Crimson sniper Liza Ryabkina‘s goal proved to be just enough on Tuesday evening, as Harvard hung on for a 1-0 win over Northeastern to capture its 13th women’s Beanpot title in front of a packed Bright Hockey Center.
The Crimson have now won nine Beanpots in 12 years, and head coach Katey Stone tallies her 10th title in her 16-year coaching career.
Harvard flew out of the gates to start the game and didn’t let up, sending the Huskies a message early on as they put on a shooting clinic against NU goaltender Leah Sulyma. Sulyma definitely showed up to play, denying all of the Crimson’s bids, as her team was outshot 12-5 in the initial frame.
Harvard didn’t let up an ounce to start the second, maintaining their quick tempo. Just 35 seconds in, the dangerous Ryabkina was left alone in the slot and struck for her 11th of the season after gobbling up a Randi Griffin rebound.
The remainder of the period was the Sulyma show, as she did everything possible to keep the puck out of the net. The Crimson put up a relentless 26 shots to NU’s six throughout the second, though much of the period was spent in NU’s offensive zone. The Crimson blocked most of NU’s shots before they even reached the net.
The Huskies were able to regain their composure entering the third, looking like a different team and putting Harvard goaltender Laura Bellamy to the test. They were almost able to tie it up early in the period, when Brittany Esposito gave the Huskies their best chance of the night as she managed to split the Harvard defense and slip in on a breakaway. Bellamy closed the door as Esposito was hauled down on the play, but she still managed to get a shot off.
The Huskies had numerous good scoring chances, both on the power play and even strength, but they couldn’t solve Bellamy. They poured on the pressure in the dying seconds of the period with a scramble in front of the net, but again, the Harvard defense came up big.
With the win, Harvard now sits just one Beanpot title behind NU’s record of 14. It also left head coach Stone just two wins short of securing a tie as the winningest coach in women’s college hockey.
Tournament MVP Ryabkina left her mark in this Beanpot, accounting for five her team’s six total goals throughout the tournament.
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