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Tonight, on the first anniversary of the 2002 Olympic women’s hockey gold medal game, Harvard and Princeton have a 7 p.m. faceoff at the Bright Center. As distinct as those games may seem, there are common threads. Foremost among them, Harvard’s Jennifer Botterill will still be making history.
Botterill, a year removed from her victory with Canada’s first Olympic gold medal-winning team, is on pace to break the all-time Harvard and Division I scoring record of former Harvard and Canadian linemate Tammy Shewchuk ’00-’01. Botterill, with 305 career points, needs three to surpass Shewchuk’s standard. Botterill is averaging 3.67 points per game this season.
Botterill will be seeing her first action this season against No. 10 Princeton (15-7-2, 8-4-0 ECAC) on Friday and Yale (8-15-2, 4-8-0) on Saturday. She was absent for a Canadian national team camp when the No. 1 Crimson defeated Yale, 6-0, and Princeton, 5-2, in early January.
Harvard (21-1-1, 10-0-1) has won its last four meetings with Princeton and its last 36 against Yale.
Princeton coach Jeff Kampersal is looking for a better result at Bright than the 7-1 defeat his team suffered during its last visit at the end of the 2001-02 regular season. Kampersal found the score particularly painful because he is from the Boston area himself.
“Last year at Harvard we had a really disappointing loss, one that I will remember forever,” he said. “We have a lot to prove.”
Adding to Kampersal’s disappointment was his belief that the two teams were evenly matched on paper, with Harvard missing its Olympians and Princeton missing U.S. Olympian Andrea Kilbourne and U.S. national team mainstay Annamarie Holmes.
Harvard went on to sweep the Tigers in a best-of-three ECAC playoff series at Princeton a week later.
Yale has been a more recent cause of disappointment for Princeton. Despite losing to the Tigers 6-2 last Friday, the Bulldogs came back to beat Princeton 3-1 the next day. Yale interim coach Hillary Witt believes the victory is Yale’s first over a top-10 school since national polls were introduced to women’s college hockey.
Though Witt is thrilled with her team’s historic achievement at Princeton, she wasn’t about to make any bold statements yesterday about playing Harvard on Saturday. At the moment, she is focused on Yale’s game at Brown Friday.
“We feel if we play the way did this weekend, we have a pretty good chance of pulling an upset at Brown,” Witt said. “We’ll worry about Harvard after that.”
—Staff writer David R. De Remer can be reached at email@example.com.
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