Feb. 16, 2007
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Jenny Brine's power-play goal with 56 seconds left in overtime lifted No. 6 Harvard to a 4-3 win over Yale Friday night at the Bright Hockey Center. The Bulldogs had a 3-1 lead midway through the third period, but the Crimson scored twice in a span of 82 seconds to tie it up. Yale junior goaltender Shivon Zilis made 36 saves.
Harvard (20-6-2, 16-4-1 ECAC, t-2nd) dominated the first period to the tune of a 12-1 shot advantage, but Zilis kept her team in the game. She denied the country's leading scorer, Julie Chu, four minutes in by getting her right leg down on a shot that was set up by a nice give-and-go to Zilis' right.
Shortly after that the Bulldogs were whistled for their first penalty of the night, but Zilis turned aside a wrister by U.S. Olympian Caitlin Cahow. Another Harvard Olympian, Sarah Vaillancourt of Canada, tried a shot 13 minutes in that hit Zilis right in the chest, and she dove forward to cover up the rebound.
Right after another Yale penalty ended the Bulldogs had one of their few offensive chances of the period, but sophomore forward Crysti Howser sailed a wrist shot from the slot just high.
"I thought we played nervous in the first period," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "We got the puck, but we didn't do anything with it. In the second period we decided we could play our game."
The second got off to a better start for Yale (15-11-2, 10-9-2 ECAC, 6th), as freshman forward Mandi Schwartz fed the puck from behind the Crimson net to sophomore forward Danielle Kozlowski in the slot. Kozlowski got it to senior forward Kristin Savard, whose first shot was denied. But, with a Crimson defender all over her, Savard battled her way to the loose puck and lifted it in to give Yale a 1-0 lead at the 2:22 mark.
Zilis continued taking care of the other end of the ice, smothering a slap shot by Vaillancourt 30 seconds after the Yale goal and then sticking aside another attempt by Vaillancourt from low in the right circle right after that.
At 5:33 a Chu-Vaillancourt breakout ended up with a scrum in front of the Yale net and the red goal light momentarily going on, only to be waved off because the puck had not crossed the goal line. Six minutes after that the Crimson went on another power play, but Zilis stopped a Kati Vaughn slap shot and smothered a Vaillancourt wrister.
At the 15:21 mark the Bulldogs increased their lead. Schwartz worked the puck to sophomore defenseman Carry Resor at the blue line. Harvard goalie Christina Kessler made a kick save on Resor's slap shot, but Kozlowski was perfectly positioned in the slot to knock the rebound in for her fourth goal of the year and third in the last three games.
"When she gets the puck on her stick in the scoring area, she gets rid of it quickly," said Witt. "That's how you score goals."
The Crimson crept closer four minutes into the third when, with Zilis sprawled out after making a save and a pile of players jammed in the crease, Katie Johnston slipped the puck through.
Just two minutes later Harvard appeared to be set up to tie the game when a two-on-one developed and Jennifer Sifers fed a perfect pass to Laura Brady. But Zilis got her leg out to deny that attempt.
The Bulldogs took advantage of their second power play of the night when Howser and senior forward Sheila Zingler combined to knock the puck past Kessler at the 9:36 mark of the third, extending Yale's lead to 3-1. But a minute later Vaughn slid a perfect pass across the slot to a waiting Randi Griffin, who tipped it up and in past Zilis to get the Crimson within 3-2.
A minute after that the Crimson once again had a golden opportunity at a goal thwarted by Zilis' acrobatics. Vaillancourt came in on a breakaway and got Zilis down before trying to tuck the puck in. But Zilis somehow reached out and got just enough of the puck with her glove hand to keep it from crossing the goal-line, a truly remarkable stop that unfortunately also caused her to lose her stick. The Crimson maintained possession in the Yale zone and eventually worked it up top to Nora Sluzas for a slap shot along the ice that Zilis could not stop.
With the score tied at three the Bulldogs gutted out another penalty kill at the end of regulation. Chu got the overtime started with a nifty backhand pass to Sarah Wilson for a shot, but Zilis stopped that one. Two minutes in Zilis sticked aside a slap shot from Chu. Savard took the puck in at the other end of the ice and sent a shot on net that Kessler covered with Howser closing in for the rebound.
Zilis covered a long wrist shot from Laura Brady with 1:47 to play, but shortly after that the game turned on a penalty. Harvard's power play unit had been 0-for-5 to that point, but given a sixth chance on the man advantage the Crimson struck. Vaillancourt sent the puck to Chu for a slap shot that Brine deflected in to end the game.
"Shivon made some phenomenal saves, and she made the routine ones," Witt said. "It was a great game, but it was a tough game to lose."
Despite the loss the Bulldogs remain in sixth place with one regular season game left, and the Crimson remain in a tie for second. If the teams wind up in those spots after Saturday's games, Yale will return to Harvard for a best-of-three quarterfinal series next weekend because Harvard would lose the tiebreaker with St. Lawrence and be seeded third. Even if Yale falls into a tie for sixth with Clarkson, the Bulldogs would have the tiebreaker edge on the Golden Knights provided that Princeton maintains its hold on fourth place.
The Bulldogs visit No. 3 Dartmouth Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity