After scoring early and often, the Harvard women’s ice hockey team was able to finish its weekend road trip with victories against Yale and Brown.
Having played many close games to start the year, including a 2-1 loss to Dartmouth in its season opener, the No. 9/9 Crimson (3-1-1, 3-1-1 ECAC) was looking to make a statement to solidify its position going forward in a still-early season. Harvard did exactly that by besting Yale (1-4-1, 1-2-0) and Brown (0-6-0, 0-4-0) on the road, 3-2 and 5-1, respectively.
HARVARD 5, BROWN 1
While the Crimson was unable to completely set itself apart from Yale after heading out to an early lead on Friday, the narrative was slightly different against the Bears, as Harvard rode its offense to a definitive victory in Providence, R.I.
After a scoreless, back and forth first period, Harvard owned the rest of the contest. Goals by junior forward Sydney Daniels, sophomore forward Lexie Laing, freshman forward Audrey Warner, and junior defender Briana Mastel led the Crimson to a 4-0 advantage by 4:19 in the third.
The offensive prowess was on display throughout the latter half of the contest as well, as Harvard took 46 shots on the evening with 19 of those attempts coming in the third period alone.
“We got a lot of different scores, which is a lot of fun to see,” co-captain Michelle Picard said. “Just getting offense from a lot of different people in lines, defense, forwards, everyone…. It’s good to know that we can generate offense from anybody and we don’t have to rely on any specific person.”
Harvard played stout defense when tested on its two penalty kills in the competition. The Crimson, on the other hand, was able to turn that around on Brown to make the most of its lone power play opportunity on the weekend with Mastel’s score.
A late Bears goal by Sam Donovan spoiled junior goalie Molly Tissenbaum’s opportunity for a clean sheet, but Harvard finished strong. The Crimson were able to cap off the game with just seconds left in the match with an empty net score by freshman defender Kate Hallett after Brown pulled its goalie.
HARVARD 3, YALE 2
Harvard kicked off the trip Friday night in New Haven against the Bulldogs. The Cambridge contingent started off strong, as Daniels put her team in the lead 5:29 into the first period with her first goal of the season to give the Crimson the lead. Two scores by freshman forward Grace Zarzecki in the second stanza, the first goals of her Crimson career, widened the gap even further while the game was still young.
Although seemingly in the driver’s seat at this point in the game, Harvard could not pull away from its rivals.
The Crimson committed penalties that led to five power play opportunities for the Bulldogs. Harvard’s defense held firm, however, as it stifled any attempt by the opposition to pull closer during penalty kills to finish the two game set without a blemish over seven such challenges.
“We had a lot of penalties this weekend against us, but we killed them off grit, so our [penalty kills] are rolling really well,” Picard said. “We have a lot of confidence in that. Obviously, we don’t want to get penalties, but if we do, we know that we can kill them.”
The Crimson’s defense eventually did crack, however, as the Bulldogs’ Phoebe Staenz was finally able to get the puck past junior goalie Brianna Laing early in the third period. Another goal in garbage time with 13 seconds left in the contest set the final score.
Although Yale produced a solid, penalty free offensive outing with 28 shots to Harvard’s 21, Laing’s 26 saves contributed greatly to Harvard’s defensive effort, helping to pull out a close victory.
“I think it’s really impressive the way [Laing] played,” senior forward Miye D’Oench said. “It’s tough to not get a lot of ice time and when it’s your turn to step up and play…. It wasn’t easy, and she made huge saves for us.”
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