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As seasons come and go, there is one constant in the Harvard women’s ice hockey team: the quest for victory. Regardless of who is lacing up her skates, whether it be a new freshman or a returning upperclassman, the search for hockey supremacy remains the same.
“As a member of Harvard hockey, we have a very similar outlook every year,” senior defender Kaitlin Tse said. “That is getting ECAC championships, NCAA tournament, Beanpot, and gaining home ice for the playoffs. Those do not really change from year to year.”
Last year, the team’s campaign for ECAC dominance came to a bitter end at the hands of No. 4/4 Colgate. The Raiders won the first two games of the three-game series, eliminating the Crimson in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
“We lost first round of the playoffs,” Tse said. “When things don’t go your way, you have to find a way to learn from that, gain some perspective, and figure a way to move on.”
Many months have passed since those games against Colgate, but the lessons learned still remain fresh in the team’s collective memory. Harvard’s head coach, Katey Stone, reflects on those lessons and comes away with a sense of optimism for the upcoming season ahead.
“I think we took a step forward last year,” Stone said. “We need depth in our roster, we want that hammer mentality. If somebody is not going, there is someone in the line-up who is scratching and clawing to be that next person. I think we have that now, we have depth in every position.”
As graduating seniors depart Harvard, they are replaced by a wide-eyed, eager group of freshmen excited for the upcoming year. The raw energy of these new players permeate the team atmosphere, giving everyone a new sense of possibility.
“We have kids that are hockey players,” Stone said. “They are excited to come to the rink, work their tail off, compete against each other, so that they are better off to compete against the opponent.”
This year’s group of talented freshmen has already made its mark in the first three games of the season. Rookie forwards Anne Bloomer and Dominique Petrie have already netted two goals apiece, and first-year goalkeeper Lindsay Reed has recorded 74 saves, including a staggering 49 against Colgate.
The departure of the graduating seniors also leaves an opportunity for new leaders to emerge. When talking about who these new leaders that are stepping up to the plate are, Stone already as a clear image in her mind.
“Our senior class, there is no question,” Stone said. “There are four of them, they are four strong and what they do for the program on and off the ice is significant. They have been great with our younger players and bringing them along. They understand that that is the most important thing.”
Captain and senior forward Lexie Laing and senior defender Kaitlin Tse are some of the leaders that guide the young freshmen.
“For me personally, I lead by example,” Tse said. “You help them fill roles as best as you can.”
Laing stresses the importance of communication. Whether it be verbal or non-verbal, communication ensures everyone is on the same page.
“It is helping each other out,” Laing said. “Being your teammates eyes and ears and seeing things they cannot, like if someone is coming from behind them.”
Along with the addition of new players, the team also adds a familiar face to its coaching roster. Assistant coach Sydney Daniels graduated from the college in 2017 and was a member of the team as an undergraduate. After graduation, coach Daniels played for the NWHL’s Boston Pride for 2017-2018 season before joining the coaching staff last May.
SO FAR THIS SEASON
Harvard has already displayed some of those lessons learned this year in its first three games against Dartmouth, Cornell, and Colgate, respectively. Playing at home against Dartmouth, the Crimson skated to a 3-1 victory, thanks to goals scored by freshmen Anne Bloomer and Dominique Petrie. However, the next two games against Cornell and Colgate would result in back-to-back losses.
Despite the two early losses, the team’s outlook for the rest of the season remains positive.
“If you compare us from last year, it’s like night and day,” Tse said. “We are competing with these teams, and I think that is a big positive for the [team].”
Looking ahead, the Crimson has two road games next weekend against Quinnipiac and Princeton. After that, the team travels back to its home ice to take on Holy Cross before hitting the road again for a doubleheader against Wisconsin, the top ranked team in the country.
Harvard's strategy for these and all other remaining games on its schedule is a simple but powerful one. Their strategy emphasizes hard work, dedication, and the belief that there are no shortcuts to success.
“The way we approach things here is every game is a championship game for us,” Stone said. “We need to play our best at every opportunity we have, if we do that, good things are going to come our way.”
Using this strategy of hard work and perseverance, Harvard hopes to accomplish the goal of elevating its game to the next level.
“One of our big mentalities and goals of this year is to be the hardest working team in the league,” Laing said. “[To the point where] every time someone plays us to say, “Aw man, we have to play Harvard today!”
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