Coming off of a 5-2 win in Game 1 of the ECAC Quarterfinals, Harvard would be looking to sweep No. 9/9 Colgate with another upset. Tying the game 1-1 at the end of the second period, the Crimson looked poised to continue the momentum in the third. The Raiders, however, found an immediate response, pulling ahead 2-1 before the intermission and then icing the game in the final period. By the time the buzzer sounded, Colgate would seal the 4-2 victory. With the series knotted at one, Sunday’s decisive Game 3 will determine who advances to the semifinal.
With 3:21 to play in the middle frame, Raider freshman forward Delani MacKay would find the back of the net for Colgate (22-9-5, 15-4-3 ECAC) with an assist coming from senior defender Olivia Zafuto. The puck trickled across the crease, and MacKay was able to out-skate Harvard defenders to the post to bury the puck. The goal had come in response to Crimson freshman forward Dominique Petrie’s second-period strike, which had given Harvard (12-14-5, 9-9-4 ECAC) new life. On the play, she was able to weave the puck through a maze of players in front and into the top corner after receiving assists from freshman defender Kyra Willoughby and senior defender Kaitlin Tse.
Entering the third, after Colgate had already put a major roadblock on the Crimson comeback with its second goal, the Raiders quickly expanded their lead. 4:35 into the final frame, freshman forward Eleri MacKay, Delani’s identical twin, struck for Colgate. Crossing the blue line, MacKay dumped the puck onto the net. Veering towards the goal, a short-hop bounce fooled Harvard freshman goalie Lindsay Reed, and all of the sudden the Raiders had a two-goal lead. Under a minute later, Zafuto would return to the Raider scoring attack — this time finishing the goal off herself. After cutting through the Crimson defense, she found enough separation to create a breakaway opportunity. Faking to the forehand, she pulled the puck to her backhand before sliding home the goal for a 4-1 lead.
Special teams proved to be a factor for both teams as Colgate’s first goal came on the power play and Harvard’s second, from Emma Buckles, also resulted from the five-on-four advantage. When the Crimson did score its second goal, however, only 1:45 remained on the game clock, so the effort appeared to be too little, too late.
Reed posted solid numbers in net, saving 36 of the 40 shots that came her way. That said, the Raider jump start to the third period period still did foil the Harvard netminder, who ranks in the top three nationally in save percentage.
The Crimson must win tomorrow if it wants to keep its season alive as the team will only make the NCAA Tournament as an automatic qualifier, which would come with an ECAC Tournament title. While Colgate theoretically may be able to make the tournament as an at-large, it would likely find itself on the outside looking in with a loss tomorrow since only eight teams qualify for the NCAA tournament. Thus, the matchup looks to be a true do-or-die, win-or-go-home contest. The puck drops at 3 pm.
— Staff writer William Boggs can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BoggsTHC.