Spurling set season-high totals of two goals and one assists Saturday afternoon at Colgate (photo Gil Talbot).
HAMILTON, N.Y. – Mary Parker and Kaitlin Spurling gave the No. 5-ranked Harvard women's hockey team a 2-0 lead 3:13 into the game and the Crimson cruised to a 5-2 win at Colgate's Starr Rink Saturday afternoon. Spurling assisted on Parker's marker and scored again in the second period for the third multi-goal game of her career.
The Crimson (19-4-2, 15-2-1 ECAC) outshot Colgate (9-19-3, 4-13-3 ECAC), 34-17, in the game that saw Harvard's Laura Bellamy make 15 saves. Bellamy moves her record to 11-1-1 this season with her tenth straight game without a loss (9-0-1).
Harvard took advantage of two early penalties from the Raiders to take the 2-0 lead. Colgate's first infraction came 21 seconds in and the Crimson needed 1:08 of the advantage to find the back of the net. Mary Parker sent a pass below the goal line from the boards next to the right faceoff circle to Kaitlin Spurling, who dished back to Parker who streaked to the net after the pass. Parker finished the give-and-go with a wrister over Colgate's Ashlynne Rando's right shoulder for the tally.
Rando was forced to defend the Raiders' net with only four Colgate skaters around her again, 1:21 after the first goal. Harvard used the extra skater to score just 23 seconds into the power play as Spurling potted her first of the day. The senior redirected a rebound, from a Michelle Picard shot, past Rando, who was shuffling after the initial block.
Colgate answered with a Brittany Phillips goal 7:28 into the first period, a frame that Harvard held a 19-7 lead in shots on goal. Phillips was one of three Colgate seniors celebrating their final game at Starr Rink.
The Crimson was penalized twice near the end of the first, forcing Harvard to kill 40 seconds of 5-on-3 and 1:20 of 5-on-4 at the end of the stanza and beginning of the second. The team's nation-leading penalty kill was up to the challenge, shutting out Colgate's power play, to keep the score 2-1, before Harvard added two more goals in the second.
Sarah Edney contributed the third Harvard goal, as she sent the puck through traffic from the point at the 7:14 mark and Spurling netted her second score five minutes later to open a three-goal lead. Spurling's came after a perfect entry pass from Samantha Reber, who had her third straight game with a point. The Raiders made the differential two after the Crimson was whistled for a pair of penalties, giving Colgate a 5-on-3. Katie Case was the Raiders' goal-scorer.
Kalley Armstrong's 10th tally of the season counted for Harvard's final goal of the day, coming after a pass through the middle from Hillary Crowe. The assist gave Crowe a point in each of her last four games, a new career-high for the sophomore.
Harvard's defense stepped up its performance in the third period, after the Crimson was outshot, 9-7, in the second, by allowing zero Raider shots in the third. Harvard finished the game 2-of-4 on the power play, while killing 5-of-6 penalties.
The Crimson has four games left in its regular-season schedule, all at Bright Hockey Center. Harvard invites Brown (Feb. 19), St. Lawrence (Feb. 22), Clarkson (Feb. 23) and Yale (Feb. 26) to Bright over the next two weeks.
Jillian Dempsey is one point away from Harvard's top 10 in career points … Harvard seniors are 8-0 against Colgate in their careers and have outscored the Raiders, 32-6, in four years … The Crimson has defeated Colgate nine straight times dating back to 2008 … Tonight was Harvard's first game against an unranked opponent in its last four outings … Laura Bellamy is 6-0 against Colgate in her career and boasts a .962 save percentage (101 saves, 4 goals allowed) and a 0.67 goals-against average versus the Raiders … Katey Stone is three wins away from 400 for her career … Harvard controls its own destiny and will earn home ice throughout the ECAC playoffs with four wins.