Numbers to Know:
Record: 9-12-2 (7-9-2 ECAC)
Goals For: 2.48 per game
Goals Against: 2.70 per game
Save Percentage: .910 (91.0 percent)
Power Play: 15-of-80 (18.8 percent)
Penalty Kill: 75-of-90 (83.3 percent)
It has been a trying year for Harvard women’s ice hockey. It raced out of the gate, starting 9-4-1. Harvard scored 3.2 goals per game during that stretch, looking like a dynamic offensive threat every time it crossed the opposing blue line. After a disastrous 2016-17 campaign, it looked like head coach Katey Stone made the necessary offseason adjustments to return the Crimson to the NCAA tournament for the first time since its Frozen Four run in 2015.
Then, disaster struck. Harvard lost its next seven contests, a midseason swoon rivaling the unexplainable 0-13-2 stretch that set its season off the rails last year. The Crimson need to find a way to reignite its offense, since they averaged 1.57 goals per game during this seven-game plunge. The offense came alive in a losing streak-snapping 6-1 victory over Brown. Harvard needs to ride the momentum of the win into the decisive final regular season month of February. A tall task is ahead of it, as the Crimson find themselves tied for seventh in the ECAC standings. A solid showing in the Beanpot could mean that the Crimson have put it together just in time for the ECAC Tournament.
Players to Watch:
1) Kat Hughes
She leads Harvard with 10 goals. The forward out of New York will have to try to facilitate offense for a squad that only averages 2.48 goals a game.
2) Becca Gilmore
The skilled freshman has 20 points, including an impressive 13 assists, both of which lead the Crimson. Look for Harvard to try to get her the puck, because she is an elite passer that can create opportunities for her teammates.
3) The Goalie Competition
After seven-straight losses, Becky Dutton started in place of Beth Larcom and delivered with 19 saves in a much-needed win against Brown. Will the freshman goalie start in the Beanpot, or will Stone opt for Larcom’s experience? It is an interesting conundrum because Dutton has performed pretty well in her three starts, but the small sample size raises obvious concerns. Stone could be hoping that Larcom returns to the ice motivated after her benching—she needs to improve on her less than ideal .900 save percentage.
Harvard lost to Northeastern in the first round, 4-1, in 2017. But, a week later, the Crimson’s offense bounced back, logging six goals against Boston University. Unfortunately for Harvard, the Terriers were there every step of the way, resulting in a 6-6 tie—the highest scoring Beanpot consolation game since 1999.
All-Time Beanpot Record: 48-28
Beanpot Championships: 14
Harvard’s goalie play delivers and helps the Crimson win the Beanpot along with its crucial remaining conference games. If this happens, Harvard will be a tough draw in the ECAC tournament and will resemble the team that started the season more than the one of recent vintage.
Harvard loses by a wide margin to BU and proves that the win against Brown is not a sign of positive things to come. It stumbles down the stretch, exits early in the ECAC tournament, and heads into the offseason with plenty of questions that need to be addressed heading into the 2018-19 campaign.