When junior goalie Molly Tissenbaum skated out onto the ice on Friday night, she was making just her second career start for the No. 8/7 Harvard women’s ice hockey team (1-1-1, 1-1-1 ECAC) against the 2014 national champions Clarkson (9-0-2, 0-0-2).
Cue the nerves?
Tissenbaum was already in the zone.
“I knew it was going to be a good night when my one-on-one shooter [junior defender] Briana Mastel and I had hit all of our targets in the warm-up before the game,” Tissenbaum said. “When all five shots end up where they should be, it’s going to be a good night. After that, it’s just a matter of keeping it simple.”
Sixty-five minutes of play later, Tissenbaum headed back to the locker room having shut out the fourth-ranked team in the country, marking the first time in her Crimson career she had finished a game with a shutout.
Before Friday, Clarkson had averaged a strong 4.5 goals per game, with its leading scorer Cayley Mercer already at an impressive 18 points.
But the Golden Knights drew a blank in Cambridge, with the impassable Tissenbaum making a perfect 23 saves on all 23 attempts.
The game was a tight affair, with both goaltenders proving too much for the offenses.
The defensive battle eventually ended in a scoreless tie.
Any mistake would have surely meant curtains. But in this pressure cooked situation, Tissenbaum was not fazed.
“At that point, it’s a matter of reaction,” Tissenbaum said. “And doing what I’ve been doing for my whole life as a goalie, which is focus on each puck as if it’s the biggest save of the game.”
With this mentality, the junior goalie was able to rise up to the challenge in just her ninth game in two years.
But this came as no surprise to her teammates.
Tissenbaum has a past littered with injuries and in particular was out of the sport for six months from a concussion.
She came back strong and has continued to put herself on the line for the team.
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