Defense Carries No. 2/3 Harvard Past RPI, 4-1, to Run Unbeaten Streak to 12
Emerance Maschmeyer made 14 saves to help the Crimson to a 4-1 win over RPI Friday night (photo Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – No. 2/3 Harvard's defense held RPI to five shots in the final two periods, and the Crimson cruised to its 12th ECAC win of the season with a 4-1 victory over Rensselaer Friday night at Bright Hockey Center.
The two teams played an even first period, finishing with 10 shots apiece; however, the Crimson outshot the Engineers, 23-5 in the final 40 minutes to pull away and extend its unbeaten streak to 12 games (11-0-1), the third-longest active streak in the nation.
Lyndsey Fry tallied two goals for the Crimson (15-1-1, 12-0-0) to pace the offense, while Emerance Maschmeyer improved to 7-0-1 on the year in net, making 14 saves to remain one of two unbeaten goalies in the country. Miye D'Oench and Michelle Picard both added single tallies for Harvard, while Mary Parker and Sara Edney each had assists.
While the defense ended up dominating, it was an offensive show for the game's first seven minutes as three of the five goals were scored during that span.
The Crimson got on the board first on a short-handed goal following a Samantha Reber penalty. Picard picked up the puck after the subsequent faceoff and skated in on a breakaway. The sophomore beat RPI netmminder Kelly O'Brien with a wrist shot to the top left corner of the goal to make it 1-0 in favor of the Crimson 14 seconds into the Rensselaer power play and 3:52 into the period.
However, the Engineers evened the score just moments after that power play ended. A blast from the point by Andie Le Donne was blocked, as was a shot by Jordan Smelker from right in front of the crease by Maschmeyer, but Taylor Horton cleaned up the second rebound from there to even things up with 14:19 remaining in the frame.
The offensive flurry continued as the Crimson reclaimed the lead just over two minutes later. Kalley Armstrong carried the puck into the RPI zone when an Engineer collided with the junior, jarring the puck loose. Fry picked up the skittering disk and skated in on net all alone where she deked O'Brien before lifting a backhand over the sprawling netminder into the back of the cage for her 10th goal of the year.
The two teams would go back and forth for the rest of the opening stanza, but neither team could break through to keep the Harvard advantage at one.
Defenses dominated the start of the second period with Harvard mustering the only three shots in the opening nine minutes of the period. The Crimson made the fourth one count as D'Oench scooped up the puck with her hand along the boards in the RPI zone after a chip by Parker and placed it on her stick. She then skated to the middle of the ice and fired a shot into the top right corner of the goal to increase the Harvard advantage to two with 10:41 remaining.
That was the only offense either team could muster in the period as the two teams combined for just 10 shots. Harvard outshot the Engineers, 9-1, in the frame and surrendered the only shot on goal, a glove save by Maschmeyer, over 18 minutes into the frame.
In the third period, the Crimson defense continued to suffocate the RPI offense, due in part to four RPI penalties in the period.
After failing to capitalize on the first two power plays, the Crimson broke through on the third when it turned into a 5-on-3 advantage. Harvard worked the puck around the zone, and Michelle Picard fired a shot wide from near the blue line that ricocheted off the boards straight to the stick of Fry, who sent it home for her second goal of the night with 6:30 left.
The Engineers pulled their goalie after going on the power play with 2:31 left in the game to try and muster one last offensive surge. RPI got three of their four third period shots with the extra skaters but could not break through the Crimson penalty kill that leads the nation with 55-of-57 killed to keep the final margin at three.
Harvard returns to action Saturday afternoon to conclude its five-game homestand against Union at 4 p.m.
Harvard is 10-4-1 all-time against Rensselaer ... Harvard has yet to trail in an ECAC contest this season ... Harvard has not allowed a third-period goal in 12 ECAC games, it is the only team to have blanked all of its opponents in any period ... During ECAC play, Harvard has scored more goals than opponents while the Crimson is on the penalty kill, outscoring opponents 3-1 ... Harvard is the only team in the NCAA to not have allowed more than two goals in a single game this season ... The Crimson is ranked No. 2 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings and No. 3 in the USCHO poll ... Maschmeyer and Minnesota's Noora Räty are the only undefeated goalies in the country ... Katey Stone, The Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard's Women's Ice Hockey, moves to within seven wins of 400 for her career. She currently stands 393-165-32 and is the winningest coach in Division I women's hockey history ... Harvard has won 15 consecutive games at home ... Jillian Dempsey's point streak came to an end at 30 games.