CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 8/9 nationally-ranked Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team dropped a 4-2 decision to the No. 7 ranked Harvard Crimson from Bright-Landry Hockey Center on Friday night. The Bobcats held the Crimson scoreless for the first and third periods but four goals in less than a 10 minute span in the second proved too much to overcome despite the Bobcats outshooting the Crimson, 21-18 for the game. Quinnipiac's six-game unbeaten streak comes to an end as they fall to 5-1-1 (0-1-0 ECAC Hockey) on the year while Harvard wins its season opener as they stand 1-0-0 (1-0-0 ECAC Hockey).
Sophomore Nicole Brown (Oshawa, Ontario) and junior Morgan Fritz-Ward (Mason City, Iowa) found the back of the net for the Bobcats' scoring while junior goalie Chelsea Laden (Lakeville, Minn.) finished with 14 saves on 18 shots in net. Fritz-Ward added an assist on Brown's goal to give her two points and her third career multi-point game. Friday's game represented the first time these two sides have met as ranked opponents in their series history.
In one of the most exciting scoreless periods seen all season, the Bobcats and Crimson finished the first locked in a 0-0 tie. All the effort would have been for not if Laden didn't step up with three huge saves in the waning minutes of the stanza. Harvard's Hillary Crowe and Samantha Reber were on the doorstep but Laden made three consecutive stops on the doorstep in a span of less than four seconds. With a host of players in front of her, Laden alertly dove with extended stick to her right that knocked the puck out of crease and out of harm's way.
Harvard struck first on the power play as they held the puck in the Bobcats' defensive end for well over a minute before the pressure finally paid dividends with a goal from Crowe. After Laden kicked away a shot from Sarah Edney at the point, the rebound kicked over to the far post where it was knocked in by Crowe at 1:33.
The Crimson added another goal just over two minutes later when Dylanne Crugnale found a loose puck after several deflections in front. Crugnale found the puck before Laden did and was able to squeeze it through the goalie's pads to give Harvard a 2-0 lead.
Quinnipiac's bench and their loyal faithful stood to their feet at 4:26 when the Bobcats lit the lamp for a much-needed response goal. Fritz-Ward picked up a Harvard turnover in the neutral zone and carried the puck along the far boards. The great hustle from Brown created an opportunity in front of Harvard's goalie Emerance Maschmeyer as Fritz-Ward's crossing pass hit Brown's stick and found the back of the net. The goal broke a 173:51 scoreless streak for the Bobcats against the Crimson.
Despite the quick response, Harvard added another power-play goal just over a minute later to seize momentum once again. Edney's blast from the point found the netting to give the Crimson a two-goal lead.
Crugnale tallied another goal at 11:06, her second of the game, to finish off a four-goal period for Harvard and open up a 4-1 game heading into the third period. The four-goal period marked the first time the Bobcats have allowed that many goals in a frame since Nov. 20, 2010 (90 games) when Cornell scored four times in the first period of a 4-0 loss to the Big Red.
Fritz-Ward's second goal of the season was an absolute blast from the slot as senior Shelby Wignall (Hamilton, Ontario) carried the puck all alone into the Harvard defensive zone after a nice find from freshman Meghan Turner (Bedford, N.H.). Wignall waited for the line change and centered to Fritz-Ward who one-timed a rocket past Maschmeyer to make it a 4-2 game but it proved not enough as Harvard closed out the win.
The Crimson continue to hold the Bobcats' numbers as Quinnipiac's all-time record against Harvard falls to 2-14-1 while the Bright-Landry Hockey Center has proved an enigma for the Bobcats as they remain winless (0-9) in their nine all-time meetings playing on the road.
The No. 8/9 Bobcats will hit the road for a quick turnover against Dartmouth from Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H. at 4:00 pm.
Contact: Maxx McNall; firstname.lastname@example.org