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Women’s Hockey Holds Off St. Lawrence, 2-1

Josephine Pucci scored Harvard's first of two goals in the win over St. Lawrence Friday night (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – It took 40:45, but the Harvard women's hockey team  (7-7-2; 6-3-2 ECAC) finally solved St. Lawrence goaltender Caitlyn Lahonen in a tightly contested 2-1 victory that featured strong goaltending on both ends.  Harvard is now .500 for the season and the win vaulted Harvard to 4th in the ECAC. 

Forty-five seconds into the third period, Katharine Chute found a streaking Josephine Pucci at the faceoff circle, and Pucci promptly put the puck through an out-of-position Lahonen for the game's first tally.  Just over two minutes later at the 17:08 mark, Harvard struck again to go up 2-0 when Ashley Wheeler slammed home a rebound from the left side of the goal. Kate Buesser picked up an assist on the goal having taken the initial shot.

Less than three minutes later, at the 14:16 mark, the Saints answered when Kelly Sabatine initiated a tic-tac-toe sequence.  Sabatine fed Vanessa Emond on one side, and Emond quickly found Karrell Emard waiting on the opposite side to complete the scoring play.  With the game 2-1, the Crimson nearly added insurance when Buesser broke out with 2:51 remaining but was stoned by Lahonen.  St. Lawrence pulled Lahonen for an extra attacker with 0:29 remaining, but Harvard held on for the victory.

Despite numerous scoring chances in the first period, Harvard could not convert, and the period ended in a 0-0 deadlock.  Although Crimson played a strong first period, the Saints gained momentum with a flurry of shots to close the period.  Harvard held a 7-6 shot advantage in the period.

The St. Lawrence line of Emard , Sabatine, and Rylee Smith nearly caught the Crimson off guard with an odd-man rush within the first 20 seconds that ended up just wide of the net.  Harvard quickly recovered and an up-tempo brand of up-and-down hockey ensued for the remainder of the period.

Both goalies – St. Lawrence's Lahonen and Harvard's Laura Bellamy – rose to the occasion, exchanging highlight-reel saves.  The Crimson got a sterling opportunity when Kaitlyn Spurling picked up a rebound off linemate Alisa Baumgartner's shot, and fired a puck on a wide-open net.  However, Lahonen had other ideas, sliding across the crease and turning away Spurling's shot with her outstretched leg.

A few moments later, the Saints' Kayla Sullivan swatted on a rebound mid-air, striking it toward the net.  The puck appeared headed for the back of the net until Bellamy stuck out her right leg at the last moment, preserving the scoreless tie.

Liza Ryabinka later responded by carrying the puck coast-to-coast, outskating the Saints, and fed Lyndsey Fry, who waited at the top of the crease to unleash a one-timer, which Lahonen also stymied.  In the ensuing thirty seconds, the Crimson peppered three more one-timers on the Saints' net, but Lahonen continued to mystify the Crimson offense.  Harvard outshot St. Lawrence 16-9 in the second period.  After three periods, Harvard finished with 37 shots to St. Lawrence's 19. 

Harvard is back in action tomorrow afternoon as it welcomes Clarkson to Bright for a 4 p.m. showdown.