MINNEAPOLIS — Sunday’s matchup between No. 1 seed Dartmouth and No. 3 seed Harvard had all the ingredients for a great championship game: teams with a contrast in styles, a heated rivalry and a score to settle.
Too bad it was just for third place.
“It was typical for Harvard-Dartmouth,” said Dartmouth coach Judy Parish Oberting. “It was a great back-and-forth game and the fans got to see two of the best teams in the country put on a show. It was nice to end with such a well-played game, but it’s hard to overcome the disappointment of not winning the national championship.”
The Crimson (24-10-0) held off the Big Green (26-5-1) in the consolation game at Mariucci Arena, 3-2. Dartmouth, which was No. 1 in USCHO.com’s poll for most of the year, was 0-2 at the inaugural women’s Frozen Four, while Harvard finished 1-1.
The Big Green, normally a defensive-minded squad, outshot the high-flying Crimson, 30-25, but Harvard rookie netminder Jessica Ruddock stopped the puck 28 times for the win. At the other end of the ice, the Crimson looked to new and old faces to get the job done — but along the way Harvard center Jennifer Botterill, who won the Patty Kazmaier Award on Saturday, was unable to record a point for the first time in her outstanding career, stopping her scoring streak at 83 games.
Instead, the Crimson looked to a pair of underclassmen to score the game-winner with four minutes left in the second period. Skating down the right wing on a two-on-one break, rookie winger Lauren McAuliffe found sophomore Kalen Ingram streaking through the slot. Ingram deked Dartmouth netminder Meaghan Cahill, playing in her final game, before backhanding the puck into the net. It was Ingram’s second goal of the game.
The Big Green had tied it earlier in the period on a score by sophomore winger Carly Haggard, with a flurry of green jerseys crashing the net. Dartmouth’s other goal was a breakaway that started with a two-line pass from winger Jennifer Wiehn to her co-captain and linemate, Kristina Guarino. Ahead of both Crimson defensemen, Guarino raced across the blue line and beat Harvard goaltender Jessica Ruddock to the far side.
Harvard’s two first-period goals came from Ingram (a putback of an open rebound in the crease) and senior winger Tammy Shewchuk, just a minute into the contest.
Although the third period was a scoreless frame, the action was furious. Dartmouth had the edge in shots on goal, 11-6, but Ruddock refused to give the Big Green the equalizer. At the other end. Harvard failed to score an empty-netter when Oberting pulled Cahill with 1:11 left in regulation.
“Even though we lost, it felt good to finally have a well-played period,” Guarino said. “We came out flat in the first period, but the end of the game was as competitive as it always is when we play Harvard.”
The Harvard victory evens the season series at 2-2. Dartmouth beat Harvard last weekend in the ECAC Tournament championship game.
No. 2 seed Minnesota-Duluth will take on No. 4 seed St. Lawrence in the title game at 5 p.m.