Emerance Maschmeyer is 3-0 in her young playoff career (photo Gil Talbot).
ITHACA, N.Y. – The Harvard women's hockey team will play in its first ECAC championship game since 2008 after taking down No. 2 seed Clarkson, 4-2, at Cornell's Lynah Rink Saturday afternoon. The Crimson, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, benefited from freshmen Mary Parker, who tied her career high with three points, and Emerance Maschmeyer, who made 26 saves, to cruise into the title game.
Maschmeyer shut down Clarkson's usually potent offense and Harvard's offense rewarded her with three goals in the first 43:10 of action against the ECAC Goalie of the Year, Erica Howe. Senior co-captain Jillian Dempsey and freshman Miye D'Oench also had goals for the Crimson, which avenged two previous losses to the Golden Knights.
Harvard struck first for the 26th time in 32 games, and needed just two minutes of play to gain a lead. After a faceoff in the offensive zone created a scrum, Gina McDonald dished to Mary Parker on the edge of the crease. Parker banged the puck off of a Clarkson player and as the puck spun into the air, she collided with the defender. The puck dropped on the Clarkson skater's helmet, as she was pushed backwards, and directed past Howe.
After being outshot, 11-6, in the first 20 minutes, the Crimson controlled the puck for much of the second period. Harvard peppered Howe with 10 shots in the period and finally broke through for its second goal at 15:02. Sophomore Sarah Edney sent an attempt from the point and co-captain Jillian Dempsey redirected the puck to the back of the net.
With an undefeated mark of 19-0-0 when leading after two periods on the line, Harvard added to its lead 3:10 into the third. Parker fed fellow freshman Miye D'Oench through the middle and D'Oench's one-timer soared through to make it 3-0.
As the game looked to be in the Crimson's control, Clarkson began to apply pressure after scoring with 7:38 showing on the clock. Jamie Lee Rattray stopped Harvard and Maschmeyer's playoff opening shutout streak at 172:22 with the goal, before the Golden Knights picked up a power-play chance at 16:18. Clarkson decided to pull its goalie, creating a 6-on-4 situation, while trailing by two scores. Not only did the Crimson's national-leading penalty kill stop Clarkson's and its extra skater, Harvard also added a short-handed goal to seal the win. Parker scored once again, to tie her career high with three points, after receiving a feed from Dempsey near the blue line.
Clarkson added its second goal with 16 seconds remaining, but the tally could not change the outcome or Harvard's momentum heading to the championship game.
The Crimson will face familiar Ivy League foe Cornell, the tournament host and No. 1 seed, tomorrow at 1 p.m. Harvard will be looking for its seventh ECAC tournament crown during the game streamed live on ESPN3.com.
Mary Parker has six points in her last four games, the best run of her freshman year … Katey Stone, The Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Ice Hockey picked up her 402nd career victory … Harvard is now 20-0-0 when leading after one period … Emerance Maschmeyer was 9:36 away from becoming the first goalie in Harvard history to produce three consecutive playoff shutouts … Jillian Dempsey scored a goal for the first time in 11 games … Harvard is 6-2 all-time in ECAC championship games.