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Finally, the Harvard women’s hockey team is done with sub-.500 competition. All that remain on its schedule are the ECAC championships and the NCAA Frozen Four.
The No. 1 Crimson (28-1-1) aimed to get into peak form this weekend as it crushed Cornell (4-21-2) in a best-of-three ECAC quarterfinal series. The victories—a 13-1 win on Friday, followed by a 7-0 win on Saturday—were Harvard’s two largest ever in postseason history.
“I think we were flying,” said Harvard captain Jennifer Botterill. “Yesterday we had a little more jump than we did today, but overall we had a great weekend. I feel like we’re right where we need to be.”
Harvard coach Katey Stone was pleased with the Crimson’s energy, defense and goal-scoring versatility. Harvard avoided playing down to Cornell’s level in preparation for the ECAC championships next weekend.
“We understand we’re going to be tested much more as we go along here,” Stone said. “The defensive end, and all the way up the ice, there’s going to be more pressure, but I think we’ve handled the pressure well all year.”
The Crimson’s ECAC semifinal game is against tournament host and defending champion Brown this Saturday at noon. If Harvard wins, it will play No. 4 Dartmouth or No. 9 Princeton in the championship, to be televised live on NESN, Sunday at noon.
Harvard 7, Cornell 0
The Big Red looked to rebound after Friday night’s defeat, but the rebounds were only going in one direction on Saturday—into the Cornell net.
Harvard scored five of its seven goals off rebounds, including its first four as it built a 4-0 lead midway through the second period. Botterill got the train rolling, banging home her own rebound after a breakaway attempt two minutes into the game.
Rebound goals from freshman phenom Julie Chu and captain Kalen Ingram gave the Crimson a 3-0 advantage after the first frame. Sophomore winger Nicole Corriero banged home a rebound midway through the second period to extend the lead to 4-0.
To mix things up a bit, junior captain defender Angela Ruggiero took matters into her own hands. Just 13 seconds after Corriero’s goal, the Patty Kazmaier finalist took the puck from center ice, swept by several defenders and beat Cornell goalie Sanya Sandahl to score unassisted.
Chu finished the scoring in the second period with her second rebound goal of the evening, which made it 6-0.
Botterill set up the game’s final goal. She found the puck in the corner and, skating away from the net, sent a perfect pass to Corriero waiting in the slot. Corriero’s shot sailed into the top right corner of the net at 2:05 of the third period.
The final 18 minutes of the game were scoreless, but they did feature some rough play from Cornell, particularly Big Red defenseman Allison Simpson, who displayed a penchant for hitting after the whistle in both games.
“In upcoming games it’s definitely going to be more physical,” Corriero said. “So I don’t think it’s a bad thing that we have to start dealing with rough and dirty players right now because that’s what we’re gonna be facing.”
Junior goaltender Jessica Ruddock made nine saves for the shutout, Harvard’s school-record tenth of the season.
Harvard 13, Cornell 1
The Crimson started the scoring just 1:32 after the opening whistle and showed no mercy for the rest of the evening in a 13-1 victory.
Junior Lauren McAuliffe, back on the second line, scored on a one-timer off a two-on-one setup from Ingram to give Harvard the quick 1-0 lead.
“They came out of the blocks really fast and kept on getting better and better,” Stone said. “Everyone was contributing.”
Chu led all scorers with two goals and six assists.
Ruggiero tied a school single-game record with five goals and also added two assists. It was her second five-goal game this season. The first came against Wayne State in January.
Botterill turned in a seven-point effort of her own with two goals and five assists, finishing the game with 326 career points and, in the process, passing Michigan State’s Tom Ross as the all-time scoring leader in Division I hockey, men’s or women’s. She tied and broke the record in the final minutes of the second period, scoring a goal before adding an assist.
The event passed with little fanfare, as Botterill had already broken several other career scoring records in previous weeks. In the past, Stone has felt that announcements for individual milestones have taken too much focus away from the team.
Cornell scored its lone goal in the second period in a scramble in front of the net. Harvard outshot Cornell 59-3 in the first two periods and 72-10 for the game.
—Staff writer David R. De Remer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer David A. Weinfeld can be reached at email@example.com.
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