The Crimson finishes the year as the national runners-up after a hard-fought national championship game. (Photo: Jim Rosvold)
MINNEAPOLIS – In one of the most tightly contested battles of the year, the Harvard women's hockey team fought tooth-and-nail with Minnesota for the right to be crowned national champions, but the Gophers came away with a 4-1 victory in Ridder Arena on Sunday. The Crimson finishes its remarkable season with a record of 27-6-3.
In addition to being named the national runner up, Harvard enjoyed one of its most successful runs in more than five years, claiming a Beanpot championship, an Ivy League title and the ECAC regular season and tournament crowns.
The seven seniors – Hillary Crowe, Sarah Edney, Lydnsey Fry, Marissa Gedman, Michelle Picard, Josephine Pucci and Samantha Reber – end their spectacular Crimson careers with a noteworthy 97-29-11 record as a unit.
Sunday's game displayed the Crimson's veteran core in style. Edney and Picard teamed up to find the back of the net for Harvard, while junior netminder Emerance Maschmeyer once again stood on her head. Tasked with facing the nation's No. 2 offense two nights after being tested by the top scoring team in the country in the national semifinals, Maschmeyer played big in the net, making 29 saves against the Gophers. The three goals allowed was just the fifth time she allowed three or more goals in 27 games between the pipes.
The last game of the 2014-15 season started tenuously for both sides, as each took time to feel each other's style of play out. After five penalties in the opening frame – a measure of the physicality of the nation's best two teams – Minnesota finally broke the scoring silence. After sneaking into the zone, Megan Wolfe wristed a shot from the faceoff dot just under Maschmeyer's glove with 51 ticks on the clock left.
A quick second period flew by with minimal stoppage of play and few shots on target. Maschmeyer again stood tall, this time making 11 saves to keep the Gophers at just a one-goal advantage. Into the third, however, things picked up.
Minnesota went up 2-0 on a nice effort on a backhanded play by Hannah Brandt, but Edney converted on a remarkable shot from the left wing just seven minutes later to make things interesting. After receiving the puck from Michelle Picard, Edney stormed up the wall and sent one on net to test Amanda Leveille, but the puck snuck just past the Gopher goaltender's pads, making things 2-1.
But nearly two minutes later, Meghan Lorence dashed the Crimson's comeback bid at the 16:54 mark with a short snap shot from the right slot to make it 3-1. Just after Maschmeyer was pulled in favor of the extra attacker, Rachael Bona sent in an empty netter to push the final margin of victory to 4-1.
The Crimson's stellar season comes to a close, as does the 2014-15 NCAA women's ice hockey year.