Crowe tallied two scores for the Crimson in the 3-1 win over RPI on Saturday. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After falling to Rensselaer early in the season, the No. 5/5 Harvard women's hockey team set out to exact revenge, and the Crimson (16-2-2, 12-2-1 ECAC) did just that. Harvard handled the Engineers (10-13-2, 6-7-1 ECAC), 3-1, in Bright-Landry Hockey Center on Saturday evening to extend its first-place conference standing.
Junior Hillary Crowe continued her torrid pace, finding the back of the net twice for Harvard in the victory. Sophomore Miye D'Oench collected the Crimson's second empty netter this season, adding her 11th goal of the year with just 37 seconds left in the contest. Between the pipes, sophomore Emerance Maschmeyer turned aside 30 shots, 10 apiece over all three periods, to earn her 12th victory of the season in net.
After burying a third-period game-winner against Union the night before, Crowe dazzled again, this time early in the first frame. Once Sarah Edney intercepted a backhand pass from an Engineer in Harvard's zone, the junior shipped the puck up the ice to her classmate, who split the defense in half. Crowe found herself alone on a breakaway by the time she hit the offensive zone, but instead of firing early, she deked her way around Kelly O'Brien for the score and the lead.
As the second period rolled around, the Crimson took two penalties back-to-back to give RPI a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:45 midway through the stanza. But the nation's best penalty kill was up to the task, clearing away chance after chance for the Engineers. Multiple times Brianna Mastel and Natasha Rachlin shot the puck up the boards to keep RPI out of the Harvard zone for a bulk of the two-man advantage, and to top it all off, Maschmeyer padded away a couple chances in her own right to keep the Engineers off the board.
Though no scoring transpired in the second period, the Crimson made sure that was not the case in the final period. Midway in, Harvard's top line showed up in a tic-tac-toe goal to give the Crimson a cushiony 2-0 lead. From the right circle, Samantha Reber fed the puck to D'Oench, who then sat patiently with the puck until she found Crowe standing on the left side of the net. From a knee, Crowe slid one in between a defender and beat O'Brien as she was shifting right. The score was her second of the night, fourth in as many games and 10th on the season for Harvard.
RPI only sat in a 2-0 hole for just 15 seconds, however. Rensselaer's Ali Svoboda fired a shot through Crimson traffic, but after Maschmeyer got a glove on it, the puck rolled over and trickled across the goal line for the score to break the pending shutout.
After the Engineers called for a time out with around a minute left to pull O'Brien from the net, Harvard capitalized on its second empty net opportunity in four games. With the help of sister Mary Parker, who forced a turnover, Elizabeth Parker corralled the puck in the neutral zone and set up the play. After collecting a pass from the elder Parker at mid-ice, D'Oench raced up to the blue line and fired away on the lonesome net for Harvard's third tally of the night with just 37 seconds to go.
With the win, the Crimson hold on to first place in the ECAC by four points over Clarkson. Harvard returns to the ice to maintain the pole position when it travels to Princeton and Quinnipiac next weekend to close out January.