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After two periods in the contest between the Ivy League’s highest-powered women’s ice hockey squads, No. 6 Harvard had No. 3 Cornell on the ropes. The Crimson had gone up 2-0 in just the first period, and Cornell had been unable to make up any ground in the second despite getting off 12 shots to Harvard’s one.
But after 40 minutes of struggling against the Crimson defense, it only took two minutes for the momentum to shift in the Big Red’s favor in a game that eventually ended in a 3-3 tie, leaving Harvard (6-1-1, 6-1-1 ECAC) in second behind league leader Cornell (8-0-2, 6-0-2).
“I love the way we came out in the first period,” Harvard coach Maura Crowell said. “I think we had a ton of confidence, a ton of momentum, got all over the goalie…. that’s what we have to do for 60 minutes. But we let them back into it, we let them believe that they could play with us, and that’s what happened.”
Seconds into the final period, Cornell captain Jessica Campbell raced up the left side of the ice and wristed a hard shot from near the point. Sophomore goalie Emerance Maschmeyer managed to get a piece of it, but the puck trickled past the goal line to put Cornell within one, ending the Harvard defense’s streak of 31 straight penalty kills.
It took just over a minute for the Big Red to strike again. Cornell junior Emily Fulton made a perfect pass from behind the net to a streaking Jillian Saulnier, who received the puck just in front of the goal and tapped it in with no hesitation to tie the game up at two, less than two minutes into the third.
“It was a roller coaster,” Crowell said. “Obviously we had a really good start in the first [period] and would have liked to continue to play that way. The second was a tough one for us…but I think we weathered the storm, didn’t give any [goals] up. But clearly in the third, it wasn’t the way we wanted to start.”
Despite watching its lead disappear in 78 seconds, the Crimson refused to let the Big Red take over. After receiving the puck just above the blue line, sophomore Mary Parker slapped a shot past goalie Lauren Slebodnick and into the upper-right corner of the net to regain the Harvard lead.
“We just battled through,” sophomore forward Miye D’Oench said. “Even when they scored two goals, we came right back and scored a goal…. Emerance played great, so hopefully next time we won’t let [up] those two minutes where they score two goals.”
Cornell, however, once again proved that it had an answer for whatever the Crimson could throw at it. With less than five minutes remaining in the contest, Saulnier redirected an Emily Fulton slapshot under Maschmeyer’s leg to tie the game at three and send it to overtime.
The Big Red had a chance to grab the win in the final seconds of the overtime period, when Campbell managed to get past the Harvard defense to go one-on-one with Maschmeyer. But the sophomore made a point-blank save as the buzzer sounded to preserve the tie for the Crimson.
“It was a little frightening,” Maschmeyer said. “There were only two seconds left, so I think my heart dropped out of my chest for a second. But I had to keep calm and collected because I knew I had to make that save.”
Harvard came out firing in the first period, as D’Oench stole the puck at center ice less than two minutes into the game to create a one-on-one opportunity and fired a shot past the Cornell netminder to give the Crimson a 1-0 lead. Later, D’Oench provided the assist on freshman Sydney Daniels’ first career goal and put Harvard up by two to finish the first.
Despite losing the lead, the Harvard squad is looking to take something positive away from the experience.
“If you walked into the game today and you told me we were going to tie Cornell, I think I would have been content,” Crowell said. “Having had a two-goal lead is frustrating, and then to go up again and have the 3-2 score and then give it up again is frustrating. But to hold out after giving up so much momentum in the end...there is some silver lining in that.”
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