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Meeting for the first time in their respective programs’ histories, the women’s hockey teams of Harvard and Holy Cross decided to go right ahead and play two, facing off in a home-and-home series this past weekend. Although the Crimson (4-2-1, 3-1-1 ECAC) outshot the Crusaders (6-4-1) in both contests, it only managed to capture one game, splitting the weekend slate.
“I think it was refreshing to play someone new,” junior forward Bradley Fusco said. “We sometimes get used to the teams that we’re always playing; we have an idea of what to expect from them. It was a good experience to go against a team we knew nothing about.”
Harvard 0, Holy Cross 2
Coming off a win at home on Friday night, the Crimson made the short drive over to Worcester, Mass. for the second game of its back-to-back. Harvard entered the contest hoping to carry over the momentum it gained from Friday’s comeback victory over the Crusaders.
Following a scoreless first period, Holy Cross scored both of the game’s goals in the second. With the support of the home crowd, the Crusaders tallied the game’s opening goal at the 2:23 mark of the second period. Then, in the waning moments of its five-minute power play, junior forward Julie Matthias took control of the puck off the board and flicked her shot over Crimson freshman goalkeeper Becky Dutton’s shoulder for the score.
Matthias wouldn’t have to wait long to see her name again on the score sheet. Following a great save by Dutton, Matthias collected the rebound at 4:10 and fired another shot into the back of the net to give Holy Cross a two-goal cushion.
In the third period, Harvard attempted to climb back into the contest by firing off a barrage of shots. In the frame, the Crimson outshot the Crusaders, 15-1, but none of the shots found their way past their senior goalie, Tessie Salatas. For the game, Harvard outshot Holy Cross 32-19, but only the Crusaders were able to take advantage of their opportunities.
Despite the loss, the Crimson skaters felt that they could take several positives from Saturday’s result.
“We have to come out knowing we can’t take anything lightly,” sophomore forward Kat Hughes said. If we’re playing a series against a team, the first game doesn’t matter. Every game is a new one and we need to be prepared to come out as strong as we ended in the first game.”
Harvard 8, Holy Cross 3
In the Crimson’s first game of the weekend, it played host to the Crusaders for a Friday evening contest. This meeting served as the first for these teams in their respective histories.
Harvard didn’t need to wait long to get on the scoreboard, as freshman forward Keely Moy collected a rebound and beat Salatas just two minutes into the first period.
“I think one of our main focuses for this season is making plays that get us scoring opportunities,” Fusco said. “We’re putting a lot of stress on testing the goalie early, and I think that our team in general wants to put ourselves in as good a position to win from the onset of the game.”
Holy Cross, however, was undeterred by the Crimson’s early strike. At the 10:49 mark of the period, the Crusaders tied up the game courtesy of junior forward Sam Girard. The visitors then went on to take the lead just before the end of the period, when junior forward Maeve Reilly finally beat Harvard sophomore goalkeeper Beth Larcom following a series of shots on goal.
The Crimson began the second period much like it began the first, scoring shortly after play resumed. Just over two minutes into the frame, freshman defender Sydney Sorkin played a pass to fellow freshman Becca Gilmore, whose top-shelf shot tied the game up once again at two goals apiece.
However, just as in the first period, Holy Cross answered back. Six minutes after Gilmore’s goal, the Crusaders took advantage of a power play, redirecting a missed shot past Larcom to retake a one-goal advantage. From that moment on, however, the Harvard offense took control.
Junior defender Kaitlin Tse and Gilmore helped the Crimson regain the lead before the end of the second period, setting up a final flurry in the third period when the team managed to net four goals within five minutes of play.
Just one minute into the period, Hughes collected the puck off of a turnover and sent her backhanded shot into the net to give Harvard a two goal advantage.
Less than a minute later, Moy redirected Gilmore’s shot into the net for her second goal of the contest. Hughes would go onto collect a second goal of her own just one minute later, scoring off a backhand shot. Two minutes later, Fusco slipped a shot under the goalkeeper’s legs for the Crimson’s eighth and final goal of the contest.
Neither team scored for the remainder of the period, and the game ended in a 8-3 victory for Harvard.
“We were down for the first half of the game, which was frustrating for us,” Hughes said. “Between the second and third, we managed to find a spark. As a result, we were able to come out and score four goals in the first six minutes. We just played as a much better team than we were in the first half.”
—Staff writer Sean Chanicka can be reached at email@example.com.
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