Feb. 6, 2009
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Forward Jenny Brine's power-play goal at 13:47 of the third broke a 1-1 tie and gave Harvard a 2-1 win over Yale Friday night at Bright Hockey Center. The game had been a scoreless goaltending duel between Yale freshman goaltender Genny Ladiges and Harvard netminder Christina Kessler until the third period, when a power-play goal by defenseman Cori Bassett gave the Crimson a 1-0 lead at 2:09. Sophomore forward Bray Ketchum answered at 8:37 off an assist by junior forward Caroline Murphy, but Brine's tally proved decisive. Ladiges finished with 37 saves, while Kessler stopped 27.
Ladiges kept her team in the game early, staring down a barrage of 13 shots in the first period. She made a nice blocker save on forward Anna McDonald off a pass from behind the net three minutes in. A minute later, during a 2-on-1 rush, forward Liza Ryabkina tried taking the puck all the way in but was stuffed by Ladiges. A turnover by Yale in its own defensive zone seven minutes after that gave forward Katie Buesser the chance to feed McDonald in front, but Ladiges closed up her pads to deny that shot.
The Bulldogs struggled to generate offense in the early going, and a Yale power play 13 minutes in wound up giving the Crimson a short-handed chance -- a slap shot by McDonald that Ladiges saved. In the waning minutes of the period Harvard had another 2-on-1, but Ladiges gloved forward Katharine Chute's shot off a crossing pass from forward Sarah Vaillancourt.
The Crimson poured 15 more shots on goal in the second period, but Ladiges was once again up to the challenge. Harvard had three power plays in the frame, including one two minutes in where Ladiges made a spectacular stop with her right leg to deny forward Sarah Wilson right on the doorstep. Two minutes after that the Bulldogs had one of their best chances of the night, as forechecking by senior forward Danielle Kozlowski caused a turnover along the boards in the Harvard zone. Kozlowski fed the puck in front to freshman forward Lauren Davis, whose spinning backhanded attempt slid just wide.
Harvard (12-7-3, 11-4-2 ECAC Hockey) then took the puck down to the other end of the ice for another Grade-A chance, but Ladiges snared a rebound attempt by Brine with her glove. Thirty seconds later, Vaillancourt got behind the Yale defense and tried a backhander that Ladiges denied, prompting the Canadian Olympian to pump her fists in frustration. Ladiges also broke up a play later in the period where Brine gave up the puck to Vaillancourt but got it right back for a shot from in front. Another great kick save by Ladiges on Chute ensured that the game remained scoreless into the third.
Bassett's goal was the subject of some debate. The only thing that was clear is that the puck wasn't in the net at the end of the play, but whether it ever was in the net was the key question. After Bassett snuck in behind the Yale defense and banged a pass from Vaillancourt on goal, the puck hit something and bounced back in front of the net. It eventually wound up in the corner to Ladiges' left as Bassett and several other players kept chasing after it. But by then the referee had blown the whistle, ruling that the puck had gone in the net, hit something, and bounced back out. After a delayed celebration, the Crimson's first goal was posted on the scoreboard.
Yale (9-14-0, 5-11-0 ECAC Hockey) had 24 seconds of 5-on-3 midway through the period but was unable to convert. Kessler made one of her best saves of the night to turn aside a shot from freshman forward Aleca Hughes after freshman defenseman Heather Grant set her up right in front of the net. Shortly after the power play ended Ketchum finally got the Bulldogs on the board by tracking down Murphy's pass in the right circle, beating a pair of defenders with a nice move and wristing the puck high and in.
The Crimson took advantage of Yale's fifth penalty to get the game-winner, as Brine knocked in the rebound of a Vaillancourt shot. The Bulldogs did get a power play with 2:20 to play, and pulled Ladiges for an extra attacker with a minute left, but they could not get the equalizer.
Yale plays at No. 8 Dartmouth Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity