Laura Bellamy earned the Crimson's first shutout in a season opener since 2006-07 Friday night at Quinnipiac. (photo Gil Talbot).
HAMDEN, Conn. – Laura Bellamy denied 30 shots en route to her 15th career shutout to propel the No. 9-ranked Harvard women's ice hockey team to a 2-0 victory over Quinnipiac in its 35th season opener Friday night. Harvard moved to 22-11-2 all-time in season openers, including 3-0 when facing the Bobcats in the first game of the year.
Harvard (1-0-0, 1-0-0 ECAC) opened the contest with two exceptional scoring chances in the first 10 minutes of action. The first came at the 6:03 mark when Jillian Dempsey won a lengthy battle against the boards. The captain controlled the puck and found Kelsey Romatoski in front of the net. Romatoski put a shot between the pipes, but Quinnipiac's (3-3-1, 0-1-0 ECAC) Victoria Vigilanti was there to deny the attempt. With 10:43 left in the first, Harvard had another open look. This time it came from Mary Parker, who was found alone in front of the net by Kaitlin Spurling. The freshman took a shot to the lower left side of the goal, only to be denied by the outstretched pad of Vigilanti.
The Crimson scored its first goal of the 2012-13 season by making quick work of its first power play late in the first stanza. Mary Parker won a faceoff that was directed to Hillary Crowe at the blue line. Crowe fed Dempsey near the circle on the right side and the senior moved the puck down the boards to Parker. The two ran a give-and-go to hit Dempsey in the middle where she fired past Vigilanti.
Dempsey's captain counterpart, Laura Bellamy, made ten saves in the first period, including a brilliant glove catch 33 seconds before the Crimson's initial tally.
The Crimson made it 2-0 on its final shot of the second period with only four seconds remaining on the clock. Mary Parker circled the puck around the back of the net before slapping it towards the crease. A pileup between members of both teams ensued around the goalie, before the puck squirted out in front of the goal line. Crowe came skating in from the left circle to knock in the near motionless puck and give Harvard breathing room before the third period. Parker picked up her second assist during her first career game on the play, marking the third straight year a Crimson newcomer has had a multi-point game in her debut. Marissa Gedman (2 assists) and Samantha Reber (1 goal, 1 assist) accomplished the feat in the last two years, respectively.
The two teams played a scoreless third period, as once again Quinnipiac took 10 shots on target. The Bobcats held the advantage in shots, 30-22, and face offs won, 33-26, in the course of the game. Harvard was 1-of-4 on power-play opportunities and denied Quinnipiac during their one player-up chance.
Bellamy moved into a tie for second in the Harvard record books with her 15th career shutout. The Duluth, Minn., native evened Ali Boe '06 on the shutouts chart and trails only Christina Kessler '10, who had 25 clean sheets during her four years in Cambridge. Before tonight, the last time a Harvard goalie blanked an opponent in the season opener was in 2006-07.
Harvard is back in action tomorrow afternoon at Princeton. The puck is set to drop at 4 p.m.