March 14, 2010

W. Icers Top Harvard, Earn Frozen Four Bid

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The women’s hockey team’s dream season continued on Friday night with a 6-2 victory against rival Harvard in the NCAA quarterfinals, propelling the Red to the program’s first-ever Frozen Four appearance.

Six different players scored for the Red while goaltender Amanda Mazzotta recorded 34 saves in the victory over the fourth-seeded Crimson in Cambridge, Mass.

Despite the fact that the Red won the ECAC and went 1-0-1 versus Harvard during their regular season series, the Crimson was given a higher seed in the tournament and home-ice advantage because of the complex formulas that rank teams taking into account conference games.

Many people questioned the decision, but the Red merely used any frustration with the system as motivation to prove that it was the better team.

There is no doubt that playing against a familiar opponent changes the dynamic of any contest; the Red used its knowledge of the Crimson to its advantage both in preparation and during the game.

“I think when you have a familiar team who you play often, you almost develop a relationship with them,” said senior Melanie Jue. “You’re used to how hard they come out of the gates; which is a definite advantage over playing someone new.”

The Red’s win was a true team effort, as ECAC Player of the Year Catherine White, Karlee Overguard, Laura Fortino, Jue, Chelsea Karpenko and Kendice Ogilvie each recorded a goal for the Red. The Crimson outshot the Red 36-18, but the opportunities that the Red did produce were high percentage shots that they took full advantage of, as they converted 33% of their shots on goal.

“The opportunities that we were getting we were capitalizing on,” Jue said. “The ones that Harvard did let us have were high percentage shots and we made sure to bury them.”

The win also proved to be another rock-solid defensive effort from the entire team, something that they have worked hard on and prided themselves on all year long.

“I really think [our success] is indicative of how our whole team is committed to defense,” Jue said. “Keeping shots outside, making it easy for the defense to clear out what’s in front of the net, moving forwards away from the net so [Mazzotta] has a clear lane to the puck, our defense deserves recognition. And of course Amanda has done an incredible job for us all year long. She’s made huge saves for us at key points to keep us in games this season.”

Original Author: Ware Cady