ITHACA, N.Y. – The No. 5/6 Harvard women's hockey team finished off a four-point ECAC road trip to Central New York in style, knocking off No. 3 Cornell, 3-1, in Lynah Rink. The win by the Crimson (14-2-2, 10-2-1 ECAC) was the first over the Big Red (14-2-3, 9-1-2 ECAC) in Ithaca since the 2008-09 season and moved Harvard into sole possession of first in the conference standings with 21 points.
Collectively the Crimson stepped up to the challenge of a top-5 showdown, as six different Crimson earned at least a point. But the defensive unit proved to be a major factor in the victory. In the net, Emerance Maschmeyer steered away 30 shots to earn her 11th win of the season, while the Crimson combined for 22 blocked shots, compared to just five by Cornell.
For just the second time in 2014, it was the Crimson that struck first. Samantha Reber did well to start the play by securing the puck in the defensive zone and flipping it to Hillary Crowe near the blue line. Crowe then sent a long dump pass up the boards where Miye D'Oench reigned it in just north of the faceoff circle. Her momentum carried her nearly parallel to Cornell's Lauren Slebodnick, but the sophomore forward was able to beat the senior netminder near glove side, squeaking one in from the far edge of the right circle to put the Crimson up 1-0 early.
After each side killed off a penalty and a fair amount of back-and-forth proceeded, Cornell retaliated with just under two minutes to go as Anna Zorn deflected a slap shot from Cassandra Poudrier, who fired in from the point. Zorn was able to get enough stick on the puck to sneak it around Maschmeyer for the tying score, sending everyone into the locker rooms with a 1-1 tie.
Into the second period, Cornell nearly took the lead over Harvard, but Maschmeyer padded away a breakaway run from the Big Red with just over 13 minutes to play. A few ticks of the clock later, Marissa Gedman found the back of the net in a big way for the Crimson. The junior captain one-timed a nifty short pass from Reber, who was flying up the boards into the offensive zone. Gedman's third goal of the season gave the Crimson a crucial 2-1 cushion after 40 minutes of play.
More physical play up and down the ice highlighted the third frame until Harvard nearly made it 3-1 with a pair of back-to-back shots on a power play with around eight minutes remaining. However, Slebodnick was there to keep the Crimson off the board for the time being. With just over 1:20 remaining in the game, Maschmeyer made one of the bigger saves of the day, blocking away a wrister that nearly trickled into the net, marking one of 13 saves in the period alone for the sophomore between the pipes.
After Cornell called for time with under a minute remaining, the Big Red opted for the six-man attack, pulling Slebodnick as play resumed. Mary Parker made them pay with a wrist shot up the ice after a pass from Sarah Edney. Parker's seventh tally of the season gave the Crimson its first empty netter of the year and moved the final score to 3-1 in favor of the Crimson.
Now owning sole possession of first place in the ECAC, Harvard returns to the ice in the comforts of Bright-Landry Hockey Center in a week's time as Rensselaer and Union will pay visits on Friday and Saturday, respectively.