College women's hockey: Bulldogs coaches Crowell, Bellamy seek sweep in return to Harvard

Minnesota Duluth women's hockey head coach Maura Crowell and assistant Laura Bellamy are heading back to Harvard with the Bulldogs this Thanksgiving.

Minnesota Duluth women's hockey coach Maura Crowell speaks to the media after a press conference at Amsoil Arena in Duluth back in April of 2015. Crowell was a five-year veteran of the Harvard University coaching staff before being named the head women's hockey coach at Minnesota Duluth. (FILE - Clint Austin /

Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey head coach Maura Crowell and assistant Laura Bellamy are heading back to Harvard with the Bulldogs this Thanksgiving.

Crowell was an assistant coach, interim head coach and associate head coach for five seasons with the Crimson and has her eye on a few coffee shops in Cambridge, Mass. The same goes for Bellamy, a Duluth native who played four seasons at Harvard and then stayed on another two seasons as an assistant coach.

Oh, and there’s one other thing the UMD coaches want to do during their time back at Harvard.

“Win two games, that’s No. 1,” Bellamy said. “There’s a couple spots we want to make sure we go to, but business is first. Definitely getting two wins is at the top of the list.”

A year ago, the first-year UMD coaches welcomed their former team into Amsoil Arena. Now they return to Harvard for a 6 p.m. game Friday and 2:30 p.m. game Saturday leading one of NCAA Division I hockey’s hottest teams.


The Bulldogs, who were unranked a year ago in the 4-2 win and 4-1 loss against the then-No. 8 Crimson, are currently ranked No. 4 in the country by United States College Hockey Online after splitting with No. 1 Wisconsin a week ago at Amsoil. UMD is third in the WCHA standings behind Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The 4-1 defeat to the previously unbeaten Badgers on Saturday, which followed a 4-1 win Friday, is the Bulldogs’ lone loss in their last eight games. They are 5-1-2 since a pair of one-goal losses at Minnesota in mid-October.

“We’re certainly proud of what we’re doing here,” Crowell said of her team’s season thus far. “When I left Harvard, I did say any success that I had at UMD, a part of it should be attributed to (Harvard) coach (Katey) Stone, because she gave me the opportunity to run the program during her Olympic run. Had I not done that, I don’t think I’d be sitting here today. We’re very proud of what we’ve done here and excited to bring that back to Harvard.”

Bellamy was a first-year assistant at Harvard in 2013-14 when Crowell was handed the reigns while Stone went off to coach Team USA at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Bellamy had spent the previous four years as the Crimson goaltender.

While she is focused on recording two wins, Bellamy said she’d be lying if she said she wasn’t excited about returning to her college campus.

“To be back in that building is going to be special,” Bellamy said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to coach at both my alma mater and in my hometown. To be able to go back there and have the two play each other is pretty exciting.”

Crowell said she and Bellamy have tried to downplay the trip’s significance, focusing more on the game plan and strategy. If anything, they’ve tried to build up the history between the two programs - and not the coaches - such as the Bulldogs’ 4-3 double-overtime victory over Harvard before a capacity crowd at the DECC for the 2003 NCAA title.

This series has postseason implications as well, with UMD (8-3-3) playing its final two nonconference games of the season and only two against an Eastern College Athletic Conference opponent. The Bulldogs began the year with a win and tie over current No. 6 Boston College of Hockey East in their only other nonconference series.


“Big bragging rights are on the line playing a team out of conference and trying to prove ourselves again to the rest of the country,” UMD senior forward Ashleigh Brykaliuk said.

But the players know what this weekend means to their coaches. They knew what beating Harvard (1-6) meant a year ago to Crowell and Bellamy and what it would mean this weekend for the coaches to win twice at their old stomping grounds.

They can see it every day in practice, senior defenseman Sidney Morin said.

“It’s easy to see how excited they are to go back to coach’s hometown and where (Bellamy) played and coached,” Morin said. “We can see the excitement in their faces all week in practice getting pumped up to play an East Coast team. That makes us pumped up to get wins for them and to get wins for us as well against a really good team.”

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
What To Read Next
Get Local