Women’s hockey opens season with 7-4 home loss to Harvard
Women’s hockey lost 7-4 to Harvard on Saturday but saw three goals from freshmen, including forward Catherine Trevors.
The women’s hockey team fell in its season opener to Eastern College Athletic Conference and Ivy League rival Harvard University on Friday. The Big Green relinquished three goals in the first eight minutes of play and were never able to even the score in an eventual 7-4 defeat.
Harvard came out of the gates on the attack, scoring less than two minutes into the first period and adding two breakaway goals shortly after. In total, three of Harvard’s first five shots on goal found the back of the net.
The Big Green shifted the momentum with a penalty kill midway through the first period and continued to battle heading into the second period. The team made some key adjustments at the intermission which allowed them to generate opportunities on offense.
“We decided that we needed to get pucks deep, needed to get pucks on the net, and I think that our shots increased a ton, and obviously that led to a lot of goals in our favor” said alternate captain and defender Bailee Brekke ’20.
Dartmouth finally capitalized on its many scoring chances with a goal by forward Catherine Trevors ’23 on the team’s 14th shot on goal. Forward Jennifer Costa ’21 followed up with another goal just three minutes later to bring the Big Green within one, but Harvard scored again to extend their lead to 4-2 heading into the break.
Dartmouth came out on the offensive again to start the third period, as forward Currie Putrah ’23 snuck one around the post just over a minute after the intermission. This was the closest the Big Green would get, however, as Harvard scored twice more to put the game out of reach. Both teams added another goal in the final minute, with Dartmouth’s coming off the stick of yet another freshman, this time forward CC Bowlby ’23.
The Big Green received a lot of help from its rookies, as three of the team’s four goals were scored by freshmen. Bowlby and Trevors both earned two points with a goal and an assist each. This was an encouraging sign for a team with six freshmen compared to just three seniors on the roster.
“The freshmen have been fitting in really well; as you can see by this past game they’ve been contributing so much, they’ve been contributing in the locker room as well, they fit in great with the team,” said captain and forward Christina Rombaut ’20.
“Having the freshmen feel that they are a crucial part of the team, I think that’s the key component,” Brekke added.
A point of emphasis for the Big Green moving forward will be improving on defense. The team allowed 28 shots on goal, forcing goalie Hannah Humphreys ’23 to make plays throughout her career debut. Despite a rough start in which she relinquished three early goals, Humphreys made some crucial stops that allowed the Big Green to get back in the contest. She finished the game with 21 saves.
“We need to close harder and quicker, and just be stronger on our puck clears; we have to not give up as many shots as we gave up,” said head coach Laura Schuler.
Another area of focus for the team will be avoiding early deficits like they faced on Friday night.
“What we need to improve on is starting strong; we had a little bit of a slow start, took a little while for our feet to get under us,” Rombaut said. “So just working on coming to the rink ready to play and starting right from the get-go.”
Despite the loss, the team showed big signs of improvement compared to its last exhibition game, a 6-0 defeat at the hands of McGill University on Oct. 13.
“We did a significantly better job of closing quicker [than against McGill], and not giving Harvard as much time and space,” Schuler said.
The Big Green is looking to put a disappointing 2018-19 campaign behind them. Dartmouth finished with a record of 5-21-3 and placed 10th out of 12 teams in the ECAC. The top eight teams in the conference qualify for the playoffs, a mark the team has its eyes set on this year, but has not reached since the 2014-15 season.
“We want to become a winning program again; ultimately, we want to make playoffs,” Schuler said.
In order to claim a spot in the playoffs, however, Dartmouth will need to overcome tough competition. Five ECAC rivals finished in the top 15 in the nation in last year’s NCAA rankings: No. 4 Clarkson University, No. 6 Cornell University, No. 7 Princeton University, No. 11 Colgate University and No. 14 St. Lawrence University.
Although the Big Green was unable to add any points to the conference standings on Friday, the team is confident moving forward.
“We are in pretty high spirits,” Brekke said.
The team will look to turn its improving play and confidence into positive results during a busy week on the schedule. The Big Green travels to Burlington to face off against the University of Vermont on Tuesday, before playing returning home to face Yale University and Brown University in back-to-back conference games on Friday and Saturday, respectively.