No. 8 Women’s Hockey Drops Overtime Thriller to No. 10 St. Lawrence, 2-1, in ECAC Semifinals

No. 8 Women’s Hockey Drops Overtime Thriller to No. 10 St. Lawrence, 2-1, in ECAC Semifinals

Harvard suffered its only overtime loss of the season Friday against St. Lawrence (Gil Talbot).

After a tightly contested three periods of regulation, St. Lawrence's Kelly Sabatine netted her second goal of the game as the No. 8 Harvard women's hockey team fell, 2-1, in overtime to St. Lawrence Friday night at Lynah Rink in the ECAC semifinals. Harvard finishes the ECAC tournament with a record of 22-9-1 on the year to go along with a 17-4-1 conference mark. St. Lawrence (23-9-4, 14-6-2 ECAC) advances to the ECAC final, where it will meet host Cornell for the league title.

The Saints provided all the pressure in the short-lived overtime period, keeping the puck in the Harvard zone for the majority of the time. Laura Bellamy made a steady save to start the overtime frame, and started a Harvard push towards the St. Lawrence zone. The Saints came back firing, and Sabatine lifted a short-range shot past a lunging Bellamy at 3:14 to seal the dramatic ending.  

The teams entered the third period tied at 1-1, but the defenses were stifling throughout the final frame of regulation, especially that of the Saints. A pair of St. Lawrence penalties gave Harvard two power plays and despite playing as poised as it has been this season, the Harvard special teams unit was unable to figure out MacDonald, firing four threatening shots on goal. A 10-4 shots edge in the period for Harvard gave it a 29-25 advantage in regulation.

St. Lawrence came out with a vengeance to start the second period, peppering the Harvard net with pucks that Bellamy did well to turn away. The offensive pressure paid off for the Saints, however, as star forward Kelly Sabatine blasted a slapshot from the top of the left faceoff circle that whipped past Belamy to give the Saints a 1-0 lead 9:05 into the second period. St. Lawrence very nearly made it 2-0 a few minutes later, when a wrister through a crowd clanged off the right pipe with 8:55 showing on the clock.

Harvard had a near-miss opportunity of its own with 5:24 to play in the period, as Sarah Edney ripped a shot from the point on the power play that went past MacDonald but banged off the pipe and into the corner. The Crimson regained composure quickly, and after Josephine Pucci had a shot blocked, Edney fed Jillian Dempsey down low and Dempsey lifted the puck over MacDonald's left shoulder for the equalizer with 5:15 on the clock. The Saints had a 14-10 shots advantage in the frame, as the teams entered the locker room tied for the second time.

The penalty kill of both squads was put to the test early on as the teams combined for five penalties in the opening period. Both teams had plenty of room to skate midway through the period as four rapid calls made it 3-on-3 for almost a minute. The special teams were up to the task as St. Lawrence's Carmen MacDonald and Harvard's Laura Bellamy turned aside any threatening pucks. Harvard closed the period with a slight, 9-7, edge in shots and both teams left the ice still in search of the game's first goal.