Down 3-0 to Northeastern midway through the second period of the Beanpot semifinals on Feb. 8, it seemed that the Harvard women’s hockey team would suffer its second Beanpot semifinal loss ever and its first since 2007.
Instead, the Crimson scored three goals in the final 30 minutes of ice time to tie the score at three and force a shootout. Goals by sophomores Jillian Dempsey and Josephine Pucci in the shootout gave Harvard the victory, propelling the team to the Beanpot finals.
The win at the Conte Forum was arguably the highlight of a season characterized by toughness, if not by the same success of seasons past. The shootout success gave the seniors their fourth trip in as many years to the Beanpot finals.
“I think it shows our team’s resilience and willingness to win,” tri-captain Liza Ryabkina said. “It showed the character of the team for the whole season. It was definitely a determining factor that showed us and showed other people that even when we’re down, we’re not just going to roll over and die.”
In the first period, the Crimson was outshot, 12-9, a rarity for the fast-paced Harvard team.
And the Crimson paid for it.
The Huskies were able to convert on their first power play of the game when Rachel Llanes scored nine-and-a-half minutes into the game. Two minutes later, Northeastern struck again. This time, it was Casey Pickett eluding sophomore goaltender Laura Bellamy.
While the Huskies took an early lead by virtue of their aggressive play, it was their efficiency that helped them extend the lead into the second period.
Five minutes into the frame, Lori Antflick converted Northeastern’s only shot of the period to put the Huskies up by three.
But from then on, it was all Harvard.
Tri-captain Kate Buesser struck first, scoring 12 minutes into the second period.
“It don’t think anything had changed,” Ryabkina said. “A lot of teams, when they’re two goals down, they don’t expect to come back. No matter what the score says, we go until the last second. That game was a way for us to show exactly the kind of team we are.”
The Crimson hit its scoring stride just in the nick of time—when it was down two goals with five minutes of regulation remaining. Senior Ashley Wheeler and freshman Marissa Gedman scored within a minute of each other to force overtime.
“I think the idea with us is you never stop shooting,” Buesser said. “What it comes down [to] is anyone on our team can do it. Once we got [the first] goal, we knew it was time. I think we had been in that situation enough to relax and play our game.”
Harvard’s offense wasn’t the only thing to find its rhythm in the game’s waning moments. After struggling in the first and second periods, Bellamy stopped all five shots that came her way.