NORTHFORD, Conn. — No. 1 St. Lawrence got two goals from sophomore Sabrina Harbec, including the game-winner, and another pair from freshman Marianna Locke, as the Saints kept their season-opening unbeaten streak rolling with a 5-1 victory over new ECACHL member Quinnipiac at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
“I thought they played real well,” Saints coach Paul Flanagan said of the Bobcats, as his own team improved to 9-0-1 (2-0-1 ECACHL) with the win. “They played tough, and they did what they had to do early on. I didn’t know what to expect. We were coming off of a big weekend, a pretty big high, beating Dartmouth and having that tie with Harvard. Our sixth road trip in seven weeks, I hoped we weren’t going to be flat, but I think overall, it was a good effort.”
“We’re looking at it as a positive,” said Quinnipiac head coach Michael Barrett, as the Bobcats fell to 4-6-2 (2-3-1 ECACHL) without the aid of several key players, including top rookie Hayley McMeekin. “We were very depleted, we played a very conservative forecheck, and we still managed 24 shots against the No. 1 team. We actually feel pretty good about the fact that we’ll have the opportunity to play them again down the road, and hopefully, we won’t be as depleted. As long as we don’t kill ourselves with penalties, we can compete with them.”
Harbec’s game-winner came on the power-play with 4:20 left in the first period. With the Saints already up 1-0 on freshman Carson Duggan’s deflection of an Annie Guay shot near the midway point of the opening frame, Harbec came in on a 3-on-2 with Duggan and Alison Domenico and wound up with the puck after some nifty tic-tac-toe passing, allowing her to beat Quinnipiac’s Connie Craig for the two-goal lead.
“It was a nice three-on-two,” Harbec said. “Nice play by both of my linemates. They made nice passes and I just had to put it in the net.”
The Bobcats cut the margin to 2-1 with 32 seconds left in the first period, as junior Vicky Graham sent the puck in from the corner, and sophomore Karrah Stephen was there to redirect the puck past the Saints’ Jessica Moffat and put Quinnipiac on the board.
While giving up a last-minute goal can often be a killer for team morale, Flanagan felt that Stephen’s tally had the opposite effect on the Saints.
“I think, if anything, it woke our kids up,” Flanagan said. “We’ve got to get back to basics in the zone. We’ll get our chances in the offensive zone, but let’s just make sure we play D.”
The Saints certainly had their chances in the second period – 21, to be exact – and freshman Marianna Locke made the most of hers, deflecting a redirection from Tracy Muzerall to make it 3-1 at 7:41, then putting home a rebound at 13:21.
The third period was much more controlled, with St. Lawrence holding a slim 9-7 shot advantage in the final frame, and Harbec’s second goal – a backhand of a loose rebound near the midway point – serving as the lone score.
Moffat finished with 23 saves, while Craig stopped 40 shots before being replaced by Janelle Wolitski, who stopped all three shots she faced.
St. Lawrence now moves on to Hobey Baker Rink to face No. 8 Princeton, fresh off of a 2-1 win over No. 9 Clarkson, while the Bobcats will welcome the Golden Knights to Northford. Both games start at 4 p.m.
Elliot Olshansky is an assistant editor for CSTV.com, and the “CSTV.com Rink Rat,” attending and covering over 65 men’s and women’s hockey games this season, with photos, audio interviews and analysis at http://slog.cstv.com/rinkrat.