a stellar team effort in addition to Corriero’s offensive tear.
Sophomore center Jennifer Raimondi ended the weekend with four goals—including a hat trick in Friday’s game—and three assists, while fellow sophomore defenseman Jennifer Skinner posted a goal and five assists.
Harvard 11 Union 0
Keeping focused after a blowout the night before, Harvard posted a repeat dominant performance. In a lopsided game of attack, the Crimson’s offensive arsenal outshot the Dutchwomen 55-9.
“[Keeping up the intensity] is the hardest thing to do,” junior winger Kat Sweet said. “We pretend every game is a clean slate. We go into each period thinking it’s 0-0.”
After her ten-point performance the night before, Corriero posted a hat trick in the first period and added three assists on Saturday to provide the motivation to get the Crimson rolling.
Harvard set out to prove to the hockey world that even without two of its top goal scorers, it has a dominating team.
“I know a lot of people think that beyond our Olympians [Chu and Ruggiero], we don’t have a lot of potential,” Corriero said. “The offensive pressure wasn’t placed on any single player’s shoulders. We do have a lot of depth. We have a lot of firepower.”
In addition to the play of Raimondi and Skinner, sophomore forward Carrie Schroyer posted three assists in the win.
The play of the freshmen forwards impressed the veterans. Caitlin Cahow assisted on a Jennifer Sifers goal, the second assist and second goal, respectively, in only the second game for these two first-year skaters.
Cahow’s first collegiate goal in the second period stretched the Crimson lead to 7-0.
But Harvard did not just relentlessly pound the Dutchwomen into submission. The defense also rallied to cut down on the number of shots in their zone.
Strong defense in Ruggiero’s absence complemented solid goaltending. Freshman Emily Vitt posted a nine-save shutout in her collegiate debut between the pipes against the Dutchwomen.
Harvard 13 Union 0
In Friday night’s game, Sweet set the tone for the weekend, jamming the first Harvard goal of the season past Union netminder Lauren Carlson just 34 seconds into the game.
“We dumped the puck into the zone [after the faceoff] and started skating around them,” Sweet said. “We got the puck in front of the net and I just blocked it in.” Harvard stayed in control the rest of the game, never relenting on the offensive attack. The Crimson outshot Union 46-14.
“We never go into a game thinking that we’re going to completely dominate,” Sweet said following Saturday’s win. “But we were happy with the result.”
Corriero led the way with her record ten points, while Raimondi added three goals and an assist.
The freshmen picked up on things quickly and made an immediate impact in their collegiate debut. Sifers scored on a power play in the second period from classmate Cahow.
“We were playing the three freshmen forwards together,” Sweet said. “We knew they needed to get their first-game jitters over.”
As the game progressed, the Crimson recognized the flaws in its game and corrected them.
In the first period, Harvard failed to convert on two power-play tries.
But when the Crimson changed the strategy on the man advantage, Union’s defenders appeared confused and scoring opportunities began to translate into goals. Indeed, Harvard converted on four of its next five power plays.
“Coach [Katey Stone] really switched it up,” Sweet said. “We had many different tactics. We knew we could skate around them.”
Boe recorded the complete-game shutout in goal, stopping all 14 shots that the pressuring Dutchwomen offense sent her way.
“She kept her focus well,” Corriero said. “There were definitely some tricky plays that she remained focused for.”
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