Eight months after leaving Minnesota as national runner-ups last season, Crimson coach Katey Stone and the No. 8/8 Harvard women’s ice hockey team returned to the North Star state this weekend to take on No. -/10 Minnesota-Duluth in a pair of nonconference tilts.
In a matchup that saw the Crimson square off against several former Harvard personnel behind the Bulldog bench, UMD head coach Maura Crowell included, Harvard (8-2-1, 5-1-1 ECAC) split the two decisions at AMSOIL Arena, dropping the first game, 4-2, before skating away with an authoritative 4-1 victory over the Bulldogs (6-10-0, 3-7-0 WCHA) in the encore.
HARVARD 4, UMD 1
After suffering its first loss since Oct. 23 on Friday, the Crimson bounced back to rout the Bulldogs, 4-1, on Saturday. Four different players found the back of the net in a contest Harvard led wire-to-wire.
“We put more pressure on them,” Crimson co-captain Michelle Picard said. “We gave them less time to make plays with the puck and were just more aware on the ice, a little bit more on our toes, [and] made more plays.”
Rookie forward Audrey Warner got the scoring started eight minutes into the game, poking a shot in front of the crease past UMD freshman goalkeeper Maddie Rooney.
Harvard doubled its lead just before the end of the first frame, as senior forward Miye D’Oench scored the 100th point of her collegiate career.
After struggling to control possession of the puck inside the left faceoff circle with two Bulldog skaters on her heels, the senior pivoted towards the edge of the circle before firing a laser past Rooney.
Freshman forward Grace Zarzecki extended the Crimson lead in the second period, as the rookie found the back of the net after sophomore forward Karly Heffernan fed the puck around the boards to senior forward Mary Parker, who dished to Zarzecki for the goal.
UMD attempted to get back into the game but remained unable to penetrate the Harvard defense until five minutes into the third stanza. Junior forward Lara Stalder found the back off the net following a faceoff to get one back for the Bulldogs.
Junior forward Sydney Daniels put the finishing touches on the Crimson victory, sending a rocket into the top left corner of the net from the slot, the fifth goal of the season for the forward.
After conceding four goals the night before, the defense played a pivotal part in the Harvard victory, killing all four of the Bulldogs’ power plays. Co-captain Emerance Maschmeyer contributed 30 saves for the Crimson—her third straight game with at least that many—and picked up her fourth victory of the season.
“[UMD] had plenty of good chances,” Stone said. “The best penalty killer is the goalkeeper, and [Maschmeyer] played great. [She] was very big in those situations and we played well in front of her.”
UMD 4, HARVARD 2
With the score even at two goals each, an errant puck found itself at the feet of UMD junior Ashley Brykaliuk. The forward sniped the puck from the high slot for her second goal of the contest, giving the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish en route to a 4-2 victory over the Crimson.
“We weren’t attacking the way we usually do,” Picard said. “For whatever reason, we were sitting back a little bit and giving them more time and space than we should’ve.”
UMD got off to a quick start, as Brykaliuk fired a shot just 31 seconds into the game that bounced off of Maschmeyer’s right pad and into the goal.
The momentum shifted between the teams for the majority of the first stanza, before the Crimson obtained a 5-on-3 advantage following two penalties against the Bulldogs.
Despite failing to take advantage of the two-skater advantage, Parker found the back of the net during the 5-on-4, as senior forward Jessica Harvey’s shot from the left faceoff circle bounced off of Rooney, allowing Parker to poke the puck in.
The Crimson once again took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play in the second stanza, as D’Oench slapped in a shot from close range after a rip from Mastel at the point deflected into the path of the New York native, giving Harvard its first lead of the game.
The lead was short lived, however, as Bulldog senior forward Michela Cava evened the score on a one-on-one opportunity just three minutes later before Brykaliuk’s second score put UMD in front.
A power-play goal from sophomore defender Catherine Daoust finished off the night for the Bulldogs, who earned their second straight win over a ranked team with the victory.
Maschmeyer posted a season-high 33 saves for the Crimson, but the defense surrendered more than two goals for the first time since its 4-1 loss to top-ranked Minnesota in the 2015 national championship.
With Harvard missing two players in Daniels and sophomore forward Lexie Laing on Friday, the team struggled to play cohesively within its rotations, making it hard for the Crimson to instill its game plan.
“We were on our heels right from the start,” Stone said. “Missing a couple of kids in the lineup made us struggle with lines a little…. Our rhythm wasn’t there with the line changes we made. Defensively we struggled, we didn’t support our defensemen, it just wasn’t a real team game for us.”
—Staff writer Julio Fierro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.