By: Max Wolpoff
Games are won and lost by the battles waged between goals. On this Tuesday afternoon, the Harvard Crimson won the neutral zone fight enough times for offensive chances after a Boston University dominated first period. A late empty netter sealed the score line and the Crimson defeated the Terriers 5-3 to grab Third Place in the 38th Women’s Beanpot.
“I commend Harvard for having the resiliency, the conditioning, and the compete to make a comeback like that when they’ve played now their third game in five days” head coach Brian Durocher said.
Boston University moves to 17-11-2 on the year and remains at 14-4-2 in Hockey East, firmly entrenched in third place. Harvard (14-9-2, 10-6-2 ECAC) sits in fifth place in the ECAC, trying to wrestle away home-ice from Colgate before the Conference Tournament.
The game started off well enough for the Terriers with Maddie Elia winning an offensive zone faceoff and shooting a quick wrister above Emerance Maschmeyer and under the cross bar. Elia celebrated once the puck bounced out, but the official was hesitant to call it a good goal on the ice. Video review confirmed the call and BU led 1-0.
Elia scored again three minutes later to double the Terrier advantage while Harvard waited only 25 seconds to respond in kind with Miye D’Oench’s 12th of the year. Sammy Davis cleaned up the rebound in front of Maschmeyer on the power play to restore the two-goal Terrier lead. Heading into the locker rooms, the Terriers looked in good shape.
Taking a page from the playbook of the New Jersey Devils of the 2000s, Harvard elected to lay off the forecheck in favor of a strong neutral zone trap. The Crimson frustrated the Terrier offense, limiting them to eight shots in the frame. The turnovers at the red and blue line jump-started the Harvard offense.
Coach Durocher termed his team’s second period defense “passive” while the Crimson continued to prevent chances.
“I don’t think anybody was complacent. I think we played smart, we worked pretty hard, but we’ll give Harvard credit, they made some timely shots, got some rebounds that decided the game.”
Briana Mastel felt the first success from the trap, scoring from the top of the faceoff circle and cutting the deficit to one. Suddenly, BU looked lost. Every chance they had to turn the puck up ice for an offensive chance either got stifled at the blue line, red line, or needed to be dumped in because the line was too tired from playing defense for an extended time period.
“I think we were a being little too fancy out there” junior forward Elia said. “We kept it simple in the first and it was working; during the second, I think we let up a little.”
While the teams switched sides for the final 20, the script remained the same. Harvard remianed defensively responsible and BU managed to limit the traffic in front of junior goalie Victoria Hanson. Sydney Daniels scored at Hanson’s doorstep for the tie with just over six minutes left to play. For a while, the game balanced out and overtime looked increasingly likely.
Then, on a blown play in front of Hanson, Daniels cleaned up the puck in front for the lead marker with just 58 seconds left to play. D’Oench scored on the empty net with less than one second left to win the Crimson Third Place in the Women’s Beanpot.
Boston University now looks to wrap-up Hockey East play with two home-and-home sets, one against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats and the season finale versus the cross-town rival Northeastern Huskies.