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Late Rush Lifts No. 7/8 Women’s Hockey Over Quinnipiac, 4-2

Josephine Pucci had the game-winning goal and two assists against Quinnipiac Friday (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –
Staring a 2-1 deficit in the face at the start of the third period, the Harvard offense woke up in a big was as a trio of third-period scores helped the Harvard women's hockey team to a 4-2 comeback victory over league rival Quinnipiac Friday night at Bright Hockey Center. The Bobcats (15-11-2, 10-5-2 ECAC) entered the game just one point behind the Crimson (15-7-1, 12-4-1 ECAC) in league standings.

Down 2-1 at the start of the third, Harvard rode the momentum off a goal late in the second period and struck again just 1:11 into the frame. Josephine Pucci found Lyndsey Fry in front of the Bobcat bench on a power play and Fry skated the puck through the faceoff circle, laying off a pass that Jillian Dempsey pounded home to knot the score at 2-2.

The offensive pressure continued through the first half of the frame, and yielded the go-ahead goal at the nine minute mark on another skater-advantage. Fry entered the Quinnipiac zone with Pucci and the two exchanged passes before Pucci one-timed a shot past Chelsea Laden which would stand as the eventual game-winner. Dempsey iced the game just 1:24 later, capitalizing on a chance created by some fancy puck handling by rookie Samantha Reber.  

Quinnipiac broke the ice first, taking advantage of a Crimson passing miscue and loose rebound to take a 1-0 lead. Kelly Babstock stepped in front of a Harvard clearing pass and fired a shot on net. Laura Bellamy made the initial save but Amanda Colin was close by to bury the rebound at 7:47 of the second period. The guests doubled their lead less than three minutes later, converting their fifth power play of the evening. Regan Boulton ripped a shot from the point that Bellamy stopped, but the puck trickled out from underneath Bellamy's left blocker and Breann Frykas stuffed it home for a 2-0 lead at 10:35.

The Crimson fought hard to avoid going into the second break down 2-0, and its efforts were rewarded with just 40 seconds remaining in the period. Josephine Pucci winged a lengthy pass to Samantha Reber in the Quinnipiac zone and Reber tapped the puck to a charging Lyndsey Fry at the top of the right faceoff circle. Fry burst through a crowd in front of the net, luring Chelsea Laden out of her net and slipping a shot behind her to cut the deficit to one goal heading into the third.

The first period was an exhibition in defense and penalty killing as the teams combined for just 12 shots on goal through the first 20 minutes. An aggressive Crimson squad picked up four penalties in the frame, but was poised on the penalty kill, squashing the quartet of Bobcat chances handily. Reber had the best scoring chance of the period for Harvard, clanging a sharp-angle rebound off the far post past a sprawling Laden in the Quinnipiac goal.

Bellamy ended the game with 11 saves to record her fourth straight conference victory. The line of Fry, Dempsey and Reber combined for seven points on the night, while Pucci and Fry notched three points apiece in the win.

The Crimson returns to action tomorrow afternoon as it looks to exact revenge on Ivy rival Princeton in a 4 p.m. showdown.