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Harvard Closes Out the First Half of the Season with Up-and-Down Weekend

Harvard and Yale converge on the net after a chaotic scramble at Bright-Landry Hockey Center on October 28, 2022.
Harvard and Yale converge on the net after a chaotic scramble at Bright-Landry Hockey Center on October 28, 2022. By Leanne Alvarado
By Tommy Branca and Owen Butler, Contributing Writers

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Harvard women’s ice hockey played three games, but was unable to come out of the weekend with any points. In its first game, the Crimson took a trip up to Durham, N.H., where it faced the New Hampshire Wildcats (7-7-1). With Harvard unable to find the back of the net, the Wildcats pulled away with a 3-0 win, having scored a goal in each period. The Wildcats’ Brooke Hammer had an impressive performance, putting up three points with two goals and an assist.

Back at home, the Crimson played their second game against Minnesota (9-2-0), which is currently ranked fourth in the country. Harvard entered the second period trailing 1-0, but the Crimson was able to tie the game on a power play goal by sophomore Gwyn Lapp. The game remained tied until the end of the second period, when Minnesota found the back of the net while on a power play. Minnesota went on to win the game 3-1, scoring their third goal on another power play opportunity.

Harvard played its third game of the holiday week against St. Thomas (5-11-0) and ultimately fell short of completing a third period comeback, losing 4-3.

Heading into its final two games before the winter recess, the Crimson were looking to close out the first part of their season on a positive note. The Crimson faced two nationally ranked teams, No. 8 St. Lawrence and No. 5 Clarkson.

Harvard 1, St. Lawrence 0

Harvard managed to pull out a win against St. Lawrence, despite being outshot 52-19. This was largely due to the performance of junior goaltender Alex Pellicci, who stopped every shot she faced and kept the Crimson in the game.

“We don’t want to give up 50-plus, I think that was the first night this season that we did, so not sustainable for us necessarily,” said head coach Laura Bellamy. “But she was definitely the story, kept the puck out of the net all night, it’s pretty crazy if you can get a 50-plus save shutout.”

Harvard started the game off strong, with the score still tied at zero at the conclusion of the first period. While the Crimson did a strong job of maintaining puck possession in the offensive zone, it nevertheless struggled to get shots on goal, and it failed to capitalize on some key scoring opportunities on the power play. Harvard started off well in the defensive zone, blocking five shots and making quick work of getting the puck out of the zone. The penalty kill was one of the strongest aspects of the Crimson’s first period, completely shutting down St. Lawrence’s power play and not allowing many dangerous opportunities.

“D-zone, defense in general, were great this game,” said Pellicci “Not a lot of big looks, and didn’t have to do a lot of hard backdoor saves, so the defensive zone, clearing pucks, breaking out when necessary, they did their job and it allowed me to do mine.”

Harvard struggled to generate offense in the second period, with a majority of the period spent in the defensive zone. The Crimson struggled to get the puck out of its zone on the penalty kill, but Pellicci continued her dominant performance in net, once again stopping every shot she faced in the period, including a heavy barrage from the St. Lawrence power play.

The Crimson had its fair share of scoring chances, including a powerful shot from Gwyn Lapp after she received a nifty drop pass from linemate Sophie Ensley. Both sides had their fair share of scoring chances, but after two, the game remained deadlocked at 0-0.

Not much changed for Harvard heading into the third period. The Crimson was still stuck in its defensive zone for most of the third, and it struggled to create offensive opportunities. However, the Crimson showed great signs of life in the waning minutes of the game, with a few chance opportunities that just couldn’t find the back of the net. Pellicci continued doing exactly what she had been doing all night, and kept every St. Lawrence shot out of the net. After no scoring in regulation, the game headed to overtime.

The first few minutes of overtime were spent in Harvard’s defensive zone, but a combination of impressive stops by Pellicci and strong team play allowed the Crimson to gain possession of the puck and go on the offensive. With just 45 seconds left in the game, after receiving a cross-ice pass from Hannah Chorske, Lapp came down on a breakaway, performed a backhand deke, and beat the St. Lawrence goaltender to win it for Harvard 1-0, giving the Crimson their second win of the season.

Harvard and Yale get set for a faceoff at Bright-Landry Hockey Center on October 28, 2022.
Harvard and Yale get set for a faceoff at Bright-Landry Hockey Center on October 28, 2022. By Leanne Alvarado

Clarkson 9, Harvard 1

In their second game of the weekend, the Crimson faced off against No. 5 Clarkson (18-0-2) and were once again outshot by a large margin 48-13. Dominating the shot column, the Golden Knights beat the Crimson with a convincing 9-1 victory. The Golden Knights were firing on all lines, as nine different players scored in the game.

To start off the first period, the Golden Knights were ready to play and immediately put the Crimson on their heels. Controlling just about all of the first period, the Knights put up 15 shots and were able to find the back of the net on two of them. The Golden Knights notched goals just a minute and 48 seconds apart on strikes from Baylee Kirwan and Brooke McQuigge, and the Crimson headed into the first intermission trailing by two.

The scoring started off quickly in the second period, as the Knights added to their lead just four minutes into the period off a goal by Dominique Petrie, who transferred to Clarkson from Harvard to compete as a graduate student.

The Crimson answered just two minutes later to cut the lead back to two. Harvard's goal came from senior captain Shannon Hollands, who beat the Knights goalie with a nice backhand shot. Hollands was assisted by first-year Angelica Megdanis, who found her in open in front after rushing the puck deep in the zone. This was Megdanis’ first career point.

The momentum shift from goal only lasted so long as the Knights quickly stole it back and controlled the rest of the period. The Knights continued to pepper the Crimson with shots and were able to score twice more in the back half of the period to skate off with a 5-1 lead.

Carrying their momentum from the end of the second, the Knights sealed the game two minutes into the period, taking away any hope Harvard had of getting back into it. The Knights scored two quick goals in these two minutes to extend their lead to six. They controlled the rest of the game, scoring twice more to finish off the game with a 9-1 victory.

Although its second game did not go as hoped, the Crimson head out of the weekend with just their second win of the season and head into the winter break with a 2-12-1 record.

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