PROVIDENCE, R.I.—A three-goal deficit within the first 10 minutes of a game spells disaster for most teams. But then, most teams can’t match the seven-unanswered goal performance put on by the Harvard women’s hockey team in its 7-3 victory over Brown last night at Meehan Auditorium.
On a night when the Crimson welcomed back junior tri-captain Julie Chu and freshman Sarah Vaillancourt—both of whom spent the weekend competing in the Four Nation’s Cup for the U.S. and Canada, respectfully—it was tri-captain Nicole Corriero who stole the show, posting four straight goals and adding one assist to lead the Crimson to victory. Vaillancourt assisted on three of the tallies, finishing with four total, and Chu added a goal and an assist.
“There was never really a point during the game when Brown was scoring when we could sense panic or dejection on the bench,” Corriero said. “We knew that we were going to get back, we knew we were going to tie this game up, and we knew that we were going to win. We knew we were going to chip away.”
Corriero not only single-handedly outscored the Bears’ offense, but she tallied career goal No. 99 with her fourth score of the night. Her five-point performance gives her a total of 189 career points, one behind Angie Francisco ’01 to tie for fifth on the all-time Harvard scoring list.
The hat trick was Corriero’s finest goal of the night. After stealing possession of the puck at center ice, she split two Brown defenders and outraced another past the Brown zone blueline.
Racing in alone on Brown goalie Stacy Silverman, Corriero started to her left, then swooped to her right at point-blank range, looping the puck past the goalie as she crossed the center for the unassisted triefecta.
But it was her first strike against Silverman that gave Harvard the go-ahead goal at 2:45 in the second period. Vaillancourt made a move to the back of the net, dropping the puck behind her to Corriero, who came flying down the left side to punch in the puck.
“I love it just to give her the puck, and she’ll just put it in the goal,” Vaillancourt said. “It’s just amazing to play with her.”
Corriero has played on lines with great playmakers in the past—Lauren McAuliffe ’04 and Kalen Ingram ’03—but recognizes there’s something different about Vaillancourt.
“The difference with Sarah is that she just plays with this kind of intensity that puts her in a league of her own,” Corriero said. “I don’t think she can do anything slow. Everything she does it a million miles per hour. That’s just something that’s so incredibly inspiring to be around, and it brings everyone up, not just me.”
After that goal, the Crimson never looked back, completely dominating Brown and pinning the puck in the Bears’ zone.
The finish was a far cry from the game’s opening minutes, when a flat Crimson squad got itself in penalty trouble and left junior goaltender Ali Boe to fend for herself.
“We certainly didn’t help Boe out early in the game at all,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “She was tremendous in different spots for us.”
Despite the early penalties that kept the Crimson in the penalty early on, Stone explained the effects of not having Chu and Vaillancourt over the weekend on the team’s chemistry.
“The first thing that doesn’t work when you haven’t had your whole team is d-zone coverage,” Stone said. “Offense takes care of itself because our kids are creative. The defense is all discipline and position, and if your kids have been out of sync and not playing together, they’re a little lost in the defensive end.”
Once Harvard got going, however, Stone had other thoughts—namely, the past line of Jennifer Botterill ’02-’03, Tammy Shewchuk ’01 and A.J. Mleczko ’98-’99.
“When they scored one of the power play goals, I was like, ‘Wow, that was just like the old days,’” Stone said. “We have a lot of offensive threats which is awesome. We need to take care of our own end first and work our way up the ice.”
—Staff writer John R. Hein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.