Harwood girls’ hockey could not find enough offensive momentum against a strong Rice girls’ team and ended up losing the game on Saturday night, January 7, 5-0.

From the beginning of the night, the Knights kept the Highlanders on their heels. They held the puck for large swaths of time and they pinned Harwood back into their defensive zone forcing goalie Allison Yandow to stand at attention for most of the game. The game would have gone much worse had it not been for some of Yandow’s miraculous saves. She ended the night with 40 saves.

Harwood only put 8 shots on their opponents net and all of them were stopped, highlighting the need for more offense if they are to beat top-caliber teams in the league. Luckily for Harwood, many of their best offensive rushes started with their star defender, Liliana Ziedens.

Ziedens is a strong skater and controls her section of the ice. When she is able to get the puck and a little bit of room, she uses her speed to move up the length of the rink to either take a shot or hand it off to a forward in hopes of generating offensive zone time for her own team.

Harwood coach Mike Vasseur said that Ziedens is worth any praise she receives. “Liliana is unquestionably one of the best players in Division II girls’ hockey and girls’ hockey in the state. She’s one of the best athletes at Harwood. She helps set the tone for us, but at the end of the day Liliana will be the first one to tell you that it’s all about the team,” Vasseur said.

Although they were unable to put any numbers in their scoring column, Vasseur is walking away from the loss positively.

“I thought we did much better against the No. 1 team in the league than we would particularly at the beginning of the season,” Vasseur said. He also said that his team committed a few “silly” errors that Rice was able to capitalize on, which his team will learn from.

The Highlanders return to the ice on Monday, January 9, to play Woodstock in a makeup game at 3:30 p.m. at The Ice Center in Waterbury.