For the second time this season, the St. Lawrence University women's hockey team forced an overtime period with nationally-ranked No. 5 Harvard University. This time, though, the Saints came away from the Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge, MA with a big point in the ECAC Hockey standings, earning a 2-2 tie with the Crimson thanks to a 35-save performance by sophomore goalie Carmen MacDonald.
St. Lawrence, now 12-5-4 in ECAC Hockey play, continues to control its own destiny heading into tomorrow's regular season finale at Dartmouth. A win against the Big Green will give the Saints the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament, and home ice advantage against Quinnipiac. A tie or loss tomorrow gives Quinnipiac the opportunity to flip the script and steal home ice with a win over Yale. Meanwhile, Harvard is now 16-2-2 in the league and 20-4-3 overall, but was unable to match its 3-2 overtime win over St. Lawrence at Appleton Arena earlier this season.
"That's obviously a big point for us and keeps us in control of our own destiny," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells. "Harvard really took it to us in the first, but we had a bounce-back period to get back in it. Great resiliency by our team as we prepare for the playoffs, and it will be another battle tomorrow up in Hanover."
The Crimson played a fantastic first period, taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission on a goal by Sarah Edney. Edney ripped a shot through traffic that beat MacDonald's glove at 15:47, with assists going to Kelsey Romatoski and Samantha Reber. However, despite being outshot 12-2 in the frame, MacDonald kept her team within striking distance.
The Saints took advantage with two consecutive goals in the second period to snag a 2-1 lead. Senior captain Kelly Sabatine evened the scoring a 1-1 with a power play goal against the nation's top-ranked penalty killing unit. The Hamilton, ON native took a pass from classmate Brooke Fernandez, skated into the left circle and blasted a wrist shot past Harvard goalie Emerance Maschmeyer for her 16th goal of the season at 4:43 of the second.
St. Lawrence would take the lead later in the stanza at the 13:56 mark on a tally by Kayla Raniwsky. Amanda Boulier fired a shot towards goal that went off a Crimson defender and trickled to the far post where Raniwsky was waiting. Though Maschmeyer sprawled across the crease, the sophomore re-directed the puck over the goal line to put the visitors on top.
Harvard would pull even in the final minute of the second, scoring at 19:38 to level the scoring at 2-2. Reber earned her second assist, setting up Kaitlin Spurling's eighth goal of the year to set up a dramatic third period.
The Crimson would continue the momentum into the third period and eventually overtime, owning 13-5 and 3-2 advantages in shots on goal, respectively. However, MacDonald was up to the task, turning away several grade-A bids in the final minutes to give her team the 2-2 tie.
Harvard closed with a 37-17 edge in shots on goal. MacDonald made 35 stops while Maschmeyer made 15 for the home team, while the Saints won the special teams battle, going 1-for-3 on the power play and keeping Harvard off the board with the extra skater (0-for-3).
The Saints will square off with Dartmouth tomorrow, Saturday, February 23 at 4:00pm