Facing its highest-ranked opponent yet in a mid-week matchup, Harvard women’s hockey took on No. 2/3 Boston College on the Eagles’ home ice. Despite lineup changes for the Crimson, the home team’s talent proved too much, as the Eagles (20-2-3, 13-1-3 WHEA) skated away with a 6-2 win. Harvard (8-8-1, 6-5-1 ECAC) has now lost all three of its games against top-10 teams in the past five days, having been outscored 16-8.
“The last time we played them, I thought we really backed off,” said coach Katey Stone in a video, referring to an 8-1 loss against BC in late November. “[On Tuesday] we really went at them.”
Coaching staff moved junior defender Kaitlin Tse to left wing on the top line, choosing to play only two defensive pairings. Freshman Brooke Jovanovich moved down to the second line, where she began the season, and the productive trio of junior Bradley Fusco, rookie Becca Gilmore, and sophomore forward Kat Hughes were separated. Despite the Crimson’s recent string of losses, Gilmore’s performances have stood out, as she posted her sixth multi-point game this weekend and earned ECAC Rookie of the Week honors. Gilmore, however, did not find the scoresheet against BC.
“Playing against a deficit definitely creates a sense of urgency,” said Hughes. “But as a team we need to remember to stick to the basics and not get too on edge.”
One positive the Crimson can take from the loss is breaking a dry run of 16 scoreless power plays. Harvard’s second goal of the game came on the player-advantage. With just over a minute to go in regulation, a slapshot from sophomore defender Ali Peper took a bounce off the back boards to co-captain Haley Mullins, who chipped it past Eagles assistant captain and netminder Katie Burt. Discipline, which has proved to be an issue for the Crimson in the past, was also spotless on Tuesday, as the team did not incur a single whistle while drawing three calls.
“We haven't seen a lot of success recently [on the power play],” Hughes said. “With time and practice, our power play units will grow some better chemistry and we'll be able to capitalize on more opportunities.”
The Eagles were already leading, 4-0, when Harvard first broke the ice. 12 minutes into the third period, freshman blueliner Kate Glover found rookie forward Keely Moy behind the goal line. Moy fed Nikki Friesen, her senior linemate, just inside the left circle; Friesen’s top-shelf chip brought the score to 4-1. The tally was Friesen’s first of the season.
After Mullins’s goal brought Harvard within three, any slim hopes of a last-minute surge were dashed with 50 seconds to play. With the score already at 5-2, BC sophomore Erin Connolly beat Crimson goaltender Beth Larcom with a snipe from the dot, sealing Harvard’s fate. Unlike on Saturday, when freshman Becky Dutton played in relief against Cornell, Larcom weathered all 60 minutes of the Eagles’ offense.
Before Connolly’s nail in the coffin, five different players found twine for BC. Junior captain Makenna Newkirk and freshman Maegan Beres each had three points on the night; Newkirk’s 47 points are tied for third in the country. Freshman Daryl Watts and sophomore Caitrin Lonergan, first and second in points in the country respectively, also added to the scoreboard.
“Even though they scored early, we picked our heads up and continued to work hard and got a lot of offensive opportunities,” Moy said.
The shot tally reflected that: the Crimson outshot its opponents, 38-30. While the skew might have to do with Harvard’s time on the power play, the team will look to finish its chances and continue its offensive efforts in the coming weekend. The Crimson takes the ice again on Jan. 19, playing host to ECAC leader No. 2/2 Clarkson.
—Staff writer Stuti R. Telidevara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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