Women's hockey splits week against Harvard and Vermont

| 11/29/09 11:00pm
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11.30.09.sports.wHockey1
by Akikazu Onda and Akikazu Onda / The Dartmouth

Breaking a two-game winning streak, the Dartmouth women's hockey team split the long weekend with a loss to No. 10 Harvard on Wednesday and a win over the University of Vermont on Saturday.

The Crimson spoiled the Big Green's holiday cheer with a tip-in late in the third period to take a slim 3-2 victory. Dartmouth (5-4-1, 4-4-1 ECAC Hockey) rebounded three days later against University of Vermont (5-8-1, 1-5-1 Hockey East), as the team collected four goals in the opening period and fended off an offensive surge in the last few minutes of play to win, 4-3.

Co-captain Jenna Cunningham '10 said that the weekend highlighted the finesse of both the offense and defense.

Both Big Green goalies made crucial saves in their respective matches and the offense constantly threatened Harvard's (6-3-1, 6-3-0 ECAC Hockey) claim to the lead by keeping pressure on the Crimson goalkeeper, Christina Kessler.

With four minutes remaining in the nail-biting game on Wednesday, Dartmouth goaltender Mariel Lacina '10 blocked a slapshot on the net with her right pad. The puck ricocheted to Harvard's Liza Ryabkina, who collected the rebound and chipped it past the goal line for the eventual game-winner.

"Overall, our game against Harvard was great," Cunningham said. "Both teams competed hard, and it could have gone either way. I think it was the most complete game we have played."

The small margin reflected the back-and-forth struggle seen throughout the first two periods of the game, as the main action remained fixed in the neutral zone.

Although Dartmouth prevented a Crimson shot on goal until the 14th minute of play, Harvard's Jillian Dempsey broke open the scoring, clipping the puck between Lacina's pads.

Unfazed, Jenna Hobeika '12 quickly responded as she sent the puck trickling past the goal line only one minute later, evening the score at 1-1.

After Katie Horner '12 was whistled for interference two minutes into the second period, the Crimson power play unit took a little more than 15 seconds to put Harvard back on top with a clean-up goal by Josephine Pucci.

Sally Komarek '13 collected both her first collegiate goal and the equalizer for Dartmouth three minutes later.

Cunningham fired a shot that was blocked by Kessler, but Komarek scooped up the rebound and slipped the puck past the Crimson netminder low to the blocker side.

While Dartmouth dominated the first frame with 11 shots to Harvard's two, the Crimson outshot the Big Green, 18-4, in the final period to even the shots at 29.

Despite the last-minute defeat, the Big Green regrouped as the team traveled to Burlington, Vt., to take on the Catamounts in a non-conference matchup.

An excess of penalties in the final frame gave Vermont ample opportunities to score, yet Whitney Woodcox '13 denied three shots in the final seconds of the game Saturday to keep Dartmouth on top.

"You can't control the referees, but we got ourselves into a bit of penalty trouble against UVM," Cunningham said. "We were fortunate enough to hold onto the win."

With less than a minute and a half until the final buzzer, Dartmouth found itself at a six-on-three disadvantage with two in the box and an empty net.

It took Vermont's Celeste Doucet only four seconds to redirect a rebound into the net, trimming the Catamount's deficit to one.

With an extra skater still in play, Vermont then unleashed an offensive onslaught in the final seconds of the match.

Woodcox kept her cool as she gloved down and covered serveral shots to keep the score at 4-3.

The relatively even play of the final period contrasted the Big Green's command in the opening frame.

Co-captain Sarah Parsons '10 connected with Margaux Sharp '13 and drove the puck in between Vermont goalie Kristen Olychuck's pads to take the lead for Dartmouth.

Vermont answered three minutes later as Chelsea Furlani's strike grazed Woodcox's glove for the equalizer.

Amanda Trunzo '11 and Parsons teamed up in the final five minutes of the first period to collect a final pair of points.

On a power play, Parsons put Dartmouth on top with a wrist shot that squeezed through the scrum in front of the Catamount net. Sasha Nanji '13 fired a quick shot on net as Trunzo picked up the rebound and extended Dartmouth's advantage to 3-1 just 21 seconds later.

Cunningham then slipped a rebound past Olychuck in the last minute of the first period on a power play opportunity to put Dartmouth up 4-1 by the first intermission.

The Big Green's penalty woes began in the second, as Sharp and Alyssa Boehm were both sent to the box in the first three minutes.

Although the Big Green handled Vermont's advantage, Dartmouth's strong start began leveling off in the second period as Vermont's Erin Barley-Maloney cut the Catamount's deficit in half.

Despite the added pressure in the final two periods, Cunningham said that Dartmouth handled the situation efficiently.

In the future, Cunningham said, the team will look to limit the number of power play opportunities given to opponents.

"The penalty kill did well fighting off the penalties for the most part, and we just have to stay away from taking unnecessary penalties," she said.

Following a two-week break for finals, Dartmouth gets back in action with a matchup against the University of New Hampshire at home on Dec. 12.