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Mixed Performances for the Harvard Women’s Hockey Team at the 2024 Beanpot, Capped by Thrilling OT Win in Consolation Game

The Harvard women's ice hockey team competed in the historic Beanpot tournament, posting mixed results.
The Harvard women's ice hockey team competed in the historic Beanpot tournament, posting mixed results. By Brendan J. Chapuis
By Josephine S. Elting and Christopher D. Wright, Crimson Staff Writers

For the first time ever, the Dunkin Women’s Beanpot – a hockey tournament in which Boston powerhouses Harvard, Northeastern, Boston College and Boston University compete in a two-round playoff – was held at TD Garden. The Crimson (4-16-2, 2-12-1 ECAC), fell to Northeastern (17-9-1, 10-7-1 HEA) – who ultimately won the entire event – 1-0 in the first round at home in Bright-Landry Hockey Center. The Crimson defense, led by junior captain Alex Pellicci, played neck-in neck with the Huskies for the entire game.

The Crimson entered the tournament following mixed results in games played over the winter recess. Harvard narrowly bested Sacred Heart in a 2-1 performance before it proceeded to drop the next two games against No. 8 Quinnipiac (21-7-1, 10-7-0 ECAC) and No. 12 Princeton (12-7-5, 5-7-5) by scores of 8-0 and 4-1, respectively.

Experience gained during the winter break games proved to be useful to the Crimson as it faced the Huskies. The teams played neck-in-neck until ten minutes into the first period, when sophomore defender Kate Kasica was rung-up by the referee for a hooking penalty. The Northeastern powerplay squad came out firing. The Crimson defense stood strong for almost the full two minutes, led by defenders (and sisters) Kaley and Jenna MacDonald. But with three seconds left on the power play clock Taze Thompson – a former Harvard standout who transferred last year – drove in what would be the game-winning goal past Pellicci.

For the rest of the game, the Crimson played strong defense. Pellici had a season-high save percentage of .974, tallying a whopping 39 saves. The defensive line supported its goalie by posting 30 blocks. Before the Beanpot, the Crimson had only managed to hold ECAC competitors to one goal twice this season. One of these games was against a fellow Ivy League team, the Princeton Tigers, that ended in a 1-1 tie; the other was against No. 8 St. Lawrence University (19-9-9, 12-4-0 ECAC), which ended in a 1-0 win for the Crimson.

While the Crimson defense performed as a cohesive unit, the team struggled to produce offensively. The squad currently averages only 1.4 goals per game, and so producing solid takes will be key to success later in the season.

In the first period against Northeastern, Harvard’s offense looked to capitalize on two power plays, which resulted from minor penalties by the Huskies. In the first two minute power play, the Crimson only took one shot on the opposing goalie. Despite efforts by the attacking unit, Harvard was unable to squeak one past the Huskies’ defense for the entire 60 minutes of play.

Despite the narrow loss in the semifinals, Harvard participated in the historic consolation round bout against Boston College, where the squad bested the Eagles in a thrilling overtime shootout.

The Crimson will face Union in its next game on Wednesday.
The Crimson will face Union in its next game on Wednesday. By Zadoc I.N. Gee

While the Crimson’s first Beanpot match was a defensive battle, the game against the No. 13 Eagles (13-8-6, 12-4-4 HEA) was a clash of the offensive lines, as both teams combined for four goals. After an indecisive 60 minutes of regulation and an overtime period, Harvard pulled off the upset 2-2 win by out-matching the Eagles in a shootout.

Boston College jumped out to an early lead with four minutes left in the first frame. Defender Sidney Fess guided the puck into the back of the net after receiving a pass from fellow defender Molly Jordan. Despite outshooting the Eagles 13-10 in the first period, Harvard was unable to turn any of its chances into goals.

The second period featured even more chances for the Crimson to get on the board. Harvard played with a one-skater advantage for four minutes in the early stages of the second frame due to hooking and tripping penalties against BC. Unfortunately for the Crimson, neither of the power plays proved successful as the Eagles held Harvard to six shots and killed off both penalties.

Midway through the period, the Crimson finally capitalized on one of its numerous chances as junior forward Eva Dorr connected on a shot to even the game at 1-1.

Eight minutes into the third, Harvard took the lead thanks to a short-handed goal from sophomore forward Sophie Ensley. The unlikely goal began with the Crimson’s defense standing strong following a series of shots on goal. After regaining possession, junior defender Rose O’Connor looked up the ice and rocketed a pass to Ensley for the breakaway chance.

Following the goal, Harvard took control of the game and appeared to be on the way to a 2-1 victory. The Crimson defense held Boston College to just four shots for the ten minutes following the Ensley goal.

As the third period was coming to an end, the Eagles pulled their goalie to try and score a last minute goal. The extra attacker proved to be too much for the Harvard defense as forward Sammy Taber scored a goal to send the game into overtime.

With neither team able to muster a goal in the five minute overtime period, the contest came down to a shootout. After both goalies stood tall and blocked the first three shots, junior forward Gabi Davidson Adams broke through and beat Boston College goalie Grace Campbell. Harvard sophomore goalie Emily Davidson saved a final shot from the Eagles to secure the win. The 39-save performance was just the second career start for Davidson.

The Crimson, unsuccessfully, sought to continue the momentum generated from its victory in losses to conference foes No. 4 Colgate (24-3-1, 15-1-0 ECAC) and No. 6 Cornell (17-5-1, 12-4-0). The Crimson will attempt to bounce back from those losses in its next game against Union, which will be played in Schenectady, N.Y. at 6pm EST. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.

—Staff writer Josephine Elting can be reached at josephine.elting@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Christopher Wright can be reached at christopher.wright@thecrimson.com.

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