RPI, Union Challenge No. 2/3 Women's Hockey's Perfect ECAC Mark this Weekend
Elizabeth Parker and the Crimson have not lost since Nov. 18, 2012 (photo Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Harvard women's ice hockey team looks to remain unbeaten in the ECAC and opens the weekend by hosting RPI and Union this weekend at Bright Hockey Center.
Follow From Home
The game will be available to follow via live stats and live video. To access the respective pages, follow the links at the top. Follow @HarvardCrimson and @HarvardWHockey on Twitter for updates from the games. Live video streaming of all Crimson home games will be available by subscription through GoCrimson.com with the official voice of Harvard women's hockey, Eric Steckling, on the call. A pregame interview with head coach Katey Stone will also be available via Twitter.
Around the ECAC (Conference Page)
Eight conference teams will play ECAC games this weekend. Besides Harvard and travel partner Dartmouth hosting Union and RPI, Clarkson and St. Lawrence visit Cornell and Colgate, while Brown and Yale play a home-and-home on Thursday and Saturday. The marquee contests of the weekend will happen in Ithaca, N.Y., as the Big Red, which is tied for fourth in the league, welcomes fourth-place St. Lawrence and second-place Clarkson.
Last Time Out
Jillian Dempsey led the way with two goals and Harvard cruised to a 5-1 win over Connecticut Tuesday night at Bright Hockey Center. Kalley Armstrong and Lyndsey Fry also produced multiple points for the Crimson, as the juniors combined for five assists. Laura Bellamy picked up her team-leading eighth win of the season, stopping five shots on the night, while Molly Tissenbaum played the third period in net and made four saves.
Related Link: No. 2/3 Harvard Breezes Past UConn, 5-1, to Run Unbeaten Streak to 11
Scouting the Engineers (Team Page)
Rensselaer (6-14-2, 4-6-0 ECAC) has dropped three consectuive games starting with its matchup against Harvard. Since falling to the Crimson, RPI was swept in a two-game series by Providence by 2-1 and 3-2 scores. Senior Taylor Horton scored two of the three RPI goals last weekend, while junior Jordan Smelker added the third. Smelker, who was invited to the U.S. Women's National Team Winter Camp, and Horton have eached scored eight goals this season, while freshman Alexa Gruschow leads the team with nine. Gruschow has also added 10 assists to total 19 points.
Kelly O'Brien has seen the majority of minutes in goal for the Engineers and brings a 5-12-1 record to Cambridge. The sophomore has stopped .897 percent of shots and allowed 2.58 goals per game. Brianna Piper (1-2-1) has appeared in six games and owns an .853 save percentage and 3.64 GAA.
Series History - RPI
Harvard is 9-4-1 all-time against RPI, including four straight wins. The Crimson snuck past Rensselaer, 2-1, earlier this season in Troy, N.Y., after Kelsey Romatoski scored a power-play goal in the third period. Emerance Maschmeyer made 19 saves in the game and held the Engineers scoreless in the final frame with eight stops. Harvard also killed 1:41 of 5-on-3 play and the remaining 19 seconds of 5-on-4 to keep the lead at 2-1 with six minutes left in the game.
Scouting the Dutchwomen (Team Page)
Union (7-12-3, 0-7-3 ECAC) is having one of its best seasons in recent years and has won two of its last three with both victories coming against Penn State. The Dutchwomen are led by freshman Jessica Kaminski and sophomore Christine Valente, who have each tallied five goals and six assists for 11 points. Freshman Courtney Turner is also in double figures with 10 points on four goals and six assists.
Sophomore Shenae Lundberg (6-9-2) has been Union's regular goalie and owns six of the Dutchwomen's seven wins. She enters the weekend with a .906 save percentage and a 2.85 goals-against average. Senior Alana Marcinko (1-3-0) has Union's other win, a 3-2 season-opening victory over Connecticut.
Series History – Union
Harvard is undefeated and untied against Union in 19 meetings between the two programs. The Crimson has outscored the Dutchwomen, 105-3, since the teams first met in 2003, and Harvard has posted 16 shutouts, including five straight in the series.
Harvard senior Laura Bellamy and freshman Emerance Maschmeyer are two of the top goaltenders in the nation this season. Bellamy ranks No. 1 in goals-against average (0.60) and save percentage (.966), with Maschmeyer ranking second in the nation in GAA (0.85) and third in save percentage (.951). Only Noora Räty of Minnesota is also allowing less than one goal per game (0.95) while saving more than 95% of shots (.955). The NCAA record for GAA is 0.83 (Jessie Vetter, Wisconsin, 2007), while the save percentage mark is .955 (Christine Dufour, Wisconsin, 2007).
Harvard has denied its opponents in 52 of 54 power-play opportunities this season. The Crimson kill is the top-ranked unit in the country at 96.3 percent, ahead of Minnesota's 91.7 percent (88/96) mark. The NCAA record for penalty kill percentage is 95.7 percent (112/117), set by the 2003 Crimson.
Dempsey Dominates ECAC Awards
Jillian Dempsey was named the Hogan Hockey/ECAC Player of the Month for December after leading the conference in goals with five in just two contests and was also named the conference's player of the week Jan. 8. She is the first player in the two-year history of the award to win in back-to-back months. Dating back to last season, the co-captain has now won three of the last four player of the month honors. Dempsey started the month with four goals in an 8-1 rout of Providence, before netting the game-tying goal in the third period of an eventual 2-2 draw at New Hampshire. She was named the ECAC Player of the Month for November after leading Harvard to a 6-1-0 record with six goals, eight assists and 14 points. She earned ECAC Player of the Week honors Jan. 8 by having a six-point weekend at Union and RPI.
Related Link: Dempsey Named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week for Third Time in 2012-13
Dempsey's Hot Streak
Jillian Dempsey, who ranks third in the country with 2.25 points per game, second in goals per game (1.25) and eleventh in assists per game (1.00), is riding a career-high and nation-leading 30-game point streak. Dempsey extended her point streak Jan. 12 with a goal and an assist vs. Quinnipiac.
Get Ahead, Stay Ahead
Harvard has yet to trail in an ECAC contest this season, while holding a lead during 76.8 percent of the time. Overall, Harvard has held the lead 69.7 percent of the time, trailed 5.8 percent and been tied 24.5 percent.
In the Rankings
The Crimson is ranked No. 2 USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings and No. 3 in the USCHO poll. Harvard was ranked No. 2 by USCHO, but fell to No. 3 this week despite outscoring Princeton, 3-0, and Quinnipiac, 4-0, last weekend. The No. 2 spot is Harvard's highest ranking in the polls since coming in at No. 1 in the USCHO poll on March 10, 2008.
Related Link: NCAA Rankings
Winning the Kill
During ECAC play, Harvard has scored more goals than opponents while the Crimson is on the penalty kill. Harvard has scored two short-handed goals and has allowed its opponents to score just one power-play tally.
Harvard has not allowed a third-period goal in eleven ECAC games, it is the only team to have blanked all of its opponents in any period.
Freshman Mary Parker has made an immediate impact on the ice this season. The newcomer ranks 14th among freshman with 0.75 points per game. In the complete national charts, Parker is 54th in assists per game (0.62) and 91st in points per game.
D is the Key
The Crimson's defense, led by the goaltending tandem of Emerance Maschmeyer and Laura Bellamy, has been the toughest to score on in the country this season. Harvard has allowed just 0.69 goals per game to rank first in scoring defense. Minnesota sits in second at 0.82 GAA. Harvard is the only team in the NCAA to not have allowed more than two goals in a single game this season. The NCAA record for scoring defense is 0.85, set by Wisconsin in 2007, while Harvard's mark of 1.00 in 2008 is the second-best mark.
Related Link: NCAA Statistics
Back of the Net
The Crimson's offense has been stellar this season, posting 4.25 goals per game in its first 16 contests. Harvard's offensive output is ranked fourth in the NCAA to combine with its 0.69 goals against average for a 3.56 scoring margin. Only Minnesota (4.91) is winning by more goals per game than Harvard.
Harvard is undefeated when leading after one period (13-0-0), leading after two periods (12-0-0), scoring first (14-0-1), outshooting opponents (13-0-1), scoring three or more goals (10-0-0), in night games (9-0-0), in the ECAC (11-0-0), in the Ivy League (7-0-0), on Fridays (7-0-0) and Saturdays (5-0-1).
The Crimson is undefeated in its last eleven games for the third longest active streak in the country. Boston College, Harvard's first round opponent in the Beanpot, has not lost in its last 17 (15-0-2) and Minnesota has won its first 22 games of the season. The Gophers' season-opening streak has helped Minnesota win its last 30 games to set a new NCAA record, topping Harvard's previous mark of 21 set in 2008.
Harvard is off to one of its best starts in program history with 14 wins in its first 16 games. This is the quickest the Crimson's has posted 13 wins since starting the 2007-08 campaign 14-1-0.
Armstrong for the Win
Kalley Armstong has tallied six goals this season and four have counted as the game-winner. She scored the initial goal in a shutout of Brown Nov. 2 and has followed with Harvard's second goal in 3-1 wins over No. 2 Cornell and No. 9 Northeastern and the first goal in a win over Quinnipiac. Armstrong is tied for the third in the nation with her four game-winners.
Three Crimson skaters, Jillian Dempsey, Lyndsey Fry and Michell Picard, and head coach Katey Stone traveled to Blaine, Minn., during the final six days of 2012 for the U.S. Women's National Team Winter Camp. Stone, who doubles as Team USA's head coach, ran the camp which featured two days of physical fitness testing, three days of practice and three games. Former Crimson Julie Chu '06-07 and Caitlin Cahow '06-08 were also at the camp along with current ECAC players Jordan Smelker (RPI), Kelly Babstock (Quinnipiac) and Alyssa Gagliardi (Cornell).
Related Link: Dempsey, Fry, Picard to Participate in U.S. Women's National Team Winter Camp
Sarah Edney skated with the Canadian Women's Development Team during the 2013 Meco Cup, helping the squad to the gold medal at the Füssen Arena Jan. 6. Former Crimson goalie Christina Kessler '10 also starred for the Canadians at the event. Edney added Canada's eighth goal in the team's 8-3 win over Russia in the gold-medal match, while Kessler started in goal and picked put the win. The empty-net tally was the first of the tournament for Edney, a sophomore defender from Mississauga, Ont. Kessler also added a 4-0 shutout victory in Canada's first preliminary game against Switzerland.
Related Link: Edney Helps Canada's Development Team to Meco Cup Gold
White the Bright
Harvard will host its first "White the Bright" game Feb. 8 when archrival Yale visits Bright Hockey Center with the goal of breaking the program's single-game attendance record. The Crimson's record since women's hockey became an NCAA sport is 1,921 fans, set Jan. 11, 2004 in a matchup against Dartmouth. Harvard will provide a number of ways to receive free tickets, while also having free giveaways and gameday promotions for fans. For more information, visit GoCrimson.com.
Related Link: Women's Hockey Looks to Break Program's Attendance Record at "White the Bright
The Crimson will make the trek to Clarkson and St. Lawrence next weekend for a pair of ECAC contests.