Crowe tallied a pair of goals, including the game-winner, to help the Crimson reach the conference semifinals. (Photo: Elan Kawesch)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After back-to-back taxing double overtime games, and facing elimination from the ECAC Tournament for the second night in a row, the No. 5/5 Harvard women's hockey team powered its way by Yale on Sunday, 4-0, to advance to the conference semifinals.
The Crimson (23-5-4, 16-3-3 ECAC) earns the right to play Cornell in Cheel Arena on March 8 after blanking the Bulldogs (9-16-7, 6-9-7 ECAC) in the rivalry's rubber match of the best-of-three series. Earning the nod between the pipes for the second night in a row, freshman Brianna Laing turned aside all 30 shots she faced to produce her fourth shutout of the year. Offensively, Hillary Crowe found the back of the net twice against Yale, her sixth multi-goal game of the year.
Crowe was the first to light the lamp on Sunday, but had help from linemate Miye D'Oench in the process. After Crowe intercepted the puck in the defensive zone, she shorthanded it to D'Oench, who then flew up the ice right by Bulldog traffic. With anticipation and vision, D'Oench slowed and waited to find Crowe zipping through the slot, where she was able to one-time a shot right under Jamie Leonoff's pads for the game's first goal just 5:29 into the opening frame.
Not too long after, Gina McDonald and Sarah Edney teamed up for the Crimson's crucial second goal of the period. After flipping one on target, McDonald wrapped around Leonoff to follow the saved puck. Marissa Gedman then found her in the corner, before McDonald tried to force a backhanded attempt towards Leonoff. But even though the Yale goalie stoned the initial shot, Edney positioned herself perfectly to bury the putback with ease to give the Crimson a 2-0 lead.
The pages turned in the next period after Yale came out flat in the first, however. The Bulldogs, after mustering only five shots in the opening frame, came out on a tear, eventually reeling off 16 in the second period alone. Laing was equal to the task, however, as the freshman netminder parted ways with all 16 shots she faced to keep Yale off the board.
Just six minutes into the third, Crowe made good on her second goal of the game to give Harvard yet another boost towards victory. While on a power play, the Crimson continued to make the extra passes, trying to find the open skater, which ended up being Crowe in the circle. After firing one on target, Crowe gathered the rebound and put back her own shot just over Leonoff's blocker for the score.
Jessica Harvey then sealed the deal for Harvard with 1:45 left on the clock. After Elizabeth Parker scooped up a loose puck in the defensive zone after Yale optioned for the sixth attacker, the senior forward lofted it up to Harvey who was pacing along the boards. Harvey then streaked up through the neutral zone and flipped the puck towards the empty net to move the Crimson to its final 4-0 tally.
With the win, Harvard barrels its way into the ECAC semifinals, where it will take on No. 3-seed Cornell on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Clarkson's Cheel Arena.