BOSTON, Mass. — The 1,209 in attendance for Harvard’s 7-1 win over Vermont on Saturday got to see two celebrations for the price of one. The first was the regularly scheduled senior day festivities. The second was one that seemed improbable just a few months before.
After the game the No. 6 Crimson (20-6-3, 17-1-2 ECACHL) was presented the trophy for the outright ECACHL regular season championship. Going into winter break, Harvard was just 7-6-1, but an undefeated 2005 thus far has turned the season around. Now Harvard hopes it’s on the right track to earn a bigger trophy over the next two weeks and a plaque at the end of March.
Said tri-captain Nicole Corriero: “Last year we didn’t face as many challenges because we were blowing out so many teams. This year we lost so many games in the beginning of the season, and now we have this momentum, and we’re not afraid to lose it and make mistakes. That’s the important thing going into these big games, to be confident in yourself and your teammates.”
In the win, Corriero scored two goals–Harvard’s first at 19:39 of the first period and its third at 5:21 of the second period. She raised her season total to 49, just two short of the collegiate single-season record of 51.
“She’s gotten better every single year and that’s the reason why she still figures out how to score goals,” said Harvard coach Katey Stone. “People are laying body after body on her, and she still finds a way to get to the net.”
The game’s highlight, according to Stone, was senior Ali Crum scoring a goal from fellow senior Sarah Holbrook in the final minute of the second period. Both have been role players on Harvard’s fourth line this season.
“They’ve been really great teammates,” Stone said. “They’ve come to work everyday and done everything we’ve asked them to do. They’ve played their role, and they’ve done it with a smile on their face and a jump in their step.”
The other seniors aside from Corriero, Crum and Holbrook were tri-captain Kat Sweet and senior Ashley Banfield. Sweet has fulfilled a variety of roles for the Crimson, whether it was playing on the top line early in 2002-03 or scoring the first goal of the 2004 NCAA final with the second power play unit. Banfield has emerged as one of the best all-around defenseman in the game, and she’s now second nationally in scoring among defensemen.
“Four years have gone by so quickly and it’s been amazing,” Banfield said. “It was really hard just to see this last game, but we went out with a bang.”
For the Catamounts, this was their last game of ECACHL play before joining Hockey East. Vermont captain Kami Cote, the team’s star goalie, made 46 saves in her curtain call.
Harvard advances to the ECACHL playoffs and hosts Clarkson in a best-of-three series next week.