From left pipe to right pipe, a regulation-sized hockey net is six feet wide. But on Thursday afternoon at Sochi’s Bolshoy Ice Dome, the U.S. Olympic women’s ice hockey team, which is coached by Harvard head coach Katey Stone and includes four current or former Crimson skaters, wished it were a bit wider, as a would-be game-clinching shot clanged off the left post of an empty net during the gold-medal match against Canada.
Possessing a 2-1 lead with a minute remaining, the Americans squandered the advantage and eventually fell to the Canadians in sudden-death overtime, 3-2. Though the silver medals awarded to Team USA may have been some consolation, the loss was tough to swallow for Harvard women’s ice hockey supporters.
“We were all bummed out, but you can’t forget that it’s a silver medal at the Olympics,” said Marissa A. Gedman ’14-’15, captain of the Harvard team. “I think there’s a huge thing to say about perspective, and we’re proud of them no matter what.”
Gedman and members of her team gathered in Adams House to watch the game Thursday, while many Department of Athletics staff members and Harvard coaches attended a viewing party in the Murr Center in Allston.
“I think the support that was shown today in Adams shows how excited we were for them,” Gedman said. “I can’t say enough about how proud we are of them, win or loss.”
Two of the four Harvard representatives on the squad—defender Michelle L. Picard ’15-’16 and forward Lyndsey B. Fry ’14-’15—also recorded shots on goal during their first Olympic appearance.
“Now that it’s over, I guess it’s safe to say that we can’t wait to have them back,” said Gedman of the Harvard contingent in Sochi, three of whom are taking time off from the University. “It’s been a tough year without all of them, and I can’t wait to have three of our players back and Coach Stone back on the bench…having them back is going to be awesome.”
The Americans held control for most of the game, taking a two-goal advantage a few minutes into the third period. But the momentum shifted later in the frame, when Canada’s Brianne Jenner slapped a shot that deflected off defender Kacey Bellamy’s right leg and past U.S. goalie Jessie Vetter to cut the deficit in half with 3:26 left.
Canada pulled its goalie, Shannon Szabados, to set up the 6-on-5 advantage in the final 125 seconds. Seconds after American Anne Schleper’s empty-netter attempt ricocheted off the left post, Marie Philip-Poulin, a Canadian from Boston University, flipped a shot past Vetter for the equalizer and sent the contest to overtime.
Eight minutes into the extra period with Canada on a 5-on-3 power play, Philip-Poulin stuffed the puck for the gold-medal winning goal, devastating the U.S. women, who had come a minute from breaking the Canadiens’ streak of four straight Olympic golds. Philip-Poulin also scored both goals during Canada’s 2-0 gold medal win over the U.S. in Vancouver in 2010.
Forward Julie Chu ’07 and defenseman Josephine U. Pucci ’13-’15 each notched an assist over the five games played, with the latter earning a point for assisting Carpenter in Team USA’s ninth goal against Switzerland in the second game of the group stage. Chu, a four-time Olympian, is the Crimson’s all-time leader in assists with 196 over her career in Cambridge.
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