Armstrong's fifth game-winning goal of the season has her tied for third in the nation in the category (photo Gil Talbot).
CANTON, N.Y. – Facing a third-period deficit for just the fourth time this season, the No. 2 Harvard women's hockey team came back to top St. Lawrence, 3-2, in overtime Saturday afternoon at Appleton Arena. Jillian Dempsey provided the tying score with six minutes left in regulation and Kalley Armstrong found the back of the net to send the Crimson home a winner 2:10 into OT.
In its second overtime contest of the season, Harvard (17-2-1, 14-1-0 ECAC) outshot SLU (14-10-2, 9-4-1 ECAC), 46-32, including 19 attempts during the third period. Laura Bellamy earned a hard-fought win in net for the Crimson, advancing her record to 10-1-0 on the season.
The first period breezed by with no scoring and only one penalty combined between the two teams. Harvard gained a power play at the 7:05 mark and managed to send three attempts at St. Lawrence goalie Carmen MacDonald during the two minutes, but the Saints' sophomore stopped each. The Crimson outshot St. Lawrence, 10-8, in the evenly played first that saw Bellamy make a number of challenging saves.
Harvard played a disciplined first period, having no penalties in the stanza, but two Crimson skaters were quickly sent to the box at the start of the second. Hillary Crowe was sent in for hooking at 3:27 and Kaitlin Spurling joined her just 15 seconds later for the same offense. The Crimson was faced with 1:45 of 5-on-3 action and the Harvard penalty kill was up to the challenge. Bellamy was peppered with shots and saved all six that traveled past Harvard's three defenders during the kill to keep the game scoreless.
The game progressed with a 0-0 score until SLU's Abbey McRae put the Saints on the board. McRae stuffed the puck in on the right post at 15:27 before Bellamy's left skate extended to cover the line.
Mary Parker made St. Lawrence's advantage last only 1:51 after receiving a pass from Kaitlin Spurling behind the net. Parker, a freshman, circled around the goal and found daylight in the slot. The Milton, Mass., native lifted a wrister, Harvard's 16th shot of the period, from outside the crease on the right side to the opposite high corner of the goal and tucked the puck over MacDonald's stick-hand shoulder and under the corner of the pipe.
Despite flurries of shots on target over the last 20 minutes of regulation, St. Lawrence was the first to grab the lead. Kayla Raniwsky tipped a shot from Dayle Wilkinson in front of the net and the puck sored to the top-shelf, giving Bellamy no chance at a save.
Harvard, in the same 2-1 third-period situation it faced in last night's 3-1 loss to Clarkson, was determined to not suffer the same fate as less than 24 hours early.
With SLU's players scrambling in its own defensive zone after they had thought they controlled the puck, Sarah Edney found Dempsey streaking towards the goal from above the left faceoff circle. The senior co-captain fired towards the five-hole and off of the St. Lawrence goalies pad. It initially appeared that MacDonald had made the save, but the puck trickled through with barely enough momentum to cross the goal line and knot the score.
The Crimson completed the comeback 2:10 into overtime on its first scoring chance after regulation. Lyndsey Fry took a shot that hit the post and sent MacDonald scrambling around the crease. As St. Lawrence defenders slid to the ice, Armstrong picked up the rebound and converted above a sprawled MacDonald. The score was Armstrong's team-leading fifth game-winner of the year and eighth goal of the season.
Harvard plays one game next weekend, a 7 p.m. Friday matchup at Dartmouth. The ECAC contest will be aired live nationally on Fox College Sports.
Harvard went 3+ periods without a goal, its longest scoring drought of the season, before Parker's goal … The Crimson is now 16-0-1 when outshooting its opponent this season … Katey Stone, The Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard's Women's Ice Hockey, is five wins away from 400 for her career … Today was the second straight time Harvard and SLU have played to overtime, as the Saints' took a 2-1 decision in last year's ECAC semifinals … The win was the Crimson's first in OT since Feb. 26, 2012 vs. Princeton (W, 4-3) … Laura Bellamy tied her season high with 30 saves.