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Stone’s Shift Sparks W. Hockey’s Offense

By John R. Hein, Crimson Staff Writer

Prior to Tuesday night’s Beanpot semifinal victory over Boston College, Harvard women’s hockey coach Katey Stone said she had made adjustments to the line-up in order to spark different elements of the team. After viewing the results of those line shifts from two games, it’s safe to say that the spark has ignited a red-hot explosion of offense for the Crimson’s front line.

After Harvard’s disappointing 6-3 loss to Princeton on Friday night, Stone knew a change was in order.

“When you play a lot of defense and when you play defense as well as [Julie] Chu does and [Lauren McAuliffe] does, they’re often not up the ice as quickly as you’d like them to be,” Stone said. “They’re not as much of an offensive threat.”

In order to create more offense, Stone decided to make the first power play the team’s first line as well, joining McAuliffe with the forward pair of Chu and junior Nicole Corriero in the Crimson’s game against Yale on Saturday afternoon.

The move makes it difficult for opponents to focus on any one specific player—freeing each one up a little bit—as opposed to when they played on separate lines.

The move also undoubtedly frees up Chu for more offense on the wing, as well as eases the pressure on her wrist. Chu suffered the injury during play at the U.S. National Camp over winter recess and it had previously hindered her performance while she played through the pain.

The impact of the change was readily apparent from the first game. In the second period of the Crimson’s 5-1 victory over Yale, the front line of McAuliffe-Chu-Corriero posted a combined nine points on four goals.

“I think Julie Chu and Nicole Corriero are great line-mates to have,” McAuliffe said. “Playing with those kids, it’s hard not to get points.”

McAuliffe led the way with four points, while Chu’s two goals were a welcomed sign after her three assists in the Princeton loss the night before.

Corriero—who chipped in with two assists and a goal—attributed the success of the team to the spark that the third line had given the Crimson.

“We started the game off slowly,” she said, “but the Sweet-Schroyer-Solley line was making a lot of things happen and sparked the other lines. We started coming on late in the first period, then the first shift of the second we put one home.”

Nevertheless, the new first line has been the main contributor in each of the last two games. In the Crimson’s victory over B.C. the line nearly matched its efforts at Yale, producing eight points in another four-goal performance.

The new line has also allowed for Chu and the rest of the Harvard squad to showcase their speed, one of their most potent weapons.

“They’ve generated some odd-man rushes,” Stone said. “We’re right on the edge of getting some 2-1 great opportunities. I think that’s part of the reason we wanted [Chu] jump-started a little bit.”

Previously, Chu and McAuliffe skated as centers on different lines. The shift moves Chu back to wing—the same position she excelled in while on last year’s first line with McAuliffe and Jennifer Botterill ’02-’03—posting 42 goals and 51 assists as a rookie.

“We took Lauren away from [Corriero] for the first part of the season because we wanted her to play center as well as Julie Chu,” Stone said. “But you have to go with chemistry, and they have great chemistry. Down the stretch of the season that’s what we’re going to go with.”

Corriero—who has played on and off with McAuliffe since freshman year—brings her league-leading points-per-game average of 2.39 to the line.

“Our playing styles, while different, complement each other nicely, as we have a great mix of hustle, playmaking and scoring ability coming from all three players,” Corriero said.

The trio’s chemistry and skill helps create one of the most potent offensive threats in the league.

Only time will tell how long and how effectively that threat will last.

Staff writer John R. Hein can be reached at

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