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UPDATED: March 7, 2015, at 8:00 p.m.
It is a rare occasion that a team gets to celebrate an overtime goal twice, but that is exactly what the Harvard women’s ice hockey team was able to do Saturday evening against Quinnipiac after the Crimson's overtime goal was held up following a lengthy review.
In a game that took more than the prescribed 60 minutes to play out, Harvard (24-5-3, 16-4-2 ECAC) sent the Bobcats (26-8-3, 15-5-2) packing in a 2-1 overtime thriller. With the win, the Crimson moves on to the ECAC Championship game against Cornell Sunday afternoon. The Big Red finished tied for fourth in the ECAC regular season, while Harvard entered the tournament as the second seed.
The Crimson had trailed for the majority of the contest and entered the third period down 1-0 to a Quinnipiac squad whose senior goalie Chelsea Laden had been a brick wall for the first 40 minutes of play.
It was senior defenseman Sarah Edney who struck first for Harvard at the 7:14 mark of the third period. Edney took a shot from the right wing that bounced off Bobcat defenseman Lindsey West in traffic and found the back of the net, tying the game at one.
The remainder of the third period was silent on both ends, with solid defense forcing the extra frame.
A controversial goal that was knocked in by junior forward Miye D’Oench at 2:39 in the overtime period was what put Harvard over the edge. It was unclear to the officials what had forced the puck into the net, but after a lengthy period of review, the call went in favor of the Crimson.
“[Co-captain Samantha] Reber took a nice low shot from what seemed like an unthreatening angle, but coach always says that all shots are good in OT,” D’Oench said. “I was up in front of the net working on one of their defenders, and [Laden] made the initial save but kind of lost the puck, and it went off of my chest and into the net.”
Prior to the goals, it took two periods for the Harvard sticks to warm up. Quinnipiac was able to break through first, as Bobcat forward Emma Woods found the back off Harvard’s net off a deflected puck that got past Crimson junior goalie Emerance Maschmeyer.
Coming into the game, Maschmeyer had the highest save percentage in the ECAC at .943, and she stayed true to her standard, saving the 30 of the 31 shots she saw between the posts.
Throughout the rest of the first period, Harvard took some promising shots on goal, all of which were saved by Laden.
“Both goaltenders played really well,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “They did their job, and they both gave their team an opportunity to win the game, and that’s exactly what they should do, so they were both up to the test.”
The fluid amount of offense that was seen in the first period was not mirrored in the second, as each team came out of the box and went straight into a period of stop and go hockey. The Harvard offense had problems getting shots on goal, struggling to get past the Quinnipiac line and into opposing territory. The few opportunities the team did have to generate shots on goal were once again stopped by Laden, who at times seemed to be everywhere at once in front of the net.
Looking on to Sunday’s game against Cornell, whom the Crimson has seen twice during the regular season, Stone believes there are still improvements that can be made to the team’s play.
“Today was a good hockey game, but I don’t think we played our best,” Stone said. “I’m impressed by our team’s strength and resilience, and I’m happy we’re playing in the final, but we all know we can play better than we did today. We can play better, harder, faster and smarter, and that’s what we expect out of our kids tomorrow.”
—Staff writer Ariel Smolik-Valles can be reached at email@example.com.
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