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Dempsey, Gedman Help No. 8 Women’s Hockey Claim ECAC Semifinal Berth With 4-3 Overtime Win Over Princeton

Marissa Gedman netted the game-winner in overtime against Princeton Saturday (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –
With just 2:01 left to play in the first overtime period, sophomore defenseman Marissa Gedman blasted a shot through traffic that found the back of the net, sealing a 4-3 overtime victory over Princeton Saturday at Bright Hockey Center in Game 2 of the ECAC quarterfinals. The win allows Harvard (22-8-1, 17-4-1 ECAC) to advance to the semifinals in Ithaca, N.Y., next Friday. Princeton wraps up its season with a 12-15-4 overall record and 10-10-2 conference mark.

For the third straight game, a Harvard player notched a hat trick as junior Jillian Dempsey netted all three Harvard goals in regulation, including a short-handed strike in the first period. It is Dempsey's second hat trick of the year, her last one also coming against Princeton when she scored five goals in a 10-1 blowout of the Tigers Feb. 4. Harvard remains undefeated against Princeton in ECAC tournament action with the win.

The teams played fast and loose through the entire overtime period, with both Rachel Weber of Princeton and Laura Bellamy of Harvard coming up with big saves throughout the period. Princeton's best chance came on the tail end of the lone penalty of the period, as Heather Landry broke out of the box, collected a pass from the opposite blue line and put a short-range shot on net that Bellamy turned aside. Princeton's Denna Laing also had a great look from up close off a faceoff late in the period, but Bellamy stuffed the attempt once again.

With the clock approaching two minutes to play in the frame, Samantha Reber worked the puck deep into the Princeton zone and slipped it back to Jillian Dempsey on the boards at the goal line. Dempsey muscled the puck back to Gedman through a crowd of Princeton defenders, and Gedman one-timed the hanging puck through a crowd a past Weber to seal the dramatic 4-3 overtime victory.

Princeton took a 1-0 lead at the 6:38 mark of the first period, thanks to a gutsy solo effort by Landry where the senior collected the puck in her own zone on the penalty kill, deked past a handful of Harvard defenders and deposited the puck for a short-handed strike. Not to be outdone, Dempsey responded with a short-handed goal of her own at 13:09 of the first, knotting the score after intercepting a Princeton pass near mid ice.

The Tigers grabbed their second lead of the game at 3:09 of the second period with Kelly Cooke taking advantage of a long rebound off Bellamy's pad. Dempsey had the answer once again, evening the score at the 13:41 mark, stuffing home a loose puck out of a scrum in front of the Princeton net.

Dempsey's third score came with just 3:26 to play in the contest, converting on a power-play off passes from Sarah Edney and Reber. The Tigers pulled their goalie with just under two minutes to play and the move paid off big, as Sally Butler nudged a loose puck in the crease past Bellamy with just 1:04 left on the clock. The goal was reviewed by the referees and was upheld to force the overtime period.

The Tigers outshot the Crimson for the second straight contest, ending the game with a 36-35 edge. Bellamy matched a season-high with 33 stops on the afternoon while Weber finished with 31 in the loss.

The opponent for Harvard's next game has yet to be determined as Game 3 of the Clarkson-Quinnipiac series will determine Harvard's opponent. The Crimson will take on either Clarkson or St. Lawrence Friday at Lynah Rink in Ithaca, N.Y.