Minnesota’s women’s hockey team kicked off the home portion of its home schedule Thursday against No. 5 Harvard.
The matchup was expected to provide a glimpse into the Gophers’ chances this season. But the team looked a little rough around the edges in a 3-1 loss to Harvard.
“We didn’t play our best today,” Minnesota coach Laura Halldorson said. “We played hard but we didn’t always play as intelligently as we could have played.”
Minnesota did look sluggish on the offensive end of the ice, and could not get many scoring chances in the second period when Harvard was whistled for five consecutive penalties.
Former Olympians Jen Botterill, Angela Ruggiero and A.J. Mleczko accounted for the three Crimson goals.
One of Mleczko’s and Ruggiero’s Olympic teammates was the Gophers’ Jenny Schmidgall.
“On the ice we’re not teammates, or old teammates,” Schmidgall said. “They’re just another hockey player to me — the competition. I want to beat them just like everybody else.”
Harvard doubled Minnesota’s shot total — 38 to 19 — in the game. The shot total was not acceptable for the Gophers, but on the positive side, sophomore goaltender Erica Killewald played well in allowing only two goals.
“I thought a bright spot was our goaltending,” Halldorson said. “Killer kept us in there and kept the score low.”
Harvard goaltender Crystal Springer looked solid in stopping 18 of 19 shots, including stoning last year’s leading scorer Nadine Muzerall on a breakaway. But Schmidgall contends that they did not test Springer enough.
“I don’t think we’ve really had enough shots to test her,” Schmidgall said. “Personally, I don’t think we did our best to get the shots off. We tried too much to make the perfect play with pretty passes. And we didn’t get enough shots on net to test how good she really was.”
Although the Gophers are dejected right now, they won’t be allowed the time to sit around and feel sorry for themselves. Minnesota plays host to No. 1 New Hampshire Saturday afternoon.