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Harvard 3, Union 1
After suffering tough losses at No. 6 Cornell and No. 3 Colgate this past weekend the Harvard Crimson (5-17-2) bounced back with a 3-1 victory against the Union Garnet Chargers (8-18-2) on Wednesday night.
The two teams had previously faced off on Oct. 20th in Cambridge where the Chargers successfully defeated the Crimson with a final score of 3-1. For its second contest against Union, Harvard appeared to play more cohesively.
“Everyone was playing for one another and working to set up the next line for success,” junior captain and goalie Alex Pellicci said. “In all of the goals [Wednesday night] you can see team-first play, which is what we strive to accomplish in all of the games.”
Sophomore goalie Emily Davidson started the game in net for the Crimson, which marked her fifth consecutive start since getting the nod for the RPI game. The change in goaltender proved to be successful for Harvard, with the defense allowing a mere six shots on net. However, a lapse in the first period saw the Chargers score the first point, netting a goal four minutes into the second period. However, the Crimson rebounded quickly and held Union to zero goals after that point.
“The team definitely played together yesterday,” junior goalie Daisy Boynton said. “We had some hugely successful kills, let up very few A+ opportunities, and blocked a ton of shots, something in particular we’ve been working on.”
Davidson led the defense in holding Union to just one goal, her standout performance between the pipes seeing her make 34 saves. The Crimson’s defense looked strong, but despite a newfound cohesiveness, lapsed for a few moments on the ice which led to the defense having to kill five penalties. One of the penalties, called 17:79 into the first period on senior Shannon Hollands, was labeled as a contact to the head infraction, resulting in a five-minute major. The Crimson successfully prevented Union from capitalizing on the woman-up situation and dominantly maintained momentum through the rest of the game.
“In order to improve for our upcoming games and with playoffs coming up it’s super important for the team to stay out of the penalty box to make it a bit easier on all of us,” Boynton said. “We spent a lot of time on the kill which burns our teams’ legs as well as reduces our scoring opportunities.”
Nevertheless, opportunities would come as Harvard’s victory was powered by sophomore forward Gwyn Lapp, who continued her offensive success with two goals during the game. Lapp currently leads Harvard in goal scoring, recording 10 of the team’s total 35 goals this season. Lapp also claims first place in overall point rankings for the Crimson, with 14 this season. Oakville Ontario native and junior forward Paige Lester also notched a goal of her own, giving Harvard the lead in the second period of play.
“One of my favorite team plays was the perfectly placed shot by Gabi that produced the rebound for Paige’s goal,” added Boynton.
Despite the recent win, Harvard still ranks a spot below Union in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) standings. The Crimson looks to advance in the rankings before the playoff season, which officially begins on Feb. 23rd. Harvard has five regular season games left in its schedule, all of which are crucial to its success in the approaching post-season tournament.
Harvard 0, Dartmouth 2
Harvard resumed Ivy league play this weekend against Dartmouth (6-17-2, 3-13-2 ECAC) after its big midweek win against Union. Dartmouth bested the Crimson 2 - 0 for the second time this season in what was a tight game. With only two more weekends of hockey before the ECAC playoffs, this was a crucial game for both teams.
Out of the gate the Harvard skaters looked strong. The attacking unit controlled the puck well in the first period. It set itself up well in the attacking zone, giving itself options for passing lanes and shots. Half-way through the first frame junior defenseman Mia Biotti found herself unmarked at the top of the zone. Off a perfect pass she fired a huge one-timer at the Dartmouth Goalie who made a great block and smothered the rebound attempt by Hannah Chorske.
Hann Humphreys, the only Big Green fifth year, was in the net for Dartmouth. She had one of the best showings of her career, posting her second career shutout. This was not due to a lack of shots from the Crimson. In the first period it had 10 shots on goal and finished the game with 34.
“Obviously when you shoot 30 plus shots you want to be able to score, but good for us that we got that many to the net” Head Coach Laura Bellamy '13 said.
Despite not being able to find the back of the net, Bellamy was pleased with her offense and expressed that the systems they are working on are coming together well.
“We had some confidence hanging on to pucks and simplified on our breakout, which allowed us to kind of come out of our zone with the puck a little bit more,” she added. “And the shot mentality, I love that we got that many pucks to the net.”
In Harvard’s previous matchup with the Big Green, despite scoring two more goals than it did this weekend, the squad only tallied 22 shots on goal. It also displayed improvement in its faceoffs. Previously, it tied Dartmouth in faceoff wins and losses, but this weekend it won that category with 26 wins and 22 loses, with 11 of the possession wins coming from Chorske.
Davidson continued her strong performance in net with 24 saves, only allowing one goal, with the Big Green’s second point resulting from a heads up play on an open net during the Crimson’s last minute effort to tie the game. The one goal that snuck by her was what coach Bellamy described as a “perfect” power play shot.
With only two more weekends of regular season play, this matchup was important for both teams. After the loss, Harvard is now at the bottom of the ECAC rankings, and Dartmouth sits two spots ahead at No. 10.
Due to the new playoff format for 2024, the top four teams receive a bye and teams seeded five through eight will host their first round playoff games. With the loss, the hopes for having a playoff game in Bright-Landry are low. This would require the Crimson to win the rest of its games, and for the Brown University squad to post an entirely losing record.
The Crimson kicks off a stretch of home games this Friday against Brown, and then against Yale on Saturday. The contests are essential for the Crimson going into post-season play. The following weekend, the squad will return to New York to play No. 8 Saint Lawrence and No. 4 Clarkson.
The Crimson welcomes Brown to the Bright-Landry Hockey Center on Friday at 3:00 pm EST. The game will also be streamed on ESPN+.
—Staff writer Josephine Elting can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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—Staff writer Isabel Smail can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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