Dartmouth Finally Loses in Wacky First Week
So the Y2K bug didn’t arrive a year late, and Florida hasn’t seceded from the Union since the recount ended a month ago. But that didn’t mean the world of women’s hockey didn’t have a few surprises in the first week of 2001.
The most shocking news was that No. 1 Dartmouth (10-1-1) no longer has a chance at an unbeaten season. That’s because the Big Green fell to No. 5 Northeastern (11-3-0) at Matthews Arena last Friday.
Dartmouth fell prey to Northeastern goaltender Erika Silva, who stopped 40 shots en route to her fourth shutout of the season. Silva, who has .935 save percentage and a 2.04 GAA, is one of the most experienced netminders in the nation.
“Erika possesses extreme confidence in her ability and competes like no one I have ever coached,” said Northeastern coach Joy Woog. “She is technically sound and mentally tough. She is an extremely focused and intense competitor, willing to work hard every day with a ‘never say die’ attitude. She’s the real deal.”
But No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth (14-4-1) brought Northeastern down to earth (which is pretty cold in Duluth this time of year) when the Huskies traveled to UMD for two games immediately after beating Dartmouth. Silva kept Northeastern close on Sunday, stopping 36 Bulldog shots in a 3-2 loss. But she ran out of steam between the pipes on Monday when she allowed six goals to the country’s highest-scoring offense in less than 30 minutes as UMD steamrolled Northeastern, 12-0.
The schedule does not lighten up for Northeastern, which plays No. 6 Harvard (9-6-0) and No. 7 Brown (7-3-3) on the road this weekend. Brown, which was just 1-2-2 between Thanksgiving and Christmas, combined for 83 shots against Cornell and No. 3 St. Lawrence last weekend. Add the Bears’ improving offense to the steady goaltending of sophomore Pam Dreyer and Brown will be a challenge for Silva and the Huskies, as well as Providence — Northeastern’s travel partner — and rookie goaltender Amy Quinlan.
Silva and Quinlan should also see plenty of pucks from Harvard, which pelted Cornell and St. Lawrence with 75 shots in as the Crimson went 1-1 last weekend. But other than a strong third period against Cornell, Harvard was held to four goals by the Saints and the Big Red, which allowed Cornell to lead after two periods and St. Lawrence to win at Bright Hockey Center, 3-2.
St. Lawrence also managed a tie at Brown. In eight games against ranked conference opponents, the Saints have lost just once. That defeat was at home against Harvard, which made St. Lawrence’s victory in Cambridge even more important to the young team’s maturing process.
“We’re still getting over the hurdle of recognizing that we’re expected to beat good teams on the road,” said St. Lawrence coach Paul Flanagan. “We were nervous playing a team like Harvard and we showed it in the first period. But we settled down, made some adjustments and got the breaks we needed to win the game.”
The Saints travel to Princeton and Yale this weekend.