Women’s Hockey: Dartmouth Has Minds, Hearts Elsewhere in Defeat
Harvard goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer drops the rebound of a Dartmouth shot Friday while Big Green forward Mackenzie St. Onge closes in. The Crimson won the ECAC and Ivy League contest, 4-1, at Thompson Arena. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »
Dartmouth College forward Catherine Berguis reaches for the puck Friday during the Crimson's 4-1 victory at Thompson Arena. Harvard defender Briana Mastel is at right. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — Playing with hearts on their helmets, the members of the Dartmouth College women’s team showed the same characteristic in their play Friday, despite a 4-1 loss to No. 5 Harvard. When the teams met in Boston on Dec. 1, the Crimson rolled to a 5-0 victory, but this time the result was much closer, the score notwithstanding.
After surrendering Friday’s opening goal in just the third minute and another tally seven minutes into the second stanza, the Big Green halved its deficit two minutes into the third period. Harvard struck for an empty-net goal with 32 seconds remaining, then scored again at even strength eight seconds later to improve to 18-3-3 overall and 14-2-2 in ECAC play.
“There were parts of the game where we played with a lot of energy and did some real good stuff … but boy, did we make a couple costly mistakes and it’s been killing us all year,” said Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak, whose team fell to 7-16-1 and 6-11-1. “You’re going to make some mistakes, but when you’re also struggling to score, then it ends up being a 3-1 or 4-1 game.
“I was upset with the fourth goal. (Harvard) scored that third goal and the kids, they quit.”
It was a draining week for Dartmouth’s players, who not only had to deal with midterms and hockey practice, but also the death of teammate Karlee Odland’s father, Kalvin. The 49-year-old was killed in a traffic accident Monday in his family’s native Alberta and the squad did its best to console their friend that night and the next morning.
The Big Green played Friday without Odland, who returned home to be with her family. Her No. 22 jersey hung behind the home bench and each of her teammates’ helmets bore a tiny, red heart-shaped sticker with the initials K.O. neatly printed in ink by injured forward Ailish Forfar.
“This week has probably been the hardest thing that could have happened to all of us,” said defenseman Morgan Illikainen. “Especially with this team this year, we’ve been so close and the hurt we feel for Karl is the saddest thing. This game tonight, we were doing it for Karl and her dad and we did the best we could.
“This tragedy is going to be with us for a while and we’re just going to go day to day and be there for each other and supporting Karl. It’s been great how close our hockey community has been and how we’ve all been able to stick together.”
Harvard’s first goal came on a simple centering play from the left boards to the crease. Its second occurred when a Crimson player walked out of the left corner into a completely unguarded slot and had ample time and space to beat Dartmouth goaltender Lindsay Holdcroft with a backhand shot.
The Big Green got on the scoreboard when freshman Kennedy Ottenbreit rushed the puck up the left wall and beat goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer high and inside the near post. It was a sniper’s tally, the type Dartmouth hasn’t often produced this winter.
“During our last two or three games, almost all our games came off rebounds or scrums and we’re going to have to do that more,” Hudak said. “We’re creating more scoring opportunities but we haven’t been finding the back of the net.”
Dartmouth is tied with Rensselaer for eighth place in the 12-team ECAC, which takes eight teams for its postseason tournament. The Big Green hosts fifth-place St. Lawrence and second-place Clarkson next weekend before concluding its season at last-place Brown and seventh-place Yale.
The playoffs technically don’t begin until early March, but Hudak said his team has been in postseason mode for some time.
“We’ve been in that position for the last couple weeks and we needed to win at least one of the two games last weekend and just couldn’t do it,” he said. “Now, every game we lose, we start relying more and more on other (teams) losing and you don’t want to be in that position.”
Said Illikainen: “It’s time to bear down and hopefully we’ll make the playoffs and go all the way through.”
Notes: Holdcroft made 19 saves. … Attendance was announced at 377. … Dartmouth is 0-6-1 in its last seven meetings with Harvard and 3-13-1 in the last 17 clashes. … The Crimson held the Big Green scoreless in five power-play chances and has killed off 101 of 105 man-down situations its faced this season. … Dartmouth had a five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1) at home snapped with Friday’s result. ... Harvard competed without three players who are skating in the Winter Olympics.
Tris Wykes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3227.