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No. 6 Harvard Skates to 4-4 Draw Against No. 10 Cornell

Pictured: Anna McDonald notched two goals for the sixth-ranked Crimson.
Photo courtesy: Gil Talbot Photography

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Anna McDonald scored two goals, and Cori Bassett and Liza Ryabkina netted a goal apiece, as the sixth-ranked Harvard women’s hockey team played to a 4-4 tie against No. 10 Cornell in an ECAC Hockey and Ivy League contest Friday evening at Bright Hockey Center. In net, Harvard goaltender Christina Kessler, making her first start with the Crimson after helping the Canada National Women’s Under-22 Team earn the gold medal at the 2010 MLP Cup, stopped 27 saves.

Harvard (8-4-4, 6-4-2 ECAC Hockey, 3-2-2 Ivy League) netted the game’s first goal only 21 seconds into the first period, as McDonald bounced a shot through traffic that fit between goaltenders Amanda Mazzotta’s legs. Liza Ryabkina played the puck to McDonald from the left corner and McDonald spun around in the faceoff circle before taking a shot and giving Harvard its 1-0 lead. The Crimson, which outshot the Big Red, 12-8, in the opening stanza, opened up a 2-0 advantage at 3:49, as Bassett struck on a slap shot from the point. Harvard broke up a Cornell pass in the Big Red zone and Jillian Dempsey took possession in the right corner. Dempsey slid a pass to Leanna Coskren at the blue line, before Coskren moved the puck to her left, setting up the goal by Bassett. Cornell (8-7-3, 7-1-3, 4-0-2) got on the scoreboard only 78 seconds later on a shot by Lauriane Rougeau that beat Kessler at 5:07.

After the Big Red tied the game 54 seconds into the second period on a power-play tally by Chelsea Karpenko, Harvard responded with its second straight two-goal period. At 13:22, Kathryn Farni carried the puck past the Cornell blue line and fired a hard, rising shot that hit the glass behind the net and ricocheted directly to McDonald. The Crimson forward capitalized on the scoring chance for her second goal of the contest, as Harvard regained a lead, 3-2. Less than two minutes later, Kate Buesser teamed up with Ryabkina for a goal on a one-timer that hit the top of the net over a sliding Mazzotta at 15:19.

In the third, the Big Red cut the Harvard lead in half, scoring its second power-play goal, coming off the stick of Laura Fortino at 8:00. Cornell, which outshot the Crimson, 14-5, in the final stanza was whistled for a checking penalty at 15:44. Harvard managed a shot during the ensuing power play, but could not create a two-goal cushion. The Big Red pulled Mazzotta with 1:29 to play and kept possession in the Harvard zone before knotting the game on a shot by Karlee Overguard with only four seconds remaining. Overguard grabbed a loose puck in the slot and managed a shot through two Harvard defenders, sending the game to overtime.

In the extra session, Harvard earned back-to-back power plays for Cornell checking penalties, but the Crimson could not score on its three shots on goal, including a one-time by Katharine Chute, before the final buzzer sounded. For the game, the Big Red had the edge in shots, 31-25, while Harvard controlled faceoffs, 42-20. The Crimson was held scoreless on its six power plays and Cornell was successful on two of five chances with an extra attacker.

Harvard remains at home to host Colgate Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.