Feb. 28, 2009


Courtesy of Harvard

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Liza Ryabkina netted two goals in the third period and Christina Kessler made 26 saves for her second shutout in two days to guide the seventh-ranked Harvard women’s hockey team to a 4-0 victory over Cornell in Game 2 of the ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series.  Sarah Vaillancourt handed out three assists, while Anna McDonald and Katharine Chute also tallied goals for the Crimson,

With the win, Harvard advances to the conference semifinals where it will serve as host for the remaining two rounds of the 26th ECAC Hockey women’s tournament.  The Crimson will play a yet to be determined opponent in the semifinal round March 7 at 1 or 4 p.m.

After being held to only three shots on goal in the first period, Harvard (19-9-3) dominated play in the second, outshooting Cornell, 15-4, in the frame.  Karlee Overguard was whistled for a hooking penalty at 1:43 of the second, setting up Harvard’s second power-play opportunity of the game.  After winning a faceoff in the Big Red zone, the Crimson swung the puck around the net, eventually reaching Sarah Vaillancourt’s stick on the left boards.  Vaillancourt battled two defenders before sliding the puck perfectly into the slot, finding Anna McDonald alone in front.  McDonald took the pass and sent a wrist shot past Cornell goaltender Amanda Mazzotta at 2:50.

Harvard had a few other quality scoring chances later in the second, including one off a rebound shot by Vaillancourt.  The senior forward slapped the puck from the left circle, but Mazzotta could not control it.  Katharine Chute picked up a long rebound and attempted another shot, which Mazzotta kicked aside.  In the final minutes of the period, Vaillancourt and Kate Buesser had a 2-on-1 chance, but Vaillancourt’s pass to Buesser from the right side bounced off her teammate’s stick and went wide of the net.

Through two periods of action, the Crimson held an 18-12 lead in shots and controlled faceoffs, 25-18.

The Crimson tallied its first of three goals in the third period on a score by Chute at 2:29.  Vaillancourt earned the primary assist after weaving through the defense and dumping a perfect pass to Chute, who was camped out at the left side of the crease.  Chute lifted the puck over Mazzotta, giving Harvard a 2-0 lead.

Ryabkina increased the Crimson’s advantage to 3-0 with 7:32 remaining in the frame, as her wrister from in front squirted through Mazzotta and trickled into the goal.  Amy Uber and Randi Griffin were credited with assists on the goal.

The Big Red (12-14-5) was called for tripping and delay of game penalties at 17:01 and 17:04, giving the Crimson a 5-on-3 power play for almost a full two minutes.  Harvard’s offense went right to work, putting several shots on net until Ryabkina poked home a rebound in front at 17:14, capping the scoring for the contest.

Harvard led the final count in shots, 31-26, and finished the game 2-of-7 on the power play, while holding Cornell scoreless on its six chances with an extra attacker.