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CAMBRIDGE, MASS. - No. 9 Providence College women's hockey traveled to No. 7 Harvard today and fell, 2-1. With the loss, Providence falls to 12-9-8, 8-4-4-2 WHEA while Harvard improves to 12-5-4, 9-5-2 ECAC. Sophomore Genevieve Lacasse (Scarborough, Ontario) made 34 saves in net and senior Arianna Rigano (Malden, Mass.) scored the lone goal for the Friars
In a matchup between top-10 teams, Harvard came into the game with the third-best defense in the nation and the rank held true as Providence generated only one goal on 19 shots. Providence scored to even the game at 9:18 of the third and the Crimson responded at 14:42 to take the lead for good, 2-1.
Harvard started the game with four-straight shots on net, holding possession of the puck for the majority of the early minutes and opened the scoring at 5:16 when Katharine Chute tipped the puck past Lacasse off a shot from the right point from Kathryn Farni.
Providence generated its best chance at 13:20 when Jean O'Neill found time in the slot and sent a wrist shot towards the top-right corner. Harvard goaltender Laura Bellamy made the glove save to keep the score at 1-0. Harvard held the edge in shots, 12-7, after one period.
Harvard continued the pressure into the second and was given a power play just 17 seconds into the period. The Crimson put two shots on net during the man advantage and Lacasse came up with a left-shoulder save during a two-on-one break seconds after the penalty expired.
The Friars earned a power pay at 11:44 but shots from Nicole Anderson (Shakopee, Minn.) and Lauren Covell (Akron, Ohio) were saved, keeping the score, 1-0, in favor of Harvard. Harvard nearly doubled the lead with only 1:27 remaining but a two-on-one break was snuffed out with a glove save from Lacasse. Harvard outshot PC, 15-4, in the period and held a 27-11 edge in shots after 40 minutes.
Providence had the better of the play to start the third and nearly capitalized at 3:07 when Alyse Ruff (Tualatin, Ore.) sent a pass from behind the net to O'Neill at the top of the crease, but her one-timer was denied by the left pad of Bellamy.
Providence finally broke through when sophomore Kate Bacon (Chanhassen, Minn.) pushed a face off from the left circle to Rigano at the hash marks. Rigano spun around and sent a back-handed shot towards the far post that found its way past Bellamy for her sixth goal of the season. Bacon earned her fourth assist on the play.
The Crimson regained the lead at 14:42 with a power-play goal from Randi Griffin. Griffin received a pass through the slot from Farni and sent a high wrist shot past the glove of Lacasse to put Harvard back on top, 2-1. The Friars pulled the goalie with over a minute remaining but failed to beat Bellamy as time wound down.
Harvard held a 9-8 edge in shots in the third period and 36-19 for the game.
Providence will travel to No. 6 Northeastern next weekend with first place in Hockey East on the line. The game is set for Saturday, February 6 at 2:00 p.m. in Matthews Arena in Boston, Mass.