BOSTON — This time against Clarkson, Harvard made sure no dramatic last-minute goals would be necessary. A gritty 1-0 win sufficed.
Harvard (15-11-4) had been down two goals at the first intermission in both regular season meetings against Clarkson (21-13-1), including last Saturday’s dramatic come-from-behind overtime win, but the Crimson owned the first period on this night. Harvard produced a 21-6 shot advantage and junior Jennifer Sifers scored the game’s only goal at the 6:36 mark.
Crimson senior goalie Ali Boe stopped 24 shots for her school-record 17th shutout.
“I basically just try to make sure to stop the first shot, send it to the corner and get going from there,” Boe said. “It was a little easier for us having just seen Clarkson last weekend, but the key for us was getting the lead early, which allowed us to settle down, not grip our sticks so tight and just play our game.”
Sifers’ goal came on a wrist shot from the right circle that Clarkson goaltender Kira Hurley appeared to handle. But the puck squirted between Hurley’s pads and trickled over the goal line for Sifers’ eighth goal of the year.
Hurley kept Clarkson in the game through the first period, denying the Crimson on three power plays — including a two-man advantage — in the first 20 minutes.
Clarkson outshot Harvard 28-12 over the last two periods as the Crimson became too passive for its own good.
“Keep going forward and attacking,” said Harvard coach Katey Stone with regards to what the team needed to do better tomorrow. “We’re not doing any prevent defense, none of that mentality at all.”
Stone would have also preferred that Harvard avoided the two penalties in each of the last two periods, although there was no harm done.
“We need to stay out of the box,” Stone Said. “A couple of the penalties were from a lack of skating. Staying out of the box is the best penalty kill in the country.”
It was Boe’s 12th career playoff win and her second career postseason shutout. Harvard improved to 12-2-2 when scoring the first goal of a game this season, 10-1-1 when leading after the first period, and 12-0-0 when leading after two.
The win was Harvard’s ninth straight in the ECACHL tournament, dating to 2004, and it gives the fourth-seeded Crimson a chance to eliminate the fifth-seeded Golden Knights Saturday in the second game of the ECACHL quarterfinal series. Game Two will be played at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Harvard is still seeking the elusive 60-minute effort.
“We need to play three periods tomorrow like we played the first one tonight,” said Stone.