Laura Bellamy made 24 saves for her sixth shutout of the season Saturday (Gil Talbot).
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – The No. 8 Harvard women's hockey team faced tough tests in a stingy Dutchwomen team and enthusiastic Union crowd, but made its first-period goal stand up as the Crimson (18-8-1, 15-4-1 ECAC) skated away from Messa Rink with a 1-0 win over Union (4-24-4, 2-16-2 ECAC) Saturday afternoon. Harvard goalie Laura Bellamy had a commanding performance in goal, stopping all 24 shots she faced on the afternoon.
The shutout is Bellamy's sixth this season, which stands tied for third for shutouts in a season in program history. The win is also Harvard's 15th shutout in 18 career games against the Dutchwomen. With the victory, and a 4-2 win by Rensselaer over Dartmouth, the Crimson clinched home ice for its quarterfinal series in the ECAC tournament, beginning in two weeks.
A tight first period saw each team get booked for a penalty, but neither squad was able to take advantage of a power play. Harvard goalie Laura Bellamy was sharp early, standing tall during a three-shot flurry with less than four minutes to play in the period, to keep the hosts off the board. With under a minute to play, Jillian Dempsey wrestled a puck from a Union defender a mid-ice and worked a pass to a charging Lyndsey Fry, who weaved into the Union zone and lifted a shot past Kate Gallagher for a 1-0 lead at 19:25.
Bellamy stayed solid through the second period as the Dutchwomen fired eight shots on net that the junior stopped. Harvard nearly had a second goal on a close-range attempt in the final two minutes of the period, but Gallagher met Dempsey's quick shot with her left blocker to keep the score 1-0. Harvard ended two periods of play with a 25-17 edge in shots.
The Dutchwomen kept up their intensity through the third period, firing seven more shots on goal that Bellamy was able to turn away. An offensive push on its final possession came dangerously close to producing the game-tying goal, but the Dutchwomen were unable to best Bellamy.
The Crimson returns to Cambridge for its final two games of the regular season. Harvard takes on Brown Friday night at 7 p.m., and closes the regular season against Yale Saturday at 4 p.m.