No. 2 Minnesota Slides By No. 9 Women’s Hockey, 2-1, in Battle of Nationally-Ranked Teams

Kalley Armstrong assisted on Harvard's lone goal against No. 2 Minnesota Saturday (Gil Talbot).

Marissa Gedman's Goal vs. No. 2 Minnesota Nov. 26, 2011

In a showdown between two of the nation's top teams, the No. 2 Minnesota Golden Gophers' pair of scores was just enough to get past the No. 9 Harvard women's hockey team, as the Crimson fell, 2-1, Saturday afternoon at Bright Hockey Center. Harvard dips to 5-3-0 overall with Minnesota being its first non-conference opponent of the season.

Down, 2-0, past the halfway point of the third period, Harvard finally capitalized on a prime scoring chance as Marissa Gedman put the hosts on the board with 14:25 gone in the final frame. Sophomore Kalley Armstrong won a faceoff in the Minnesota zone back to Gedman, and the defenseman teed up a blast from the right point that found its way through a crowd in front of the net and past Gopher goalie Noora Raty, cutting the deficit in half.

Harvard had its best chance to put in the equalizer with just over two minutes to play in the game as a Minnesota penalty put Harvard on the power play. A handful of looks right at the goalmouth at the start of the skater advantage were turned away and the Minnesota penalty kill proved too strong as the Gophers sealed the 2-1 win.

It was a physical matchup from the get-go and both squads looked aggressive on offense and defense through the whole first period. The Gophers got in a bit of trouble as a two players were sent to the box just three minutes apart on the first frame, but the Crimson was unable to capitalize on two power plays. Minnesota broke the scoreless tie with just under two minutes to play in the opening stanza, when Emily West converted off passes from Sarah Davis and Sarah Erickson at 18:06.

A scoreless second period saw the Crimson kill a pair of penalties, extending its penalties-killed streak to 19. However, the kill was unable to withstand back-to-back infractions just past the halfway point of the third as Minnesota scored promptly after going on a 5-on-3 advantage. Anne Schleper wristed a shot past Laura Bellamy off passes from Amanda Kessel and Jen Schoullis for the eventual game-winner at 12:03 of the third.

Bellamy was stellar once again in net for Harvard, notching 29 saves in the game and keeping the Crimson in contention despite a number of great Minnesota looks right on the doorstep. Her counterpart Raty collected 26 saves in the game.

Harvard and Minnesota wrap up the two-game series tomorrow in a 1:00 p.m. contest.