No. 10 Harvard Plays Strong Defensively, Drops 2-1 Decision to No. 2 Clarkson

No. 10 Harvard Plays Strong Defensively,  Drops 2-1 Decision to No. 2 Clarkson

Pictured: Christina Kessler (right) made 20 saves against No. 20 Clarkson Friday evening.
Photo courtesy: David Silverman Photography

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Kaitlin Spurling scored the first goal of her collegiate career and Christina Kessler stopped 20 shots in net for the Crimson, but the 10th-ranked Harvard women’s hockey team fell in its home opener to No. 2 Clarkson, 2-1, Friday evening at Bright Hockey Center.

In the first, Clarkson (10-1-1, 4-0 ECAC Hockey) was whistled for two back-to-back penalties, giving Harvard (1-2, 1-2 ECAC Hockey) a 5-on-3 power play for 29 seconds. The Crimson mustered shots on goal by Josephine Pucci and Kathryn Farni during the two-skater advantage, but Clarkson goaltender Lauren Dahm covered up both shots. Less than six minutes into the second stanza, Harvard broke the scoreless tie with a slap shot by Spurling from just above the left circle. Randi Griffin pushed the puck ahead to Spurling who fired her shot over Dahm’s right shoulder and into the back of the net at 5:48.

Midway through the period, the Golden Knights tied the game, as Dominique Thibault batted home her own rebound from in front of the, slipping the puck underneath Kessler at the 12:19 mark. Through two periods, Clarkson had the edge in shots, 17-14. Early in the third, Harvard was called for a cross checking penalty, giving Clarkson a faceoff in the Crimson zone. After the puck was dropped Carlee Eusepi, skating at the right point, passed the puck down to the right circle, finding Dominique Thibault. Thibault slid the puck back to Eusepi, who fired a shot that flew past Kessler, who was screened, and into the net, giving Clarkson a 2-1 lead at 2:48.

Harvard held the final count in shots, 26-21, while finishing the game 0-for-5 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill. The Crimson remains on home ice to host No. 7 St. Lawrence Saturday at 4 p.m.