Kaitlin Spurling and the Crimson outshot Boston College, 31-24, but it wasn't enough to top the Eagles (John Quackenbos).
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The No. 5 Harvard women's hockey team jumped out to an early lead on No. 4 Boston College, but the Eagles scored three unanswered goals to top the Crimson, 3-1, in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon at Conte Forum.
After the Crimson struck first to take a 1-0 lead, BC responded with three consecutive tallies in the first and second periods to beat Harvard in the first meeting in the postseason between the two schools. The Crimson, which won a share of an Ivy League title for the first time since 2009 and also lifted The Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Ice Hockey, Katey Stone, to her 400th career win, ends the season at 24-7-3 overall, while the Eagles advance to the NCAA semifinals against the winner of Minnesota and North Dakota.
Mary Parker struck for her fourth goal in as many games to account for Harvard's lone tally, and Kaitlin Spurling and Samantha Reber both contributed assists for the Crimson, who outshot the Eagles, 31-24. Freshman goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer made 21 saves in her NCAA Tournament debut, but it was not enough for the Crimson.
The two teams spent the early minutes of the game trying to get a feel for the opponent. The Eagles were the early aggressors, getting five of the first six shots on net; however, it was the Crimson that had the best early scoring chance. With the puck skittering across the face of the net, Harvard's Gina MacDonald had a wide open left side of the goal, but Corinne Boyles managed to get back across the crease to make a sprawling save and keep the game scoreless four minutes in.
After both squads went on the power play, the Crimson finally broke through on its second extra-skater advantage. Harvard worked the puck around the zone, and Spurling found Parker crashing from her spot at the top of the right faceoff circle. The freshman fired a wrist shot that trickled past Boyles into the back of the net to give Harvard a 1-0 advantage at the 16-minute mark.
The Harvard advantage did not last long, as BC struck exactly one minute later. Haley Skarupa's shot slid just underneath Maschmeyer's glove for the equalizer to send the game into the first intermission deadlocked at one.
The Eagles then claimed the lead 2:11 into the second period. Caitlin Walsh skated in a one-on-one break and sent a shot through a defender's leg that found its way into the lower corner of the cage for a goal.
Harvard would go on to control possession for much of the second period but could not break through to tie the score. Instead Alex Carpenter redirected a shot from Blake Bolden past Maschmeyer to make it 3-1with 4:56 left in the second to make it a two-goal advantage after the first 40 minutes.
In the third period, Harvard had a chance to inch within one three minutes into the period, as Kaitlin Spurling skated in a break with only one defender to beat. She slipped past the Boston College defender, but her shot went straight into the leg pad of Boyles to keep the margin at two.
The Crimson would threaten throughout the period, including two power-play opportunities, period but failed to break through to keep the final margin at two and drop consecutive games for the first time all season, while Boston College advanced to its third consecutive NCAA Frozen Four.
Harvard last made the Frozen Four in 2008 ... Katey Stone ends the season with 402 career victories, the most in the history of women's college hockey ... Six seniors, Jillian Dempsey, Kaitlin Spurling, Margaret Chute, Kelsey Romatoski, Hilary Hayssen and Laura Bellamy, all played their final game as members of the Crimson.