Crowe has three points in her last two games (photo Gil Talbot).
ITHACA, N.Y. – The No. 5-ranked Harvard women's hockey team played No. 4 Cornell even for the first two periods at Lynah Rink Saturday, but the Big Red tallied two third-period goals to take the Ivy League and ECAC contest, 3-1. Hillary Crowe tied the score in the second and Emerance Maschmeyer made 28 saves in net for the Crimson.
The win gives Cornell (24-7-0, 16-3-0 ECAC) the points lead in the ECAC standings, but Harvard (18-4-2, 14-2-1 ECAC) still controls its own destiny in the conference as the Crimson has played two less games. Harvard can clinch home ice throughout the ECAC playoffs if it wins its remaining five conference games.
Cornell struck first in the game, with a second-period goal from Lauriane Rougeau, before Harvard found an equalizer. Samantha Reber used a backhand dump pass while skating through the offensive zone to get the puck to Hillary Crowe inside the right faceoff circle. As Reber collided with a Cornell defender in front of the net, Crowe controlled the slow moving puck and beat the Big Red's Lauren Slebodnick top-shelf to make the score 1-1 at the 7:50 mark of the second.
The two teams traded power-play opportunities, with a number of scoring chances for each, in the second half of the middle stanza. Harvard gained a skater-advantage at 12:24 and ripped four shots at Slebodnick, but the Cornell junior knocked away each. At 16:55 a slashing call on Kalley Armstrong gave Cornell an opportunity to grab a lead before the second intermission. The Big Red power-play sent a strong effort at the Crimson, but Maschmeyer shined with five blocks to keep the contest squared at 1-1. The freshman played one of her best periods of the year in the second, coming up with 16 saves.
Harvard went on the power play 8:40 into the final frame, but failed to find the back of the net, giving way for Cornell to get to the two-goal differential. Jessica Campbell skated hard into Maschmeyer and tucked the puck past with 11:54 left and also added a short-handed tally six minutes later to finish off the Crimson.
Cornell outshot the Crimson, 31-20, and were called for eight penalties against Harvard's six. The Crimson penalty kill was perfect during four Cornell power-play chances, while Harvard was unable to produce a skater-advantage goal in six tries, as the two teams sport the top two penalty-kill units in the NCAA.
The Crimson will look to rebound tomorrow at Colgate, before playing its final four games of the regular season at Bright Hockey Center. Harvard invites Brown (Feb. 19), St. Lawrence (Feb. 22), Clarkson (Feb. 23) and Yale (Feb. 26) to Bright during the stretch.
Jillian Dempsey is one point away from cracking the top ten for career points in Harvard history … Harvard failed to score first for just the fourth time in 24 games this season … Emerance Maschmeyer is now 3-3-0 against ranked opponents, including a 3-1 win against then-No. 2 Cornell Nov. 24 … This was Harvard's third straight game against a ranked opponent and the Crimson ended the stretch with a 1-2-0 record … Katey Stone, The Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Ice Hockey, remains four wins away from 400 for her career.