Harvard cruised by Quinnipiac for the fourth time this season to reach the Frozen Four. (Photo: Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's hockey team will make its return to the Frozen Four this year as the third-seeded Crimson (26-5-3) stormed past the Quinnipiac Bobcats (26-9-3), 5-0, on Saturday in the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Harvard will make its sixth appearance in the Frozen Four, first since 2008.
Harvard's opponent on March 20 in the University of Minnesota's Ridder Arena will be a familiar one in No. 2-seed Boston College. This will be the third match-up of the year and a rematch of the thrilling 2015 Beanpot Championship in February.
Five different Crimson found the back of the net on Saturday, while Crimson netminder Emerance Maschmeyer was a stone wall, turning aside all 20 shots she faced to preserve the victory. Abbey Frazer (1-1—2), Karly Heffernan (1-1—2) and Lexie Laing (0-2—2) all turned in multi-point efforts, while Samantha Reber, Haley Mullins and Sydney Daniels lit the lamp as well.
The Crimson solved one of the nation's top goaltenders in Chelsea Laden, sending in three goals on 13 shots as she was dispelled after 24 minutes of service. Harvard scored twice on 10 shots on Laden's goalie partner, Sydney Rossman, who came on in relief in the second period.
Things started quickly for the host Harvard as Frazer took care of a big-time rebound. After Laing won her faceoff in the offensive zone, Briana Mastel fired in a quick shot from near the point, but it bounced square off Laden's pads. But the puck traversed the ice back to the left point, right where Frazer stood for a deep shot, which snuck just past Laden moving across the crease.
Just around four minutes later, the Harvard youth was at it again. After intercepting a pass in the QU zone, Heffernan fed back to Mullins near the faceoff circle. Mullins ripped a shot that beat Laden high to quickly give Harvard a 2-0 lead midway through the first.
Into the second frame, Samantha Reber, a co-captain and one of two Minnesota natives on the roster, extended the lead to 3-0. Miye D'Oench found Marissa Gedman at the point with clear daylight in front of her. Gedman fired on target, but it directed off Mary Parker's stick, right to Reber. Reber made one move and sent a low shot just under Laden's pads, five-hole, that scooted in off the goaltender's skate, into the back of the net, giving Harvard its 3-0 advantage.
After QU kept the pressure up, Maschmeyer was equal to the task, keeping the Bobcats off the board as the period came to a close. Just 2:42 into the final frame, Daniels connected on a power play – the Crimson's first opportunity of the night on the nation's least penalized team. Lyndsey Fry and Frazer worked together along the boards, until Frazer found Daniels screeching through the slot. Daniels received the cross-ice pass and caromed it past Rossman to make it 4-0.
At the 12:00 mark, Heffernan all but put things away for the Crimson with a slick move to wrap around the net after scooping up a Laing shot. Heffernan weaved her way across the slot and eventually sniped one through traffic and past Rossman's shoulder to make things official.
Harvard and Boston College will face off March 20 in Ridder Arena, each bidding to play the winner of Minnesota-Wisconsin in the National Championship game on March 22.