The Crimson was shutout for the first time in three years on Saturday. (Harvard Athletics)
PRINCETON, N.J. – Despite a furious rally attempt in the waning minutes of the third period, the No. 4/4 Harvard women's hockey team was upended by Princeton, 1-0, on Saturday in Hobey Baker Rink. The Crimson drops to 14-4-2 (12-3-1 ECAC) with the loss, while the Tigers move to 11-10-2 (9-6-1 ECAC) after a 1-0-1 weekend.
Earning her seventh nod of the year, sophomore Brianna Laing played exceptionally well in net, turning aside 20 shots over the three frames. The only difference was a tough PU score midway through the opening stanza. Harvard outshot Princeton on the night, 32-21, including 17-5 in the third period alone. Josephine Pucci, Lexie Laing, and Sydney Daniels all sent four shots on target in the effort. For the Tigers, Kimberly Newell stopped all 32 shots she faced to keep the Crimson at bay to earn the win.
The Crimson continued its dominating performance on the penalty kill, however, nullifying all five Princeton power plays on the evening, including a 4-on-3 and 5-on-4 in the same strretch of the second. Through 21 games, the Crimson is 86.5-percent on the kill, having fended off 36-of-38 penalties over the last 14 contests.
Molly Contini's goal at the 8:26 mark in the first ended up being the difference to the game in the tightly contested battle. After Hillary Lloyd made a pass up the center of the ice to Kelsey Koelzer, Koelzer shifted things left where Lloyd sent a quick shot just barely out of the reach of Laing's glove for the score.
As time wore on, the track-meet of a game continued, not without its fair share of physical play and penalties, however. The two squads combined for nine infractions on the day.
Into the third period, the Crimson continued to press, firing 17 shots on frame. Time and again, however, Newell was there equal to the challenge. After one of Mary Parker's shots hit the crossbar in the second, she nearly connected again in the final period late, but was halted just in the nick of time. Daniels, Laing and Karly Heffernan all had prime shots midway through the period, but none could find the back of the net, eventually falling to the Tigers, 1-0.
Harvard has little time to sit on the loss, however, with a quick turnaround week. The Crimson is set to host the 37th Annual Beanpot starting on Tuesday with a showdown with Boston University at 8 p.m. on ESPN3 and the Ivy League Digital Network.