Harvard took a hard-fought victory over Rensselaer on Friday, 4-1. (Elan Kawesch)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Donning the black sweaters for the 2014-15 season opener on Halloween, the No. 4/4 Harvard women's hockey team skated to victory over ECAC foe Rensselaer on Friday night at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. The Crimson (1-0-0, 1-0-0 ECAC) scored in each period to overcome the Engineers (1-5-1, 0-1-0 ECAC), 4-1.
Miye D'Oench moved her point streak to nine games – dating back to last season – with a pair of bookending goals, on either side of Lexie Laing's first career score and Mary Parker's extra-effort goal in the third period. Sarah Edney made a fine showing to start her senior campaign, dishing out two helpers, while classmate Hillary Crowe and junior captain Michelle Picard each added an assist to the cause.
With Emerance Maschmeyer with Team Canada for the Four Nations Cup, sophomore netminder Brianna Laing picked up her eighth career win in as many starts, playing admirably between the pipes. Laing saw only 13 shots, turning aside 12 of them to secure the victory.
After ripping 10 shots on target in the first period, Harvard finally broke through with D'Oench's solo effort got things going for the Crimson late in the stanza. After intercepting a cross-ice pass just near the blue line, D'Oench moved things up ice with ease, needing to beat just one RPI skater before crashing the net alone. The junior then faked shortside, and brought things across the crease and underneath Brianna Piper's pads for the score.
Picking up where it left off from last season, Harvard's special teams came through once again. After a couple of scary shots on the power play, the Crimson finally capitalized with the man advantage. Lexie Laing swooped into the offensive zone, dishing the puck off to Edney near the blue line. Edney corralled the puck and fired a hefty shot towards Piper; Laing found her way back towards the net by then, and was there to redirect Edney's shot for the first goal of her career. The score would eventually be the game winner, securing the victory for her sister in net.
Just 19 seconds later, however, RPI got on the board at 19:44 in the second period. Marisa Raspa connected on her first goal of the season, beating Laing with a short tip in front of the net to cut the Harvard lead to 2-1 into the second intermission.
Just over midway through a tense third period, Mary Parker capitalized with a tremendous effort. Crowe pinched the puck from out of the boards in the defensive zone and it found Parker in stride, who soared up the ice, blazing past every Engineer in sight. Parker then crashed the net and buried the shot just outside of the crease to make it 3-1 with 5:18 left. D'Oench then finished things off with an empty netter with just 1:08 left on the clock to secure the 4-1 final for Harvard in its opener.
With a win in the first outing under its belt, the Crimson turns around to welcome Union Saturday at 4 p.m. as a part of a doubleheader with the Harvard men's hockey team, who plays Dartmouth at 7 p.m.