By Peyton Fine
A Crimson sports recap.
Men’s Ice Hockey
It’s been ten years since Harvard last won an Ivy League Championship in men’s hockey. On Friday night, they had a chance to break that streak with a win over Cornell at Bright-Landry. However, all they could muster was a 2-2 tie. Less than ten minutes into the games, Harvard was off to a good start in its pursuit for the Ivy Championship when Sean Malone scored to put the Crimson up 1-0. As the second half started, Cornell began to seize the momentum, and as a bevy of shots were flung towards the net, first-year starting netminder Merrick Madsen let one pass to allow Cornell to tie the game. Harvard again took the lead to begin the third period, but just as before, Cornell was able to tie the game within five minutes, and that tie held through the end of the game. All is not lost though for an Ivy title. The tie guaranteed Harvard a share of the crown, and if Yale loses to Princeton this weekend, Harvard will have sole possession of the Ivy League Championship.
On the national stage, Harvard sits in third place in the ECAC and is ranked 13th nationally. Unless Harvard can steal the ECAC title in the postseason tournament and garner an automatic spot in the NCAA tournament, Harvard sits squarely on the bubble for a spot in the tournament. For a team that began the year with its highest ever preseason ranking and returned player of the year candidate Jimmy Vesey, anything less than an NCAA tournament berth would be a disappointment. Harvard closes the season this weekend with away games against ECAC foes Clarkson and St. Lawrence. Clarkson beat the Crimson 5-1 at a low point in the season for the team, and Harvard will be looking to rebound to cap the regular season.
Women’s Ice Hockey
For the Harvard women’s hockey team, do or die time is really upon them. The team ranked fourth in the preseason polls has seen a progressive slide down the rankings over the last few weeks capped by a 8-0 loss to Boston College in the Beanpot tournament. Their only hope of jumping back into the NCAA tournament, in which they finished second last year, is to win the postseason ECAC tournament. This weekend provided a fantastic opportunity for Harvard to improve their all-important tournament seeding, but like the men’s team, the women were thwarted by Cornell. Harvard quickly put themselves behind the eight-ball with a two-goal deficit after the first period. However, the Crimson stormed back to score a goal apiece in the second and third period to send the game to overtime. However, after only 47 seconds of extra play, Cornell had dashed the Crimson’s hopes with a goal to win the game.
In its pursuit of the ECAC tournament championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament, Harvard will travel to Colgate for a best-of-three series to determine who will advance to the ECAC semifinals. If Harvard advances, they will need to pull off two straight upsets on back-to-back days to win the tournament. After their loss to Boston College, the Crimson played some of its best hockey in a five-game unbeaten streak. If that can continue, Harvard could become the dangerous Cinderella of this year’s ECAC and then NCAA tournament.
Seniors are a luxury in college athletics. Their experience makes them incredibly valuable and usually spells success for a team. Nowhere is that more evident than on Harvard’s women’s basketball team. Seniors AnnMarie Healy, Kit Metoyer, and Shilpa Tummala are all among the top-16 in the Ivy League in points scored per game. It has led to a resurgence of the program after a down year last year. Harvard is on pace for double-digit conference wins as it had for the three years prior to last year before only wining seven games within the Ivy League. Harvard still sits three games behind Penn, the undefeated Ivy leader, but the season could already be dubbed as a fitting swan song for the three seniors above.
Losing these three seniors though does not spell a return to mediocrity for the Crimson. Harvard has been starting two freshmen throughout the Ivy League season, and its top guard off the bench is also a freshman. Harvard also adds a top-100 recruit in Center Jeannie Boehm from Illinois and Taylor Rooks, a transfer from Stanford will be eligible to play after the mandatory one-year transfer waiting period. Rooks was an All-American out of high school and will look to step in immediately to replace the outside shooting of Tummala and Metoyer while Boehm will be the inside presence that Healy was this year. Even as the Crimson’s seniors leave the team on a high note, the team’s current freshmen coupled with their new arrivals should ensure that the winning tune continues into next season.
Peyton Fine ’17 (email@example.com) applauds the Crimson spirit in the pursuit of athletic excellence!