Back-to-back goals in the third period were not enough for the No. 3/5 Harvard women’s ice hockey team in the opening round of the 36th Annual Beanpot Tournament. The Crimson (17-3-3, 13-2-2 ECAC) fell Tuesday night in a 4-3 decision to Northeastern (14-12-2, 8-6-2 Hockey East) at Boston College’s Conte Forum.
A two-goal deficit after the first frame proved too much for Harvard to overcome, and the Huskies added a pair of goals in the second to extend their lead to 4-1 heading into the third stanza. The three-goal spread was the largest deficit the Crimson has faced all season long.
Only one other time during the 2013-2014 campaign had an opponent netted four goals against Harvard, but even then the Crimson still came out on top in the 5-4 win at Colgate last month. Though Harvard closed the gap against the Huskies with a pair of goals midway through the final frame, the Crimson could not find the late tiebreaker, suffering just its third loss of the season.
“I’d say we got off to a slow start, apparently, [but] made quite a game of it in the end,” interim head coach Maura Crowell said. “I thought for sure we were going to come up with that tying goal and push this to OT, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’m really proud of the way we battled back in the third period. It showed a lot of resilience, a lot of character. It’s a tough loss, but I was proud of the way we finished.”
Northeastern found a way to the back of the net against one of the top defensive fronts in the country. Heading into Tuesday’s contest, Harvard’s defense ranked fourth in the nation, allowing opponents on average a mere 1.18 goals per contest.
The Crimson seemed unable to stop the Huskies’ drive to the net for the first two periods. Sophomore goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer, who ranks third in the country with a .953 save percentage, let three slide through the crease before freshman Brianna Liang took over in net.
PROPS TO PARKER
With a 2-0 deficit halfway through the second—and with freshman defender Robyn White in the penalty box—sophomore Mary Parker found the back of the net to jumpstart the Crimson’s offense off an assist from the Elizabeth Parker, a senior defender and Parker’s older sister. It was just the third shorthanded goal for the Crimson all season.
“Right off the faceoff, the puck bounced right behind their center,” Parker said. “Elizabeth skated right through and got the puck, and right as she was going, I knew I had a jump to get there. She went around that first [defender], and then I just kept driving to the net.”
The younger Parker once again found herself launching another Crimson attack when she found the back of the net ten minutes into the third frame, narrowing the deficit, 4-2, with half of the final period remaining. The sophomore has become a source of offensive might for Harvard, registering 11 goals this season, and five goals in the past three contests.
Tuesday night’s contest featured a showdown between the top two perennial Beanpot powerhouses. Of the four Boston teams, Northeastern leads with 16 titles to its name, while Harvard is second with its 13 Beanpot championships. While the Crimson has historically been successful in the crosstown competition, Harvard has not seen that same success of late, losing its opening draw in the semifinals each of the past three years.
Last time out, the Crimson dropped a 2-1 decision to Boston College in the opening round but then went on to top Boston University, 3-0, in the consolation match. The year prior, Harvard fell, 5-2, to the Terriers in its semifinal match.
Each year, Harvard must navigate the annual four-team tournament while staying on top of its already-demanding regular season schedule. The mid-week games combined with weekend conference play make for a tough February stretch for the Crimson.
“We know the Beanpot is every February, and unfortunately the ECAC doesn’t give us relief on the weekend,” said interim Harvard coach Maura Crowell. “But that’s no excuse, we’ll be ready to go. I don’t think fatigue or anything like that played a factor in tonight’s game. They’re all big. They’re all big the rest of the way, and we know that. We’re prepared.”
—Staff writer Brenna R. Nelsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @CrimsonBRN.
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