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No. 4/5 Women's Hockey Hosts Providence, Travels to UNH for Televised Game

Kelsey Romatoski has been a key defender for the Crimson in 2012-13 (photo Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The No. 4/5 Harvard women's ice hockey team steps out of conference play to take on Hockey East members Providence and New Hampshire this weekend. The Crimson host Providence at 7 p.m. Friday before traveling north to UNH for a 2 p.m. tilt on Saturday. The matchup with the Wildcats will air live on Fox College Sports Atlantic and the Live Well Network.

Follow From Home
The games will be available to follow via live stats and live video. To access the respective pages, follow the links at the top. Also, follow @HarvardCrimson and @HarvardWHockey on Twitter for updates from the games.

Scouting the Crimson
The Crimson (8-1-0, 7-0-0 ECAC) has been one of the top teams statistically throughout the beginning of the 2012-13 campaign. Harvard is in the top five of the country in a number of categories including scoring offense (No. 4, 3.89), scoring defense (No. 2, 0.67), scoring margin (No. 3, 3.22) and penalty kill (No. 2, .941). The hot start has led the Crimson to a No. 2 ranking in the USCHO PairWise chart, No. 4 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and No. 5 in the USCHO rankings.

Jillian Dempsey has been Harvard's offensive leader this season with consistent play in the attacking zone. The reigning ECAC Hockey Player of the Month has registered at least one point in each of the Crimson's first nine games to push her career long point streak to 23 games. She leads the team in goals (9), assists (11) and points, while ranking in the top five of the nation in points per game (No. 3, 1.00), assists per game (No. 5, 1.22) and points per game (No. 4, 2.22).

Defensively, the Crimson has two of the best goaltenders in the nation to choose from. Senior co-captain Laura Bellamy leads the NCAA in goals-against average (0.60) and save percentage (.968), while boasting a 4-1-0 record and freshman Emerance Maschmeyer is one of three goalies in the country to remain undefeated and untied at 4-0-0. Maschmeyer is close behind Bellamy in the national statistics rankings with a 0.75 goals-against average (No. 3) and .955 save percentage (No. 3). She led Harvard to wins over then-No. 2 Cornell, 3-1, and then-No. 9 Northeastern, 3-1, in back-to-back starts in late November.

Last Time Out
Harvard scored three first-period goals and dominated on the defensive end en route to a 6-0 win over Dartmouth at Bright Hockey Center Nov. 30 to stay unbeaten and untied in ECAC play in its last regular season contest. Lyndsey Fry paced the team with two goals and one assist, while Jillian Dempsey added a goal and two assists for the Crimson.  Hillary CroweSamantha Reber and Gina McDonald all added single tallies, and Laura Bellamy made 25 saves. On Dec. 1, Emerance Maschmeyer and Molly Tissenbaum split time in goal to blank the Russian National Team, 4-0, in an exhibition at Bright.

Related Link: Bellamy's Third Shutout Carries No. 5/6 Women's Ice Hockey Past Dartmouth, 6-0

Scouting the Friars (Team Page)
Providence (8-7-4, 5-4-2 Hockey East) dropped its last two contests, a pair of games against No. 7 Boston University, last weekend. The Friars' offense has been paced by senior Nicole Anderson, who comes into tonight's matchup with nine goals and seven assists on the season. Anderson is trailed by a trio of skaters who have contributed 13 points, including senior Jessica Vella, sophomore Haley Frade and junior Corinne Buie. In goal, freshman Sarah Bryant has played a majority of the minutes and owns a 6-4-3 record with a 2.75 goals-against average and .892 save percentage.

The Friars' special teams have been a weak spot for Providence this season. Coming into today, only five other teams have a worse combined special-teams percentage. Providence's power play is scoring goals at an 11.9% clip (10/84), while the squad's penalty kill has allowed 19 goals in 82 skater-down situations (76.8%).

Series History – Providence
Harvard trails the all-time series against Providence, 15-22-3, although the Crimson has won the last five meetings between the two teams and is 8-0-1 since 2002. Providence jumped out to a 16-0-0 lead in the series that started in 1978-79, before Harvard tied the Friars in 1994 and topped Providence, 6-5, for the first time the following season. Last year, Jillian Dempsey gave Harvard a 2-0 advantage with a pair of first-period goals as the Crimson cruised to a 5-1 win at Providence Dec. 8. Laura Bellamy made 23 saves in the victory.

Scouting the Wildcats (Team Page)
New Hampshire (7-11-1, 4-4-1 Hockey East) will finish a six-game run of playing top-ten teams with its Saturday matchup against Harvard. The Wildcats are 1-4-0 in the last five games with its sole win coming at No. 10 Northeastern, 3-1, Dec. 2. UNH has lost twice to No. 1 Minnesota, one to Northeastern and once to No. 6 Boston College during the last two weeks. Freshman Alexis Crossley and junior Jessica Hitchcock lead New Hampshire with six goals apiece, while senior Kristina Lavoie has contributed eight assists. Four Wildcats have registered decisions in goal with freshman Vilma Vaattovaara getting the most minutes. She is 3-8-0 with a 3.84 goals-against average and .874 save percentage. Sophomore Jenn Gilligan leads the team with a 4-1-0 record, a 2.36 GAA and .915 save percentage.

Series History – New Hampshire
After starting the series with New Hampshire 0-22-1 since the two program's first met in 1983, the Crimson has gone on a 15-6-2 run since 1998 to pull within 15-27-3 in the all-time series. Harvard is currently on a three-game unbeaten streak against the Wildcats, including a 5-2 triumph last season. Samantha Reber scored twice and Lyndsey Fry added a goal and two assists to lead the way for the Crimson.

Around The League
Six conference teams play ECAC games this weekend, as Harvard, St. Lawrence, Clarkson and Dartmouth take on non-conference foes. Ivy Leaguers Yale and Brown travel to Rensselaer and Union, while Princeton and Quinnipiac play a home-and-home series. No. 4/5 Harvard's tilt with New Hampshire is the most notable of the ECAC's non-conference slate this weekend. The Wildcats received a vote in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and the contest against the Crimson will be televised live on Live Well Network and Fox College Sports Atlantic.

Day-After-Day Dempsey
Jillian Dempsey was named the ECAC Player of the Month for November after leading Harvard to a 6-1-0 record, two wins over ranked opponents and a No. 5 ranking for the Crimson in the polls. Dempsey continued her career-high 23 game point streak with at least one point in all seven contests during the month and six multi-point outings. She totaled six goals, eight assists and 14 points to lead the Crimson in each category. Her consistent play in November has Dempsey ranked among the nation's best in points per game (No. 4, 2.22), goals per game (No. 3, 1.00) and assists per game (No. 5, 1.22).

Player of the Month
Jillian Dempsey was named the ECAC Player of the Month for November after leading Harvard to a 6-1-0 record, two wins over ranked opponents and a No. 5 ranking for the Crimson in the polls. Dempsey continued her career-high 23 game point streak with at least one point in all seven contests during the month and six multi-point outings. She totaled six goals, eight assists and 14 points to lead the Crimson in each category. The honor was Dempsey's ninth career ECAC award as she had previously earned five player of the week distinctions, two rookie of the week honors and the ECAC Player of the Month award last February.

Related Link: Dempsey Selected ECAC Hockey Player of the Month for November

In the Rankings
The Crimson, which was previously ranked No. 5/6, moved up to No. 5 in the latest USCHO poll and No. 4 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings after taking down Dartmouth last weekend. The No. 4 spot is Harvard's highest ranking of the season.

Related Link: NCAA Rankings 

Harvard Coach Katey Stone
Katey Stone, the Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Hockey, is in her 19th season as Harvard's head coach, and enters the weekend with a 386-165-32 career  record, the most all-time victories in Division I women's hockey. Stone has led Harvard to all eight of its NCAA tournament appearances and is the head coach of the U.S. Women's National Team.

Top Two
Harvard senior Laura Bellamy and freshman Emerance Maschmeyer have been two of the top goaltenders in the nation to start the season. Bellamy moved up to No. 1 in the nation in save percentage (.968) and goals-against average (.060) with her shutout of Dartmouth. She passed teammate Emerance Maschmeyer, who had previously led the country in GAA at 0.75. Bellamy is now fifth in the country in shutouts with three in just five games, while Maschmeyer is one of three goalies in the country with an undefeated and untied record (4-0-0).

Related Link: NCAA Statistics  

Killin' It
After killing 20 minutes worth of skater-down play against Dartmouth Nov. 30, Harvard has now denied its opponents in 32 of 34 power-play opportunities it has given up this season. The Crimson kill is ranked No. 2 in land at 94.1%. Minnesota edges the Crimson at 94.7% (71/75).

D is the Key
The Crimson's defense, led by the goaltending tandem of Emerance Maschmeyer and Laura Bellamy, has been one of the toughest to score on this season. Harvard has allowed just 0.67 goals per game to rank second in the nation in scoring defense behind Minnesota's 0.61 mark.

Top Plays
GoCrimson.com introduced a new video feature to its lineup for the 2012-13 season, "Top Plays of the Month," counting down the greatest moments from your favorite Crimson student-athletes and teams from the previous calendar month. Use the hashtag #CrimsonTop10 to nominate your favorite plays for inclusion. November's top plays featured Kalley Armstrong's game-winning goal against Cornell at No. 2. Click here to watch the video.

Up Next
The Crimson has a quick turnaround as Harvard travels to New Hampshire tomorrow for a 2 p.m. game. Harvard and the Wildcats will be shown live on WBIN-TV and Fox College Sports Atlantic tomorrow afternoon.