Nov. 29, 2008


Courtesy of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Sarah Vaillancourt tallied a short-handed goal and Kathryn Farni scored on the power play, but No. 9 Harvard women’s hockey team dropped its second straight game at No. 2 Minnesota, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at Ridder Arena.  

Christina Kessler made 25 saves for Harvard (4-4-2), while Jenny Lura had 20 stops for Minnesota (13-2-1).  The Crimson, which donned new black jerseys, finished 1-of-8 on the power play, while the Gophers capitalized on two of its seven chances with an extra skater.  

The Gophers had the best early chance nine minutes into the action when Monique Lamoureux skated with the puck through the neutral zone and around two Crimson defenders.  Lamoureux moved from right to left into the left circle and headed towards the crease.  She tried to force the puck inside the right post, but Kessler made the save with her pads.  

Three minutes later Emily West put a shot on net from the right side, but Kessler stopped that puck as well as a quick rebound attempt from in front by Jen Schoullis.

After Harvard was called for interference at 13:05, Minnesota set up shop in the Crimson zone.  Late in the power play, the Crimson tried to poke check away the puck, but the Brittany Francis got it right back and snuck it past Kessler for the game’s first goal at 14:40.

Each team was penalized twice in the first period with Minnesota scoring the one power-play goal.  The Gophers also led in shots, 11-6.

The Crimson earned an early power play in the second, but could not score.  Immediately after her penalty expired, Minnesota’s Anne Schleper came out of the box and grabbed the puck by the Harvard blue line.  She skated in towards Kessler from the left boards, but the Crimson netminder made the save on the breakaway.

At 12:40 of the second period, Minnesota managed a 2-on-0 chance on a power play, but Kessler was up to the task.  First, the goaltender stopped a shot by West and then pushed aside a shot by Francis.  Schoullis, following the play for Minnesota, put another rebound shot on goal, but Kessler made the save on that chance as well.  The Gophers kept trying to stuff the puck home and Francis ripped a shot that clanged off the left post before the Crimson cleared.  With the Crimson still down a skater, Vaillancourt took possession and immediately sprinted down the ice on a breakaway of her own.  She faked left and then slid the puck under Lura’s left skate to knot the game with her fifth goal of the season at 13:09.

Heading into the second intermission, Minnesota held a 23-16 advantage in shots, including a 12-10 margin in the second frame.  

The Gophers took a 2-1 lead at 2:43 of the third on a power-play goal by Rachael Drazan.  Lura earned a secondary assist on the play after passing the puck to West, who slid it directly to Drazan.

With 10:56 to play, Harvard earned a five-minute power play after Drazan was given a major penalty for checking from behind.  Two minutes into the 5-on-4 chance, the Gophers were called for another penalty, giving the Crimson a two-skater advantage.  The 5-on-3 chance was short lived, however, as Harvard was whistled for holding only 12 seconds later.  Harvard though kept its initial power play and tied the game for the second time on a slap shot by Farni at 12:21.  Cori Bassett was credited with an assist on Farni’s tally.  

Minnesota regained the lead on an even-strength score by Schoullis at 14:35, as she batted the puck out of the air and behind Kessler.  Francis and Michelle Maunu collected assists as the Gophers went ahead, 3-2.

The Gophers were called for a penalty for holding in the final minute, giving the Crimson a power play for the final 57 seconds of regulation.  Vaillancourt managed a shot after winning the ensuing faceoff, but Harvard could not find the equalizer before time expired.

Harvard outshot Minnesota, 6-5, in the final 20 minutes and won 12 of 20 faceoffs in the period, but the Gophers held the final count in shots, 28-22.

Up next, the Crimson will skate at New Hampshire Friday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.