Kaitlin Spurling tallied a goal and an assist in Harvard's win over Russia (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The No. 5/6 Harvard women's ice hockey team cruised to a 4-0 win over the Russian National Team in an exhibition Saturday afternoon at Bright Hockey Center.
The Crimson tallied a pair of goals in the first two periods, and the defense limited Russia to just 11 shots on goal for the entire game for the squad's fifth consecutive win and second shutout in as many nights. Harvard's penalty kill was in rare form for the second night in a row, working off all five of Russia's chances to go a perfect 15-15 this weekend.
Mary Parker and Kaitlin Spurling both contributed a goal and an assist to pace the Crimson offense. Hillary Crowe and Sarah Edney each added a single tally, while Kalley Armstrong and Michelle Picard had helpers.
The game was a defensive struggle in the early going with neither team getting a shot on net for the first 9:10 of the game when Crowe finally fired a wrist shot that was snared by Russian goaltender Anna Prugova's glove. Russia was held in check even longer as its first shot didn't come until Maria Pechniko slapped the puck out of her own zone, and Maschmeyer was forced to make a stick save 10:27 into the contest.
Harvard finally got on the board on the power play. The Crimson worked the puck around the zone, and Spurling took a shot that was trickling behind Prugova when Parker left no doubt about it and slapped it in at the 9:36 mark to give Harvard a goal on its first power play for the second night in a row.
Spurling and Parker connected again with a woman advantage with 2:17 left in the period to extend Harvard's advantage to two. Parker threaded a pass through a Russian defender that Spurling redirected into the left side of the net to capitalize on the Crimson's second power play in as many opportunities.
In the second period, the defenses continued to dominate the early going with neither team mounting much of an offensive attack.
Crowe and the Crimson broke through again with 4:53 remaining in the frame. The sophomore flicked a wrist shot from just behind the left faceoff circle into the top right corner of the net for her second goal in as many nights.
Following the goal, both teams switched netminders with Harvard calling on freshman Molly Tissenbaum for the first time in 2012-13. Fellow classmate Emerance Maschmeyer made five saves before getting lifted, while Tissenbaum ended the game with six stops.
It didn't take Harvard long to strike again as Edney and Kalley Armstrong worked a give-and-go to perfection just 1:09 later. Edney dished off to Armstrong who proceeded to send it back to Edney for the Crimson's fourth goal of the afternoon.
In the third period, Harvard controlled much of the action, outshooting Russia, 9-3, but neither team could break through to keep the final margin of victory at four.
The two teams engaged in a friendly shootout that Russia won 2-1 following the completion of the game. Lyndsey Fry had Harvard's only goal, deking out Anna Vinogradova before backhanding the puck into the top of the net.
Harvard is back at Bright Hockey Center Friday against Providence. The non-conference matchup is slated for 7 p.m.