The women’s hockey team closed out the regular season this weekend at Lynah Rink, with losses to No. 1 Harvard (26-1-1, 15-0-1 ECAC) on Friday, 7-1, and Brown (12-12-4, 8-6-1 ECAC) on Saturday, 9-1. The Red (4-19-3, 2-12-2 ECAC) held its Senior Night on Saturday and the team’s six seniors were honored following the game.
Harvard opened the scoring Friday one minute into the game, as Ashley Banfield blasted a high shot from the left point through traffic and past senior Liz Connelly. The Red went on a power play at 5:15 and nearly capitalized on it, but a shot rang off the post.
“I thought we stepped up [our intensity] a fair amount. I think the team was excited to play Harvard, you always want to measure how you’re doing against the number one team in the country. I thought we lost a little bit through the first period, we were a little inconsistent in the middle of the first period but after that we stepped it up,” said head coach Melody Davidson.
Harvard netted two fluky goals within a minute of each other in the middle of the period. Nicole Corriero’s initial shot was stopped by Connelly, but she gave up a rebound that Corriero knocked home. Jaclyn Pitushka gave the Crimson a 3-0 lead, as Connelly failed to cover the puck and Pitushka swept it in on the right side.
“The one thing I have to give this team credit for is that we don’t get frustrated after [fluky] goals. They recognized it for what it was, we’re happy where we’re at, and we just get out there and get ready for the next shift,” remarked Davidson.
Freshman Flora Vineberg replaced Connelly in the second period, as Davidson planned to give each goaltender a period of work. Freshman Julie Chu put Harvard up 4-0 six minutes into the period as she deked in front of the net and put a backhand shot past Vineberg.
On a Crimson power play, Angela Ruggiero took two shots from the point that were saved by Vineberg, but Lauren McAuliffe collected the latter rebound and notched Harvard’s fifth goal.
Senior Sanya Sandahl replaced Vineberg for the third period. The Red got on the board at 2:58, as sophomore Maryann Nowak stole the puck behind the Crimson net and scored on the wraparound for her third goal of the season.
Harvard’s Jennifer Skinner, twin sister of Cornell freshman Andrea Skinner, scored her first goal of the season at 5:59 as she brought the puck all the way into the Cornell zone and collected a rebound off her initial shot and sent it top shelf. Corriero added her second goal of the game at 12:23 off a shot from the slot to finish out the scoring.
Connelly, Vineberg, and Sandahl had 19, 21, and 13 saves respectively, while Ali Boe stopped 11 for Harvard. The Red played the Crimson a lot harder than the score indicated, and the icers were able to limit Botterill — the nation’s leading scorer — to two assists.
“We did a lot of good things. Liz made a big save at the end of the first, Sanya makes a big save. Jen Munhofen blocks a shot, she hasn’t blocked a shot all year. They were doing things they normally haven’t done, and that’s exciting,” said Davidson.
On Saturday, the Red faced a completely different style in the torpedo system employed by Brown. Sandahl got the start, and was immediately tested, as the Bears came out with an offensive punch.
Cassie Turner got Brown on the board a little more than two minutes into the game, and Marguerite McDonald added a second goal two minutes later off a rebound to Sandahl’s right. Sandahl came up big later in the period, making a great pad save on a Brown breakaway.
In the closing minute of the first, the Bears would go up 3-0 as Courtney Johnson collected the puck in the low slot after it had ricocheted off of several players’ skates and swept it into the net.
“I thought we lacked a bit [of intensity]. We put out a pretty intense effort [against Harvard], and we still don’t have the depth to give us back-to-back plays,” remarked Davidson.
Brown scored three goals in the first 10 minutes of the second to run away with the game. Connelly replaced Sandahl after Ashlee Drover scored a minute and a half into the second. Kim Insalaco and Keaton Zucker scored at 6:10 and 8:01 respectively, and Jessica Link added a shorthanded tally at 17:44.
Vineberg came in for the third period, and held Brown scoreless until the last five minutes of the game. After blasting a shot off the post in the second, Bestwick finally hit pay dirt on the power play at 3:37, as her shot from the left point went over Pam Dreyer’s block. Senior Lindsay Murao and Munhofen tallied assists on the goal. Karen Thatcher and Link added Brown’s eighth and ninth goals at 15:59 and 16:34.
“Brown comes at you hard and fast, they’re getting ready for the playoffs and they don’t have home-ice advantage. They were stepping their game up a notch, and they hadn’t had good couple of games. They came ready to play today and we just didn’t,” commented Davidson.
Sandahl, Connelly, and Vineberg combined for 37 saves, while Dreyer had nine for Brown. The Red will be seeded No. 8 in the ECAC playoffs, and will face the Crimson again next weekend for a best-of-three series in Cambridge.
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach