HAMDEN, Conn. — Two late-period goals and a 30-save shutout effort from Laura Bellamy led the way in Harvard’s 2-0 win against Quinnipiac.
Tonight was the first regular-season game of the year for the Crimson after last season’s 2-1 overtime loss to St. Lawrence in the ECAC semifinals.
“We’ve all worked so hard over the offseason and we came ready to play tonight,” Bellamy said. “We work harder in the offseason than we do at any other point. We don’t take any days off. A lot people came into this year and said our defense is inexperienced, but they came in tonight and looked like veterans. They helped me a lot and I saw every puck really well.”
With 30 saves, ten in each period, Bellamy is certainly one of the key players for Harvard’s success this season.
“She is such a great leader and is just a rock back there,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “She was ready and she’s been prepared.”
Harvard took the 1-0 lead with 1:38 left in the first period on a Jillian Dempsey power-play goal.
With 1:55 left in the first period, Bellamy flashed her glove on point-blank wrister from Nicole Kosta and just nine seconds after, Amanda Colin went to the box on a tripping call.
Eight seconds into the advantage, Dempsey took the puck at the right point and traded passes with Mary Parker in the near corner. After dumping the puck to the corner, Dempsey streaked to the slot. Dempsey got the puck back and sniped a shot just under the cross bar in the right corner of the net for the 1-0 lead.
“I rolled off the wall and I had a lot of space,” said Dempsey. “It’s kind of nice because that’s something I practiced all Tuesday. I was missing the net a lot at practice, so it was nice to get that one in there tonight.”
Dempsey led the Crimson last season in power-play goals with nine. Dempsey shares the captain’s ‘C’ with Bellamy and both agreed that the conditioning over the summer is already paying off.
“We’ve been doing a lot of conditioning and been getting a lot of endurance so we have legs at the end of the period when other teams might be tired,” Dempsey said. “There’s nothing like getting a goal late in the period that carries the momentum over to the next period.”
Harvard extended its lead with just three seconds left in the middle frame on a net-front scramble. A centering feed found its way to the top of the crease where both teams collapsed on QU goaltender Victoria Vigilanti. A Harvard skater got knocked over and landed on top of Vigilanti as the puck came free in the crease. Harvard’s Hillary Crowe was there waiting and just tapped the puck into the gaping net.
“That’s a momentum changer for sure,” Stone said. “I thought Quinnipiac carried the second period, so it was real good to get that one in there and separate us a bit.”
The Bobcats pulled Vigilanti with 1:32 left in the third, but couldn’t climb out of the two-goal deficit.
“Outside of a few bad penalties and that shift at the end of the second period, I thought that was our best effort of the year,” Quinnipiac head coach Rick Seeley said.