Harvard won a share of its 11th Ivy title Tuesday night (photo Harvard Athletic Communications).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 7 Harvard women's hockey team earned a share of its first Ivy League championship since 2009 by defeating Yale, 3-1, Tuesday night at Bright Hockey Center. The Crimson, which played in its final regular season game of the year, tied Cornell with an 8-1-1 record in the Ancient Eight.
"It's a great thing for us," said Katey Stone, The Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Ice Hockey, on the Ivy championship. "It's nice to be able to have that for the seniors and everybody else involved with the program."
The Bulldogs kept it close with Harvard, despite the Crimson outshooting Yale, 38-12. Harvard needed a third-period goal from Kaitlin Spurling to close out Yale, which benefited from 35 saves from goaltender Jaimie Leonoff. The Crimson's Laura Bellamy countered with 11 saves in net.
Harvard opened the scoring in the fifth minute as Yale could not control the puck in its own defensive end. Yale goalie Jaimie Leaonoff sent a clear off the boards, before a Bulldog defender missed the puck in attempt to take it up the side, and Mary Parker made Yale pay for the miscue. She picked up the spinning puck in the right circle and fired past Leonoff, who had become set in the net, with a top-shelf rocket off the pipe and past the line.
Yale's Patricia McGauley answered six minutes later to even the score in the frame that saw Harvard take nine shots on net compared to Bulldogs' four. McGauley stuffed in a rebound once Bellamy stopped a Natallie Wedell attempt.
After a scoreless second period, Spurling's goal came at 4:30 of the third from below the left faceoff dot. The senior skated the puck from past center ice to the circle, where she snapped a shot at Leonoff. The Yale netminder got her glove on the puck, but it popped out and into the side of the net for the game-winner.
Bellamy made six saves on Yale during the next 13:58, before Harvard tacked on an empty-net score. Parker stole the puck on the Bulldogs' blue line and flicked in the tally once she crossed into the offensive zone with nothing but ice in front of her. Parker set a new career high with the two goals and now has five in her last five games, marking the best run of her freshman year.
Harvard is back in action this weekend for a three-game series against Dartmouth in the ECAC quarterfinals. The Crimson, which is the No. 3 seed in the ECAC tournament, hosts the Big Green at Bright Hockey Center Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m., if necessary.
Harvard is 64-7-3 all-time against Yale … The Crimson has won five in a row against the Bulldogs … The Ivy title was the first for Harvard since 2009 and 11th overall … Kaitlin Spurling has five goals in her last five games after scoring four times in the season's first 24 games … Katey Stone is now one win away from 400 for her career … This is just the second shared championship in league history.