BOSTON, Mass. — Harvard coach Katey Stone has always told her players that they need to outhustle every opponent in every position to win. They came as close as ever to that ideal against No. 6 St. Lawrence on Friday night.
Riding the momentum of seven unanswered goals to close out a 7-3 win over No. 9 Brown on Tuesday, the No. 4 Crimson (5-1-1, 5-1 ECACHL) scored five more unanswered goals to lead off a 5-1 win over the Saints (7-2-2, 0-1).
Much like the win on Tuesday, the Crimson took time to get going offensively. Harvard led 1-0 after a period and 2-0 deep into the third, but once the Crimson forwards found their grove, they could not be stopped. For the second straight game, tri-captain Nicole Corriero finished with a hat trick with much help from linemates Julie Chu and Sarah Vaillancourt. Corriero’s goal put her over the century mark for her career.
The Crimson extended its unbeaten streak against St. Lawrence to 8-0-2, its longest against any ECAC opponents since the 39-game win streak against Yale was snapped.
The game was never in doubt because Harvard so thoroughly dominated puck possession throughout the game. As a result, St. Lawrence was outshot 29-8 after two periods and 36-16 for the game.
“They were better prepared in all aspects of the game,” said St. Lawrence coach Paul Flanagan. “They physically dominated us, I thought. Any opportunity, it didn’t matter where it was, they beat us to loose pucks. There were times when they manhandled us when we had the puck, and they took it right away from us. That’s a physical statement that they wanted it more.”
Harvard’s first goal was a testament to quick puck movement as sophomore Katie Johnston worked back to defenseman Ashley Banfield, who fed sophomore Liza Solley for a one-timer. St. Lawrence goaltender Jess Moffatt failed to square herself to the puck, and the result was 1-0 Crimson lead.
“We’ve been practicing that feed across all day,” Solley said. “We’ve been working on the one-timer, and it just came together today.”
Corriero’s first two goals bore a startling resemblance to some of her goals from the Brown game. On the first, Vaillancourt fed her for a back-door finish at the crease, and on the second Vaillancourt fed her at the crease from behind the net. Corriero said it was no coincidence that the goals looked similar because these were ideal situations the team had practiced. The tricky part was getting into those situations and finding space around the net.
“When we’re keeping our feet moving down low and cycling the puck, then it creates a lot of open spaces,” Corriero said. “Julie and Sarah just see the ice so well they can find those seams really quickly and just hit those passes, and it just makes a huge difference.”
Corriero completed the hat trick when she deflected a shot from the point high over Moffatt for the 4-0 lead. The goal put Corriero ahead of Angie Francisco for fifth on the school’s all-time scoring list. Previously, Harvard’s top five all-time scorers had been the members of the 1999 national championship team’s first power play unit. Now Corriero is in elite company.
“Nicole’s worked hard and she’s done a great job, and she deserves every bit of praise possible,” said Harvard coach Katey Stone. “She’s earned every one of those goals. Thank god she’s gotten them for us.”
Harvard senior Ali Crum, who played on the fourth line tonight, put in her own rebound with just over six minutes left for a 5-0 lead. Crum’s effort was one of many the Stone cited as exemplary, up there with Corriero’s efforts to keep puck in the zone on her third goal, Chu’s ability to dig the puck out of the corners, and the team’s backchecking efforts across the board.
“Some of our players were very talented, but they don’t understand the sense of urgency sometimes and how hard you have to work,” Stone said. “That’s what we’re trying to tell them. It’s not about talent. It’s about work ethic.”
St. Lawrence finally found the net with two minutes left when sophomore Chelsea Grills scored on the power play after being allowed to break all alone into the zone.
“I think our team was determined, if anything, when it was 5-0 with a few minutes to go to break the shutout,” Flanagan said. “The kids never gave up, and that was a positive.”
Another positive for the Saints was the play of Moffat. Her numbers, 31 saves on 36 shots, weren’t spectacular, but she kept the game close early on. In the first period, she came across the net for a pad save on a one-timer at the crease from junior Jennifer Raimondi.
“You’re used to seeing Rachel Barrie for four years and having her stone us like crazy and have us working really hard to get a goal,” Stone said. “This kid was great. I applaud her effort.”
Flanagan chalked this game up as another learning experience and takes his team to No. 9 Brown tomorrow in the USCHO Women’s Game of the Week at 4 p.m.. Harvard hosts Clarkson in the first ever meeting between the schools at 6 p.m.