DURHAM, N.H. — When Harvard coach Katey Stone was asked what made the difference in her team’s 4-3 win over New Hampshire on Friday night, she answered with the name of one player: Kalen Ingram.
“I know that sounds so simple, but she has been the difference for us,” Stone said.
Ingram scored three mirror-image, power-play goals and national goal-scoring leader Nicole Corriero added a fourth to give Harvard a 4-1 lead at the 7:38 mark of the third period, and the No. 10 Crimson (7-6-1) held on for the victory over the Wildcats (11-4-1).
On each of the three Ingram power-play goals, Crimson defenseman Pamela Van Reesema set her up in front from the left point. On the first goal, which came just 3:16 into the game, Van Reesema’s shot hung at the top of the crease, and as New Hampshire goaltender Jen Huggon moved out of position to play it, Ingram put it past her.
For the second goal at the 9:54 mark of the first, Harvard center Lauren McAuliffe got the initial deflection, but the puck came right back to Ingram as Huggon was out of the play, and Ingram calmly skated out of traffic and backhanded the puck into the open net.
Ingram completed the hat trick with a direct deflection 2:08 into the third period.
She was surprised that UNH left her so uncovered all night.
“They play a box, and they just stick to the box, and we recognized that,” Ingram said. “Normally I just play on the wing there, and I was coming in and no one would pick me up.”
Stone had heavy praise for Ingram’s performance. Ingram had scored just twice before Friday, but she had been among the nation’s best at setting up her teammates — most often Corriero — with 14 assists for the season.
“She gets better every single game,” Stone said. “She gives the younger kids the opportunity to get themselves going. I’ve said from the day she got here three years ago, she’s the smartest player I’ve ever had.”
Ingram, however, thought Harvard goaltender Alison Kuusisto deserved more credit for the victory than she did. The Crimson won the game despite being outshot 41-28.
“Our goalie kept us in there in the second period,” Ingram said. “We have a young team and sometimes it takes us a little longer to figure things out. She was the No. 1 star for us today.”
Despite falling behind 2-0 and 4-1, UNH stayed in the game. A major turning point came with 5:30 left in the second period, when Wildcat center Debbie Bernhard hit Corriero from behind, and Corriero, who had already been down on the ice, hit the rear boards head-first.
Corriero felt a twinge of pain in her neck and cried out, and then remained motionless on the ice for nearly five minutes. She would be back to play for the third period, and she sweetened her evening by scoring on a quick, deceptive wrister that snuck past Huggon inside the left post.
Bernhard received a game disqualification and Harvard was set to begin a five-minute power play. But Harvard wasted the opportunity when Crimson center Tracy Catlin was called for a hitting-from-behind minor penalty just 15 seconds later. The Wildcats then capitalized on the four-on-four with just under four minutes left in the period, as UNH winger Jaime VanMassenhove beat Kuusisto top-shelf on a breakaway. The Wildcats killed the rest of the penalty.
After struggling down the stretch of the second, the Crimson bounced back in the third as the Ingram and Corriero goals put Harvard up 4-1. UNH cut the deficit to two on a power play when UNH freshman winger Steph Jones found the net after winning a loose puck in traffic at the 9:25 mark, and winger Annie Fahlenbrock made the score 4-3 on a deflection that snuck inside the right post with 3:29 left in regulation.
UNH kept the pressure on in the final minutes, but couldn’t find the game-tying goal. Harvard was just as unlucky on its attempts for an insurance goal, as Corriero hit a post on an empty net, and a McAuliffe shot wide down the stretch.
Kay considered Friday’s game to be just as winnable as UNH’s defeats against Connecticut and Princeton in the past two weeks.
“I think we’re a better team than Harvard,” she said. “They took advantage of their opportunities and we didn’t, and that’s how it’s been the last two weeks. It’s hard to explain because we have people who are very skilled offensively.”
Kay was more pleased with Jones’ game than she had been in recent weeks since she moved Jones off the first line apart from team-leading scorer Kira Misikowetz. Kay said she switched up the lines because she believed the old first line had gone dry.
UNH will look to rebound against No. 5 St. Lawrence Saturday night. The Wildcats have no wins over teams in the current USCHO top 10.
“Everyone knows Christmas break will be a lot better if we win that game tomorrow night,” Kay said.
Harvard will play its last official game before a lengthy winter hiatus at Maine on Sunday.