Women's Hockey Relegated to Third in ECAC After Loss to Clarkson

A goal that snuck in right at the buzzer in the last second of the first period gave No. 6 Clarkson (26-8-0, 18-4-0 ECAC) a 2-0 lead and put it well on its way to a 3-1 victory over No. 5 Harvard (20-5-3, 16-3-2) Saturday at Bright Hockey Center. Down two, Crimson coach Katey Stone decided to make a change in front of net. Freshman Emerance Maschmeyer was pulled out of goal to let co-captain Laura Bellamy take over for the second and third periods.

“The first one she wasn’t ready.” Stone said. “It was an easy shot, [and] went right in, she didn’t track it well. When you’re already down 2-0 in the first period, and they score in that fashion with [two-tenths] of a second left on the clock, you have to make some changes. Lu came in and did a good job.”

The Golden Knights’ strongest performance came from junior goalie Erica Howe. Howe faced a very aggressive Harvard offensive attack, blocking 39 of Harvard’s 40 shots on net and keeping 86 Crimson shot attempts at bay. Having little time to spend in opposing ice, Clarkson’s offense took less than half as many shot attempts, tallying 38 attempts and putting 23 shots on goal.

But Clarkson managed to capitalize on its plays in the first period, while the Crimson struggled to do so. The two goals by junior forwards Carly Mercer and Vanessa Gagnon gave the Golden Knights the early lead they needed. Early in the first period, Mercer cut around sophomore Sarah Edney and netted a goal in the top left corner. Assisted by Danielle Skirrow, Gagnon capitalized on a wraparound that put the puck out in front, scoring in the last second of the period.

“We’ve got to get better at getting to the net and getting to the net for those rebounds, something we were doing a real good job of earlier [this season],” Stone said.

The second period brought a definitive change in pace for Harvard.

“When we gave up that goal late, we lost a little momentum,” Bellamy said. “We wanted to come out and move our feet and use our speed. That was our game plan from the start and we kind of got away from that in the first.”

The team outplayed the Golden Knights in the second period, firing 18 shots on net and allowing just four Clarkson attempts. The Crimson controlled the puck in Clarkson’s zone, and its efforts paid off when freshman forward Miye O’Dench scored the team’s only goal, with freshman Dylanne Crugnale tallying the assist. O’Dench put the puck right over the goaltender’s glove to net a goal in the top left corner.

Both teams struggled to capitalize on the power play with neither managing to capitalize. Clarkson successfully killed four Harvard penalties, while Harvard killed Clarkson’s five.

The third period brought the Crimson’s control to an end. Clarkson reclaimed its ability to get the puck to Harvard’s net, and junior forward Jamie Lee Rattray netted Clarkson’s final goal. Rattray rebounded a shot by Gagnon for the goal.

“We were getting our pockets picked a little bit tonight,” Bellamy said. “We cleaned up our game by the end, but by then to go down [makes] it tough to come back.”

The Crimson’s second loss to the Golden Knights this season locked it into the third seed for the upcoming ECAC tournament. The team plans to carry the loss as a learning experience as it approaches the tournament.

“We found some things out about our team today, and places we can get better,” Stone said.

The loss was followed by Harvard’s Senior Day activities which celebrated the Class of 2013, which includes a number of key conributors. Bellamy recovered the team’s defensive stability, making thirteen saves, and allowing only one goal while her co-captain forward Jillian Dempsey led the team in shots on net with six, matched only by junior forward Lyndsey Fry.