Kate Buesser cut the Cornell lead to one with a second-period goal Saturday (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Down 4-2 midway through the third period, Harvard brought the score to 4-3 but was unable to find the equalizer as the Crimson women's hockey team dropped a hard-fought, 4-3, decision to No. 2 Cornell on senior day at Bright Hockey Center. The result gives Harvard a 15-10-4 overall record and a 14-5-3 ECAC mark on the regular season while Cornell finishes with a 20-1-1 conference mark and a 26-2-1 overall record.
Just before the midway point of the final period, the Crimson got to within one of the ECAC regular-season champion. Skating with a man advantage, Lyndsey Fry and Gina McDonald handled pucks right on the Cornell doorstep and Jillian Dempsey steered the puck into the back of the net to push the score to 4-3 at 9:54. Frantic attempts down the stretch looked promising, especially when the Big Red was whistled for its ninth penalty of the game, but the Crimson suffered a handful of near-misses and the game ended in the 4-3 final.
The Crimson hung tough through the first 12 minutes of the first period, killing off a power-play and putting a handful of pucks on the Cornell net. A Big Red fast-break led to the game's first goal as Brianne Jenner converted Karlee Overguard and Hayleigh Cudmore feeds to give the guests a 1-0 edge at 12:17. Goals came quickly for Cornell in the following minutes as markers from Chelsea Karpenko at 14:26 and Catherine White at 17:20 pushed the score to 3-0 at the first intermission.
While there was no shortage of penalties through the first two periods, both teams were perfect on the kill with Harvard erasing five penalties and Cornell killing six through two periods. Harvard finally got on the board 6:22 in to the middle stanza to cut the deficit to 3-1. Alisa Baumgartner started the play by controlling the puck in the Cornell zone and then found Josephine Pucci who powered home a shot for Harvard's first goal.
Fresh off a poised power-play attempt, the Crimson notched its second goal to cut the Big Red lead to one at 13:59. Katharine Chute worked the puck back to Marissa Gedman and the rookie put a one-timer towards the Cornell cage. The puck was deflected before it could reach Cornell goalie Lauren Slebodnick, but the redirect fell right to Kate Buesser who deposited the puck for Harvard's second score. Stacked penalties saw the Crimson go on a 4-on-3 and a 5-on-3 advantage towards the end of the frame but the horn sounded with the score at 3-2.
Cornell padded its lead early in the third period, potting the first power-play goal of the game at 2:03. White earned her second appearance on the scoresheet, depositing a Karpenko feed that bested Laura Bellamy for a 4-2 edge.
Harvard now turns its attention to the ECAC playoffs where, as the No. 2-seed, it will have home ice through at least the semifinal round. The Crimson is set to take on seventh-seeded St. Lawrence in the quarterfinals, beginning next Friday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.