Romatoski and the Crimson are unbeaten in its last eight games, the third longest streak in the country (photo Gil Talbot).
TROY, N.Y. – Kelsey Romatoski scored the game-winner in the third period to propel the No. 4 Harvard women's hockey team to a 2-1 win at Rensselaer Saturday afternoon. Emerance Maschmeyer picked up the win in goal by making 19 saves, including eight in the third period to shutout RPI in the frame.
Harvard (11-1-1, 9-0-0 ECAC) and RPI (6-12-2, 4-6-0 ECAC) both struggled to gain scoring chances throughout the first period. The Crimson edged Rensselaer, 6-4, in shots, but each team only had a few good looks. Maschmeyer blocked all four attempts sent her way and the Crimson's defense turned away multiple other RPI opportunities. Mary Parker had daylight between the puck and RPI's goaltender, Kelly O'Brien, but the Rensselaer sophomore turned away perhaps Harvard's best shot of the frame. The Crimson also held the puck in RPI's end for over a minute at the 17th-minute mark, but once again O'Brien stood strong.
The Crimson broke the scoreless tie in the third minute of the second period. Jillian Dempsey picked up a loose puck and sent a pass from the goal line on the right side to the far corner of the crease. The pass slid past RPI's goalie, who was guarding the post ready for a shot, and directly to Kalley Armstrong's blade. Armstrong buried the goal before O'Brien could adjust. Dempsey moved her career long point streak to 27 games with the helper.
Harvard held its lead for nearly 14 minutes, before RPI knotted the game again. Mari Mankey ended Emerance Maschmeyer's shutout bid by beating the Bruderheim, Alta., native from just outside the crease and above the goal line on the left side.
With the score at 1-1, the Crimson entered the second-period intermission with a tie game for the first time since topping then-No. 2 Cornell, 2-1, Nov. 24.
The first chance for either team in the final stanza came when RPI's Madison Marzario was sent off for checking. Harvard, which had missed on its only previous power play of the day, took full advantage of Rensselaer's miscue. Hillary Crowe fired from the left faceoff dot 1:30 into the two-minute penalty and Kaitlin Spurling corralled the rebound to pass to Romatoski in the middle of the offensize zone. The senior defender moved to just above the faceoff dots and beat Rensselaer's netminder stickhand side for the goal.
The third period proved to be full of penalties for each team. Harvard went 1 for 3 on the power play, while also committing three infractions of its own. The toughest stretch for the Crimson started at the 12:42 mark when Gina McDonald was whistled for cross-checking after Lyndsey Fry was already in the box. Harvard then killed 1:41 minutes of 5-on-3 play and the remaining 19 seconds of 5-on-4 to keep the lead at 2-1. RPI got just two shots to Maschmeyer, as two others were blocked by Harvard defenders, during the long two-skater advantage and the Crimson freshman stopped each attempt.
Maschmeyer (5-0-1) won her fifth game of the year in her sixth start. The Crimson outshot RPI, 26-20, overall, including a five-shot differential, 13-8, during the third period.
Harvard returns to the ice next weekend for its first games at Bright Hockey Center since the New Year. Princeton visits Cambridge at 7 p.m. Friday and Quinnipiac will skate against the Crimson at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Harvard moves to 9-4-1 all-time against RPI, including four straight wins … In skater-down situations for Harvard, the Crimson has scored more goals (2 shorthanded goals) than its opponents (1 power-play goal) during ECAC play … Harvard has not allowed a third-period goal in nine ECAC games, it is the only team to have blanked all of its opponents in any period … The Crimson leads the ECAC in offense (4.67 goals per game) and defense (0.44 goals allowed per game) … Senior defender Kelsey Romatoski played her 100th career game today. Other Crimson skaters that have played in more than 100 games include Jillian Demspey (108), Kaitlin Spurling (107) and Hilary Hayssen (104) … Kalley Armstrong's previous three goals had all been game-winners … Katey Stone, The Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard's Women's Ice Hockey, moves to within 11 wins of 400 for her career. She currently stands 389-165-32 and is the winningest coach in Division I women's hockey history.