The stage was set Friday afternoon in Cambridge for a show down between two of the ECAC’s top hockey teams. Harvard (11-8-1, 8-6-1 ECAC) came into the game ranked fifth in the conference standings and played host to No. 4/4 Quinnipiac (21-1-4, 11-1-3), the top seeded team in the ECAC.
After 60 minutes of grueling hockey, one shot proved to be the difference between the two teams. Bobcat freshman forward Melissa Samoskevich went home with the only tally of the night, giving Quinnipiac the 1-0 victory on the road.
“We have a lot to learn from these games,” co-captain goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer said. “We’re learning that we can’t save it until the last bit of the game and we need to start strong.”
The Crimson failed to come out of the gate with all engines fully loaded, taking only five shots on goal in the first period. The only time the team had taken less chances at scoring was its previous matchup against the Bobcats, during which the tally was a mere two shots.
Quinnipiac, however, skated onto the ice in full force, taking three shots on goal in the first three minutes. The opportunity for a scoring drive came at the 6:26 mark of the contest when sophomore forward Lexie Laing was called for a hooking penalty. Quinnipiac went to work having the man-up situation on the ice, taking two consecutive shots on goal in the opening 30 seconds of the power play.
The third shot of the power play was the charm, as defender Kristen Tamberg took a shot that got past Harvard’s first line of defense. In a scramble in front of the net, the Bobcats regained control of the puck and freshman forward Melissa Samoskevich was able to deflect a shot off Maschmeyer for the first goal of the game. The goal was reviewed by the officials but stood as the first tally of the contest.
“[Samoskevich] shot it, and the puck was sitting in front of our [defense] at one of their player’s feet, and I was behind them. And somehow I got moved to the side, so I thought it was their player that moved me, but they reviewed it, and it turned out to be one of our girls,” Maschmeyer said.
Despite the one goal tallied against her, Maschmeyer had a career high number of saves on the night, stopping 37 of the Bobcats’ 38 shots on goal. Quinnipiac goaltender Sydney Rossman faced 20 shots over the course of the night, stopping all Harvard scoring attempts to record the shut out.
The Crimson attempted to come out stronger in the second period, opening the period with a quick shot against Rossman, who came up with a butterfly save to keep Harvard at bay. The second 20-minute block of time saw the Crimson come up with six shots on goal, although the Bobcats mirrored their 14 shots from the first period.
“It’s just a matter of trying to take better care of the puck and get ourselves to the net,” head coach Katey Stone said. “We didn’t have a lot of options coming out of our own zone tonight so they made it very tough on us.”
The two times Harvard had the man-up advantage were squandered, leaving the Crimson unable to capitalize on either Bobcat penalty. In the second period, junior defender Emma Greco was called for tripping, to which the Crimson responded with an immediate shot against Rossman. Quinnipiac was able to quiet the Harvard attack, eating time off the penalty clock by clearing the puck down the ice multiple times during the power play.
“Our two best opportunities on the power play were on entry,” Stone said. “We had two opportunities to score right off the bat, and it just didn’t happen, and we sort of threw the puck around. We need to be a little bit more composed in those situations.”
The Bobcats were riding a four game win streak going into Friday afternoon’s matchup, while the Crimson was coming off of a win against Dartmouth after dropping its previous three games. The Crimson will face off against Princeton in another ECAC match up Saturday afternoon.
–Staff writer Ariel Smolik Valles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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