Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hockey Blog, Women's Hockey Edition: Harvard destroys, deconstructs St. Lawrence 5-1

Harvard is really good this year. That doesn't properly describe the quality of this team, but I don't want to start making up words. Let's just say this: if that's how they play the second or third best team in the nation, what chance does anyone else have?

1. Coach Katey Stone is a big fan of depth and passing finesse. She saw some of the latter but a whole lot of the former, as the third line stepped up huge tonight, playing the Saints extremely tough and adding a goal or two. Going in Zak and I suspected St. Lawrence had a slight speed advantage, but that was pretty much completely neutralized by the Crimson's ability to constantly refresh itself and send another strong, rested line out there.

2. Caitlin Cahow gets penalized quite a bit. One of the two Olympians on the team, she's probably the Crimson's best defenseman, but she definitely skates that tightrope* between aggressive and illegal. Some nights she does it well, but tonight it must be said was not one of her better outings, as she got sent to the box three times. Of course, when you rack up as many points as she does, I guess I shouldn't make too big a deal out of it.

*How's that for mixed sports metaphors?

3. Credit Coach Stone for showing a little creativity on the strategic front, having Sarah Vaillancourt line up in the left defense position to start the second period. She and Cahow instantly connected on a series of crisp passes and, twenty-four seconds later, the Crimson had scored again. I don't know how much control a coach can really have over the movement of a hockey game as once the puck is dropped the flow of the game mostly dictates the action, but she made an interesting move there that paid off big.

4. Anna McDonald, the sophomore transfer from Boston College who actually beat the Crimson in 3OT in the Beanpot last year, has tremendous ability and can really lead an offense. Getting her to come over to our side was a huge coup for this team, and she's right up there with Liza Ryabkina as an immediate contributor to the team in their first season at Harvard.

5. Huge, huge shoutout to Christina Kessler for going almost four hours of gametime without giving up a goal. There isn't much more you can say. Just kudos to her, I guess.

My thanks to Zak Kline, Nick Crowne, and Saul Gorman for making the broadcasts of the games possible, and of course thanks to everyone who listened in. Men's hockey resumes November 28 at 7:30 as the Crimson take on the Yale Bulldogs. As always, Nick Crowne and Ben Weintraub have the call.

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