Maschmeyer gave the Crimson a chance for its seventh ECAC tournament crown, before Cornell came away with a 2-1 win (photo Darl Zehr).
ITHACA, N.Y. – Freshman goalie Emerance Maschmeyer played one of the best games of her young career, and earned the ECAC's Most Outstanding Player award in the process, but a Cornell power-play goal with 1:40 remaining gave the Big Red a 2-1 win and the 2013 ECAC tournament championship. Harvard, which was playing in its ninth overall championship game, now turns its attention to the NCAA selection show tonight at 6 p.m.
Cornell (27-5-1), the winners of the ECAC regular season title, outshot Harvard (24-6-3), 34-19 in the game. Maschmeyer (12-5-2) is now 3-1 in her playoff career after coming up with 32 saves in the game, two away from her career high. Cornell's Lauren Slebodnick turned away 18 Harvard shots.
Cornell controlled the puck for the opening minutes and struck first on a backhand score from Brianne Jenner. The Big Red forced a turnover deep in the Crimson's defensive zone and Jillian Saulnier found Jenner, who got off the attempt before an outstretched Maschmeyer could reach her glove to the puck.
Harvard continued to play a majority of the frame on defense, but escaped the first with a 1-1 tie thanks to Crowe's tally. The sophomore ripped a shot from near the top of the right circle, after Samantha Reber had won a faceoff, and the strike ricocheted off of Lauren Slebodnick's stick-hand blocker. The puck skied into the air, over Slebodnick's head, and across the line to knot the contest.
The second period was played scoreless, thanks in large part to brilliant play from Maschmeyer on Big Red power plays. The newcomer covered every inch of the net with a wide array of glove, pad and blocker saves. Eight of her 10 stops in the period came while Harvard was skating with a player down. The highlight of the period was a momentum-swinging 5-on-3 kill that lasted 0:47 late in the frame. Harvard fans were brought to their feet for Maschmeyer at period's end, while Cornell's contingent was silenced by what looked like open opportunities that turned into Maschmeyer saves.
The Crimson had two power-play chances in the third-period, but was turned away empty on four shot attempts. Jillian Dempsey and Lyndsey Fry put shots on target in the first skater-advantage opportunity and Kaitlin Spurling and Mary Parker added shots on goal in the second chance. Slebodnick was there for each Harvard power-play strike, as she was for seven other Crimson blasts in the stanza.
Maschmeyer had made nine saves to put the Crimson 1:40 away from overtime, before Cornell's Jessica Campbell gave the Big Red the title. Emily Fulton's shot after a scramble in front hit the left post and directed straight to Campbell, who was streaking towards the night. Her one-timer sailed to the back of the net as Maschmeyer was sprawled in the crease and a group of Crimson defenders slid through.
The goal came on Cornell's sixth power-play chance after Harvard blanked the Big Red in its first five. The Crimson power-play unit was 0-for-2 on two opportunities.
Maschmeyer was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and was one of two unanimous choices for the all-tournament team. Michelle Picard was also selected to the all-tournament team.
Harvard hopes to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010 and will find out its fate tonight. The NCAA selection show can be viewed online at NCAA.com.
Today marked the first meeting between Harvard and Cornell in the ECAC championship game … Harvard is now 6-3 in ECAC tournament championship games … The Crimson and Cornell have combined for eight of the last 10 ECAC championships … Hillary Crowe has nine points in her last 12 games after producing nine in her first 21 of the season … The Crimson's nation-leading penalty kill stopped 21 opponent power-play chances in a row before giving up the deciding goal.