Third-Period Comeback Propels Women’s Hockey to 3-2 Win over Quinnipiac

Third-Period Comeback Propels Women’s Hockey to 3-2 Win over Quinnipiac

Kalley Armstrong netted two-third period goals against Quinnipiac Saturday (Gil Talbot).

In a matchup between the second and third place teams in the ECAC, The No. 10 Harvard women's hockey team (13-8-2, 12-4-2 ECAC) rallied for three unanswered goals in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit against Quinnipiac (18-10-1, 10-8-0 ECAC).  Down 2-0 in the third period, the Crimson relied on two goals from Kalley Armstrong to defeat the Bobcats 3-2, earning a 1-1 weekend split.

Two minutes into the final period, Kate Beusser found Kalley Armstrong at the top of the crease for a quick one-timer that Armstrong placed in the top corner to bring the Crimson within one.  With the score 2-1, the Crimson turned on the pressure, firing puck after puck on Quinnipiac netminder Victoria Vigilanti.  Just three minutes later, the Crimson's intensity paid off again, as Josephine Pucci pounced on the rebound of an Alisa Baumgarter shot to even the score 5:05 into the period.  Leanna Coskren also assisted on the goal, Pucci's seventh of the season.

With Kaitlin Spurling providing the feed, Armstrong struck again 9:51 into the period with another one-timer that beat a sliding Vigilanti to ignite the Bright Hockey Center crowd and put Harvard up 3-2.  Instead of retreating on the defensive, the Crimson continued its attack until the very end, piling 23 shots to the Bobcats' nine for a lopsided third period, preventing Quinnipiac from pulling Vigilanti for an extra attacker until the final 23 seconds, securing the 3-2 final.

Earlier, Quinnipiac jumped out to a 1-0 lead when national top-five scorer Kelly Babstock wasted little time in the second stanza, picking up a loose puck at the bottom of the circle and beating Laura Bellamy short side just 19 seconds into the period.  6:14 into the second, Quinnipiac's Amanda Colin extended the lead to 2-0 on a power-play opportunity.  The play unfolded when Babstock fired a hard lateral pass to Erica Uden Johansson, who quickly sent the puck back to the other side to give Chelsea Illchuk a wide open look.  Due to the angle of Illchuk's shot, Bellamy made the initial save, but the rebound bounced back into the net for the Bobcats' second goal.  By the time Harvard got off its first shot on goal, Quinnipiac had already racked up nine shots on goal en route to a 10-9 shot advantage in the second period.

The first period was a story of two halves.  For the first ten minutes, Harvard started the game strong, producing numerous scoring chances, but three hit posts and the play of Vigilanti, last season's ECAC Goalie of the Year, frustrated the Crimson.  Halfway through the period, a string of three Harvard penalties, including two 5-on-3 opportunities for Quinnipiac turned the tide over to the Bobcats, but strong penalty-killing by the Crimson kept the visitors at bay.  The first period ended in a scoreless tie, with shots 12-11 in favor of Quinnipiac.

By mustering 32 shots on Harvard, Quinnipiac became the first team to break the 30-shot barrier against the Crimson this season; however, Harvard held the overall edge in shots, 44-32.

Up next, Harvard takes a brief break from conference action to face off against Northeastern in the 33rd annual Beanpot Tournament, hosted by Boston College at Conte Forum. The Crimson begins its title defense Tuesday at 5 p.m.