Fierce Colgate Comeback Makes Crimson Win a Draw

Raquel Rodriguez

Tri-captain Sarah Vaillancourt had a hand in nine of the Crimson’s 10 goals this weekend, scoring four herself and posting five assists. Harvard, however, is just 1-2-1 since Vaillancourt and Crimson coach Katey Stone returned to the team from the Four Na

The Harvard women’s hockey team (3-2-2, 3-2-2 ECAC) had to settle for a 5-5 draw Friday at Bright Hockey Center against Colgate (7-7-1, 2-3-1) after an aggressive three periods. The game was marked by the Raiders’ persistence and physically aggressive play on both sides of the puck.

Despite a 4-1 lead early in the second period, the Crimson could not hold back a hard-fought Colgate comeback to tie up the game. Harvard mounted an aggressive offensive attack, but could not get the job done on defense.

“I think our passion and desire to win were there, but I think we are just still trying to figure out how to finish,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “The effort was good, it’s just we have to figure out a way to end.”

After the Crimson dominated the first period, Colgate came into the second looking for redemption, and they found it. The Raiders scored four goals in the second frame to tie it up, 5-5.

“I thought we came out with a lot of intensity, a lot better intensity than we’ve had in the last couple of games,” junior goaltender Christina Kessler said. “We hustled and got on the board early, which we haven’t been able to do in the past couple of games.”

The Crimson opened up the second period with a goal from senior Sarah Wilson off of an assist from tri-captain Sarah Vaillancourt. Colgate answered only 12 seconds later to pull within two. Four minutes later, Raider Katie Stewart kept the momentum going with a quick one-timer in front of the net to make it 4-3.

Vaillancourt quickly responded, finding the back of the net off an assist from tri-captain Jenny Brine. From the seventh to the 13th minute, the Raiders had multiple looks at the net but could not penetrate senior goalie Brittany Martin.

Colgate was able to pull within one on a power-play goal by sophomore Hannah Milan. Raider Ali Edell capped off the comeback with a quick one-timer in front of the net with only two minutes left in the frame.

“We were up [three], and we were in a place to separate ourselves, but it never happened,” Stone said. “The effort was there, we just have to finish the job and finish blocks.”

The Crimson came out strong in the first period, scoring two goals in the opening six minutes. Brine kicked off the high-scoring affair with a close-range goal three minutes into the frame. Vaillancourt followed up with a slapshot from the point off an assist from Wilson. Colgate responded with a power-play goal to make it 2-1.

The Crimson controlled the puck for the latter half of the period but could not capitalize on multiple chances until the last six minutes, when sophomore Katharine Chute found the back of the net. Harvard ended the first frame with a 15-8 advantage in shots and only one power play compared with the Raiders’ five.

Despite a scoreless third period, the race to break the tie fueled rough play on both ends of the ice. The Crimson opened up the frame with three shots in the first 40 seconds. Kessler entered the game in the third and was dominant between the pipes, posting seven saves.

The game became increasingly physical as both Vaillancourt and sophomore Liza Ryabkina served as Crimson enforcers, both accumulating aggressive checks in the fifth minute. Brine also tallied a collision with a spectacular check in the 10th minute.

“I think there were a lot of aggressive plays throughout the game,” Kessler said. “As a team, we are not focused on what happens out of our control.”

Despite physically aggressive play and multiple shot attempts, Harvard could not break the tie.

As in the third period, neither team was able close it out in overtime. Most attempts were slapshots from the point or beyond as neither squad could find close looks at the net. In the end, the Crimson outshot the Raiders, 41-27. Martin finished the game with 15 saves.

“We have to keep trying,” Stone said. “You’re going have more success on one day than another.”