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The Harvard women’s hockey team is a fan of the third period. After clawing its way back from deficits against Colgate and the University of Connecticut, the Crimson followed a similar script against Union on Friday night.
Harvard (15-2-2, 11-2-1 ECAC) came away with a 2-0 win against the Dutchmen (8-16-1, 3-10-0) after notching two goals in the final period.
While the Crimson seemed to control the puck for the majority of the game and outshot the visitors through two periods, 16 to eight, Harvard went into the last 20 minutes tied, 0-0.
“We’ve been in a lot of tight situations like this throughout the season,” coach Maura Crowell said. “I think we have a lot of confidence with it now, so I just told them to stay calm and be confident, know when to shoot, know when to pass, and don’t panic. I think they did a really good job with that while maintaining their intensity level, which is what you want.”
It only took 46 seconds of the final period for Harvard junior forward Hillary Crowe to convert captain defenseman Marissa Gedman’s shot attempt into the first goal of the game. While Gedman’s shot was stopped by Union goaltender Shenae Lundberg, Crowe lunged for the rebound and managed to flick the puck into the back of the net.
“We had been creating opportunities all night,” Crowe said. “But nothing was really clicking and we weren’t finding the back of the net. We just needed to crash the net and make the goalie move laterally because she was coming up huge and we were shooting right into her. Once we finally popped [the first goal] in, it gave us the momentum we needed.”
After Friday night’s matchup, Gedman had accumulated a total of five assists and three goals for the season. Crowe tallied her eighth goal of the year, making her one of the team’s top scorers.
Freshman goaltender Brianna Laing made 15 saves for her third shutout in four career starts. Both the Crimson and the Dutchmen went scoreless on their two and three power plays, respectively. However, while Harvard shot twice during its power plays—both tries stopped by Lundberg—Union had three shot attempts on the advantage, but was shut out by Laing
“I thought we kind of had a slow start,” Crowe said. “I thought we came alive in the third period, which is good because we’ve been focusing on playing a solid sixty minutes. When it’s a tied game, we want to play with a sense of urgency. Coming off of a solid weekend we wanted to carry over a lot of things that we did well, like moving the puck well up the ice, and just playing fast and smart.”
The Union team has a strong defensive line, along with goaltender Lundberg, who has a save percentage of .900 and has blocked a total of 586 shot attempts. Dutchmen forwards Stefanie Thomson and Kathryn Tomaselli lead their squad’s offense, with eight and 11 goals, respectively.
“[Union’s] goaltending is very strong,” Crowell said. “Their power play is very good. I think they’re fifth in the country in power play, and they have the leading scorer in the country with power play goals, so we definitely keyed in on that. They battle hard, so that’s what we were ready for.”
Junior defenseman Sarah Edney slapped a shot into the high corner of the net late into the final period to make the score 2-0, nabbing her fifth goal of the season in the process. The assist came from Gedman.
The Crimson outshot the Dutchmen, 24-15, while Union won 20 of the 38 faceoffs.
“[We want to] play hard for 60 minutes,” Crowell said. “That’s always what we try to do. We had a really exciting win last weekend over Cornell and we want to sort of springboard from that into the rest of the season, so that’s what we did and I think this was a really great game for us.”
The win against Union is Harvard’s sixth win in seven games. The Crimson also notched its ninth home game victory of the season.
“From here on out it’s just a race to the playoffs,” Crowell said. “Every game matters, and that’s all the motivation that [the team] needs.”
—Crimson staff writer Emily T. Wang can be reached at email@example.com.
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