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The Harvard women’s ice hockey team (4-17-2, 2-13-1 ECAC), who dropped games to No. 6 Cornell (17-5-1, 12-4-0) and No. 4 Colgate (23-3-1, 14-1-0) earlier in the season, was once again bested by its ranked N.Y. rivals this past weekend. The Crimson hoped to avoid repeating history, but struggles on offense saw the team once again fall to the two upstate programs, with Harvard losing to Colgate 10-1 and Cornell 7-2.
The first game of the weekend saw the Crimson take on the Raiders in Hamilton, N.Y. Both teams entered the game coming off victories over ranked opponents, with the Crimson looking to build on its thrilling shootout victory over Boston College in the Beanpot consolation game and Colgate riding a five-game win streak stretching back to early January. The game also marked Colgate’s annual Autism and Neurodiversity Awareness game, which Crimson players showed their support for by wearing stickers and helmet decals with the autism awareness symbol, a blue puzzle piece.
The Crimson got off to a quick start, with first-year forward Brooke Manning netting the first goal of her career just under two minutes into the contest. Manning was assisted by Kayley Crawford and Eva Dorr, who flicked a pass to the left circle that was promptly deposited by Manning into the goal, representing the fastest goal the team has scored on the season.
The rest of the period was a tight defensive battle, with starting goaltender Emily Davidson saving 40 of 41 shots from the Raiders. The one shot that trickled through for Colgate, made by by senior forward Kas Betinol at 15:43 in the first period, leveled the score at 1-1. Unfortunately for the Crimson, the offense was unable to keep pace with the Raiders after this point.
The second period was dominated by Colgate. At the start of the period, forward Tessa Folk kicked off a Raiders onslaught by scoring the first of four Colgate goals to come in a 90-second span, staking the Crimson to a 5-1 disadvantage. The first two of these goals resulted from Colgate winning possession on the face-off and then quickly taking a shot on goal, which sophomore goalie Emily Davidson saved on both occasions, but then succumbed to Colgate’s ensuing rebound attempt.
In the third period, Colgate tacked on four more goals, three during power plays. Harvard had a chance to catch the Raiders short-handed when Avery Pickering was called for a roughing penalty just under 15 minutes into the third period, but neither of its two shots found the back of the net. Ultimately, the Raiders’ physicality and offensive prowess led to the Crimson struggling to maintain possession of the puck, winning only 23 of 67 faceoffs and getting outshot 48-12.
Following the one-sided game Friday night, the Crimson unsuccessfully looked to break its losing streak in its 7-2 loss against No. 6 Cornell. The Big Red proved to be tough opponents for both the men’s and women’s Harvard hockey programs this past weekend, as the No. 13 Cornell men’s team bested the Crimson 2-0 on Friday night at home.
Cornell entered the game on a hot streak, having toppled six ranked opponents, and having beaten Harvard earlier in the season at Bright-Landry. The Big Red continued its momentum, starting off strong and battering Harvard’s defense with a cohesive offensive onslaught. By the end of the first period, starting goaltender Alex Pellicci faced 21 shots, a marked decrease from the night before, but a handful nonetheless. Three of those shots eluded Pellicci’s grasp, putting the Crimson down 3-0 heading into the second period.
Fortunately first-year defender Kaley MacDonald, who also gave the Crimson a lifeline in its November bout against the Big Red by scoring in the third period and preventing a shutout, was able to revitalize the squad. This time, MacDonald took a pass from junior forward Ellie Bayard at the point and zipped a shot at goal, sneaking it past the reach of Cornell goalie Annelies Bergmann. MacDonald was a bright spot amid an otherwise challenging weekend for the Crimson, contributing two blocked shots against Colgate to add to her point against the Big Red.
Sophomore forward Sophie Ensley quickly kept the Crimson rolling with a goal of her own. Barely two minutes after MacDonald’s shot, and after three saves from Pellicci in the interim, Ensley grabbed the puck on a breakaway and earned a one-on-one opportunity with Bergmann. The Cornell goalie blocked Ensley’s first attempt, but the sophomore scored on the rebound to narrow the deficit to 4-2.
Harvard’s resurgence ended there, though. Cornell tacked on an additional goal at the end of the second period and the team was shut out in the third period, coming up empty on all nine shots. Big Red sophomores Avi Adams and Grace Dwyer each added on their second goals of the night, leaving the final score at 7-2.
Once again, Harvard struggled to gain consistent traction on offense beyond momentary breakthroughs like Ensley’s breakaway. The Crimson notched just nine shots to Cornell’s 50 and was once again dominated in the battle for possession, winning just 19 of 52 faceoffs. This past weekend’s offensive struggles meant that Pellicci and her fellow goaltenders were constantly under siege, but the junior and Prior Lake, Minn. native still found positives to take away from the weekend.
“We had a lot of success with our in-zone structure and competed for all 60 minutes of both games,” Pellicci said.
Luckily, the Crimson will get a reprieve from playing against the best of the conference; it isn’t scheduled to play any team that currently has a winning record until Feb. 16th, when it will return to the Empire State to battle against St. Lawrence. Before then, it will try to right the ship with an away game at Union and home games against Ivy rivals Dartmouth, Brown, and Yale.
“Union and Dartmouth are both important games for us going into the playoffs,” Pellicci said, looking ahead at the schedule. “We’re looking to generate more offensive opportunities and continue to improve with each game.”
The Crimson’s trip to play Union will take it to Schenectady, N.Y. this Wednesday, Jan. 31st, where the puck will drop at 6:00 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.
– Staff writer Jack Silvers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on X @JackSilvers5.
– Staff writer Katharine Forst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on X @THC_Forst
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