In its first home double-header of the season, the Harvard women’s hockey team faced off against Ivy League opponents Brown and Yale. The Crimson came off a two-week break ready to jump further into Ivy play and looked to gain a foothold in the ECAC against two sub-.500 teams.
But the time off was not without its unfortunate developments: the team lost tri-captain and top-line center Lexie Laing to injury, and later learned she would be out for the rest of the season.
Nevertheless, Harvard (3-1-1, 3-1-1 ECAC) rallied to pick up three of four available points through the weekend.
Against Brown (1-7, 1-5), nine different Crimson players tallied points in a 6-3 triumph—but the contest was closer than the score suggests, as the Bears trimmed down a 5-0 deficit in the last eight minutes of the game. That same third-period slowness caught up to Harvard against Yale (2-4-2, 1-3-2), when the Bulldogs erased the Crimson’s 2-0 lead for a 2-2 tie that overtime could not decide.
“We obviously were looking for two wins,” tri-captain Haley Mullins said. “We never want to tie or lose to an Ivy League team, but we’re a young team.”
HARVARD 2, YALE 2
In Saturday’s afternoon matchup, the Crimson played host to Ivy rivals, the Bulldogs. Yale had opened its Ivy League play the day before and emerged with a 5-1 win over Dartmouth.
While Harvard was having a strong second period on Friday against Brown, so were the Bulldogs in their own contest—two of their goals came during the middle frame against the Big Green. Though Yale’s record was less than stellar coming into Cambridge, it still brought an explosive offense up against the Crimson.
“Yale’s not going to go away,” said head coach Katey Stone. “It’s a great matchup, and I thought their goaltender did a great job [too].”
The visitors’ opportunistic, quick-strike offense was what made Harvard pay for sitting back on a two-goal lead late in the second period.
At 16:42 of the middle frame, Yale senior forward Eden Murray controlled a faceoff in the Crimson’s zone and fed her freshman linemate, Greta Skarzynski, in the slot. Skarzynski worked past the Harvard player marking her and chopped the biscuit between Crimson sophomore netminder Beth Larcom’s pads. The play underwent a long review, but was ultimately ruled a goal, cutting Harvard’s lead in half.
Later, with just one minute to play in the game, Yale junior forward Emma Vlasic crept into the high slot and fired the puck at the goal; Larcom was screened and never had a chance. Tied 2-2, the game would go to overtime.
“We had command of a large part of the game, in many different areas,” Stone said. “We let it slip away a little bit at the end there.”
Earlier, the Crimson got out to a lead by putting on a sharp power play late in the first frame, keeping up near-continuous play to tire out Yale’s penalty killers. Just as the penalty was expiring, Harvard sophomore defender Ali Peper fed sophomore Val Turgeon right across the crease—the east-west play allowed Turgeon to find the open net for the 1-0 lead. Turgeon’s goal also played spoilsport to the Bulldogs’ impressive penalty kill, good for third in the nation before the game began.
The opportunities continued for Harvard to start the second, mostly because of the aggressive, fast play of its top two forward lines. On a rare fourth-line shift, though, senior forward Dani Krzyszczyk stole the puck from a Bulldog defender deep in Yale’s zone, peeled away to the slot, and went flat and far-side past Hofmann, putting the Crimson up 2-0.
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