Harvard Offense Upends Engineers

Harvard Offense Upends Engineers

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard's forward line of Becca Gilmore (Wayland, Mass.) and Brooke Jovanovich (Oakville, Ontario), along with sophomore Kat Hughes (New York, N.Y.), combined for 10 points to lift Crimson 5-2 against Rensselaer Saturday afternoon.
 
Gilmore scored a game-high four points off three assists and one goal. Meanwhile, Hughes had two goals and one assist and Jovanovich had a goal and two assists for a combined six points. Hughes also had an impressive game-high +4 margin.
 
On the RPI (9-17-6, 6-11-3 ECACH) side, freshman Aimee Raithby scored her first career goal with junior Makenna Thomas adding her sixth on the season.
 
The best opportunity for either team came 3:34 into the first period when Harvard's (11-13-2, 9-9-2 ECACH) Bradley Fusco (Winchester, Mass.) had a solo breakaway in transition. The junior carried the puck uncontested to RPI netminder Lovisa Selander who came up with the big 1v1 save.
 
After a scoreless first period, Raithby broke up a Crimson play at center ice at the very beginning of the second period, putting the puck on the Engineers' Josefine Hansen's stick. The junior then carried it into the Harvard zone, and ripped a shot just past the blue line. Hansen's shot was saved by netminder Beth Larcom, but the sophomore lost the puck under her legs. Raithby crashed the net hard for RPI, and put the puck away to put the Engineers up 1-0 52 seconds into the second period.
 
The Rensselaer did not last long though as Jovanovich scored off assists from Hughes and Gilmore. Gilmore took a shot from the inside of the faceoff circle that was blocked by senior Amanda Kimmerle. However, a scrum in front of the net off the rebound found Hughes, who touched it to Jovanovich for the goal through the legs of Selander 1:58 into the second period.
 
Over the next 14 minutes, both sides were awarded power plays, but neither one were successful. Yet, less than a minute after RPI's power play ended, Jovanovich intercepted a Rensselaer turnover in front on the net who made a turning pass to Gilmore on the back post. Gilmore settled the pass nicely for some shifty stick work to score and put the Crimson up 2-1 with 3:54 remaining in the period.
 
Harvard was not done though as Hughes scored to put the Crimson up 3-1. Sophomore more Ali Pepper (Arvada, Colo.) made a pass at the point to Gilmore who carried the puck far to her right side to find Hughes wide open on the back post to the left.
 
The Engineers outshot Harvard to start the third period with shots from Thomas and senior Shayna Tomlinson, but Larcom was there to knock down all attempts. Momentum changed 5:18 into the period though when RPI's Marisa Raspa was charged with checking. The Engineers killed their 85th penalty of the year, but the Crimson's Emma Buckles (Toronto, Ontario) broke through the RPI defense to put Harvard up 4-1 with 10:44 remaining. Harvard's Haley Mullins (East Greenwich, R.I.) passed the puck from the top of the faceoff circle to junior Kaitlin Tse (Toronto, Ontario) behind the goal line. Tse sent a pass through traffic across the face of the net, but Buckles gathered the puck and ripped a hard hit shot from the point.
 
Rensselaer proved they were not going down without a fight though as Thomas scored the Engineers second goal with a little more than eight minutes left in regulation. Raspa took a wrapping shot from the top the faceoff circle that hit the near post of the Harvard cage. Sophomore Blake Orosz made a diving effort to keep the puck in the Crimson crease where Thomas was waiting back post to redirect it in.
 
Both sides continued to exchange chances until Selander was pulled off the ice for the extra skater with 1:45 left in the period. However, Harvard scored six seconds later in transition for their second empty net goal of the year. Gilmore and Jovanovich worked with the rest of the Crimson skaters to get the puck out of their zone where Hughes made a hustle play for the 50/50 opportunity at center ice. The sophomore took the puck and went straight to the empty net where Hughes scored her 14th goal of the season. Harvard's fifth goal marked the third time the Engineers have given up an empty netter this season.
 
Larcom (10-12-1) was credited with the win on 34 saves while Selander (9-16-5) picked up the loss with a 23 save effort.
 
Rensselaer outshot Harvard 36-28, the 11th time this year the Engineers have outshot their opponents. RPI is currently 3-3-5 when putting more pucks on frame.
 
While a win or tie over the Crimson would have projected the red and white into the eighth and final ECAC Hockey playoff spot, the Engineers' playoff hopes are still alive. With Yale's (9-14-4, 7-11-2 ECACH) 2-0 loss to #4 Colgate (27-4-1, 17-3-0 ECACH), RPI remains one point behind the Bulldogs. They are currently in a four-way fight for the final two playoff spots with Princeton (11-12-4, 9-10-1 ECACH), Yale and Union (7-20-5, 5-13-2 ECACH). Princeton currently sits in seventh while Union is behind RPI in tenth.
 
The Engineers return to Houston Field House next weekend for their final series of the regular season with #4 Colgate (Fri. 6pm) and #6 Cornell (17-7-3, 13-5-2 ECACH) (Sat. 3pm). Saturday also marks senior day for Tomlinson, Kimmerle, Raspa and Whitney Renn.