Crosstown Rival BU Holds Off Harvard Women's Hockey

Meredith H. Keffer

Tri-captain Liza Ryabkina did all she could to keep the Crimson women’s hockey team in contention against a formidable No. 4/5 BU squad. Ryabkina netted a pair of goals in the contest, including the tying score in the third period, but back-to-back tallies from the Terriers put the game out of reach.

Sometimes your best effort just isn’t good enough.

Despite outshooting its opponent for the fourth straight game, the Harvard women’s hockey team (5-6-2, 4-2-2 ECAC) came up short against another tough opponent, losing, 5-3, to No. 4/5 Boston University (14-2-3, 5-1-3 Hockey East) Friday night at Bright Hockey Center.

Though a two-goal effort from tri-captain Liza Ryabkina tied the game early in the third period, the Terriers knocked in a pair of scores in the span of less than 30 seconds to put the game out of reach.

“With the exception of about five minutes, might have been even less than that, we were right there with them,” Crimson coach Katey Stone said. “They’re a very good hockey team, extremely good—a lot of weapons, a lot of skill. And I thought our kids played tremendously well.”

The game was marked by a fast-paced, physical style of play that left both teams with limited looks at the net. But although Harvard outshot BU, 10-5, in the first period, the visitors entered the first break with a 1-0 lead.

After sophomore Josephine Pucci was called for tripping 3:21 into the game, the Terriers set up on the power play.

It took just under a minute for BU to cycle the puck to freshman star Marie-Philip Poulin, who one-timed a close-range shot past sophomore goaltender Laura Bellamy. Poulin—who scored both goals in the Olympic gold-medal game for Canada in February—was assisted by Jenn Wakefield and Jenelle Kohanchuk on the tally.

Harvard got a number of opportunities in the first, particularly on its two power plays in the period, but failed to find the back of the net.

The Terriers came out hard after intermission and dominated the first half of the second period, doubling their lead less than three minutes into the frame.

Wakefield fed the puck to Jillian Kirchner in the left circle, and the senior banked the puck off the far post for a 2-0 advantage at the 2:46 mark.

But Harvard’s defense locked down for the next 20 minutes, giving the offense a chance to get back in the game.

“They had a lot of really skilled players, but I think we stayed right with them,” Ryabkina said. “Overall, I thought that our defense did a tremendous job keeping them out and shutting them down.”

With just under seven minutes to go in the second, the Crimson was finally able to set up in its offensive zone. Tri-captain Kate Buesser fired a pass across the ice, and Ryabkina one-timed the puck into the top right corner of the cage.

“Liza has a knack for getting available in the right spot,” Stone said. “She’s got such a strong shot that, if we can get it to her, nine times out of 10, good things will happen.”

The Crimson defense then killed off another penalty late in the period to head into the second break with all the momentum on its side.