As the Harvard and Mercyhurst women’s hockey teams lined up at center ice for the customary exchange of “Good games” and handshakes following Saturday’s (March 19) triple overtime thriller at Bright Hockey Center, visiting goaltender Desi Clark – the very root of Harvard’s frustration over the past four hours and 17 minutes – suddenly found herself the object of a whole lot of Crimson love. Down the procession line, Harvard players leaned into Clark’s helmet a little bit closer than usual, and lingered there just a bit longer. After collecting 78 saves (a new single-game NCCA record) in what proved to be the longest game in the history of the women’s tournament, the superb Mercyhurst goalkeeper earned every bit of the home team’s respect.
Luckily, for the good majority of the 1,013 that packed chilly Bright on a relatively balmy afternoon, the home team also had plenty of reason to dish out props to two of their own, juniors Julie Chu and Ali Boe. It was Chu, after all, who snapped the 4-4 standstill in the 112th minute of play to bump the No. 4 Crimson past the No. 6 Lakers, 5-4. After the teams exchanged beautiful breakaways in vain for two extra periods and over 12 minutes of sudden-death action, Chu finally hit pay dirt on a 2-on-1 drive to the goal. Accepting senior teammate Nicole Corriero’s pass from the right, Chu shoveled the puck past Clark to end the madness.
And it was madness. All told, the teams combined for 143 shots on goal, with Harvard taking an 83 to 60 advantage, including a new team high of 21 in the second period. Wilder still, Corriero notched Harvard’s first four goals – one each in the first and third periods, and a pair in the middle frame – to establish a tournament record for goals in a game.
Down 3-1 in the second period, the senior winger knotted the score at 3 with consecutive goals – the first coming just 23 seconds into the period and later at the 7:46 mark. In the cage, Ali Boe was sensational for Harvard. The junior netminder grabbed a career-high 56 saves, denying the gang from Erie, Penn., for nearly an hour and 20 minutes between the third period and the three overtimes.
Harvard (25-6-3) keeps itself alive with the win, advancing to the Frozen Four for the third consecutive year. The Crimson will take on St. Lawrence in Durham, N.H., on Friday (March 25) at 8 p.m. for the right to play for all the marbles on Sunday (March 27), also in Durham. The weekend’s other quarterfinal victors – Dartmouth and Minnesota – will open semifinal play on Friday at 5 p.m.
Despite falling to Cornell, 3-1, in the ECAC championship game on March 19, the men’s team received an at-large bid to the 2005 NCAA tournament. The No. 3 Crimson (21-9-3) will face the No. 2 University of New Hampshire (25-10-5) in the Northeast Regional semifinal on Saturday (March 26) at 3:30 p.m. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Defending national champion Denver will battle Bemidji State University at noon. Visit http://www.gocrimson.com for men’s and women’s scores and updates.