Lindsay Reed Shines in Goal for Harvard and the United States
By David A. F. Sweet
When she was too young to even vote, Lindsay Reed captured two gold medals as the U.S. goalie in the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championships. As a freshman goalie at Harvard University, she finished the season ranked third in the nation in save percentage (.940), turning away a school-record 927 shots during the season. In one game alone, she logged 52 saves against rival Boston College — another school record.
Talk about garnering accomplishments when plenty of teenagers prefer to wake up around noon, shaken from slumber to merely play video games.
A strong competitive spirit is essential to Reed’s success. That spirit was obvious all the way back when she played Mighty Mites hockey.
“There are two pictures of me,” said the Crimson sophomore. “One year, I have a beaming smile, with my finger raised as we were No. 1. The next year, I am crying my eyes out because we finished second — we weren’t No. 1.
“I’ve always been a competitor at heart.”
That fire is apparent during a phone conversation soon after the Crimson lost to Northeastern, 3-1, in the Beanpot Tournament in Boston. For the first time in her career, Reed was sidelined with an injury, one suffered after battling through hip pain in the same leg a good part of the season.
“It stinks,” she said of the loss. “Northeastern was beatable.”
No doubt the 6-foot graduate of The Hotchkiss School — whose great-great-grandfather launched the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and whose grandfather ran Santa Fe just down the street from the Shedd on Michigan Avenue — has kept Harvard in a number of contests. During the 2019 Beanpot, she made more than 100 saves across two games before the Crimson was knocked out of the tournament in overtime on home ice, a defeat she calls “gut-wrenching.” In 2018 against No. 1 Wisconsin — a school that recruited her — she made 47 saves in Madison before her team lost, 3-2, in overtime.
Reed’s prowess is so well-known that teams engage in stealth measures to try to stop her. During a league series, the Crimson left its equipment at the opponent’s rink overnight. When she stepped onto the ice the next morning, she could barely skate to the bench.
“I looked like Bambi. I had no inside edges,” she said. “We think the other team — who shall remain anonymous — rubbed out the edges. The equipment manager had to replace my blades immediately because we were about to play.”
As one can imagine, balancing the demands of a Harvard education with a time-consuming varsity sport is not easy. Two days a week, Reed attends classes from 9 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. and then heads straight to the hockey rink for a two-hour practice. After that, she lifts weights. She’ll grab dinner, and often gets back to her room around 8:30 p.m.
But Reed has no complaints about her exhausting schedule.
“At the end of the day, you have to think, ‘I do go to Harvard, and it is the best institution in the world,’” said Reed, who was named to the Eastern College Athletic Conference Hockey All-Academic Team as a freshman. “You have to appreciate the struggle.’”
Reed also appreciates being chosen twice to represent her country in international tournaments. In 2018 in Russia, the United States trailed Canada 3-0 entering the third period in the semifinal contest of the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championships. In a battle between the two heavyweights of women’s hockey, the Americans rallied to tie the game. In overtime, the team depended on Reed to stay mentally and physically sharp to save every breakaway in the shootout.
“The shootout was so intense that when I stopped the last shot, I didn’t realize the game was over,” she recalled. “Our team jumped over the boards and rushed out; it was a huge dogpile.”
With a championship victory a few days later, she had procured back-to-back gold medals, the previous one earned the year before in Czechoslovakia. Said Reed, whose exploits in Russia were soon lauded in Sports Illustrated, “When you lift the trophy, there’s just no amount of joy that’s comparable to it.”
For many years Reed also found great joy visiting her grandparents, Marjorie and John Reed, in Pine Lake in Wisconsin.
“I loved how they’d bring the family together there every summer,” she said. “I remember how Pie liked to bake corn muffins and make hamburgers on the grill. Granny, every single day she’d come to the dock — picking up sticks along the way — and watch us with her hands on her hips and make sure we were all happy in the water.”
As of this writing, Harvard stands 13-10-1. The regular season ends Feb. 22 against a team she knows well — St. Lawrence University, the alma mater of her mother Leslie and father John, who grew up in Lake Forest. Then, it’s on to the playoffs.
If she’s fortunate, Reed — whose main hobby is walking dogs during the little spare time she has — will play a game at Princeton, near her parents’ home. The reason? Aside from getting to see her two biggest fans, she can enjoy a visit with her family’s Labrador retrievers, Pepper and Daisy.
“It’s always awesome to see them,” said Reed.
The Sporting Life columnist David A. F. Sweet can be followed on Twitter @davidafsweet. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.