The Harvard women's hockey team is set for its first ever outdoor game when the Crimson takes on the Huskies of Northeastern on Thursday. (Elan Kawesch)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The No. 4/5 Harvard women's hockey team (9-1-2, 7-1-1 ECAC) is set for the program's first-ever outdoor game as the Crimson plays host to Northeastern in historic Fenway Park. The two Boston-area schools are taking part in the Citi Frozen Fenway 2014 festivities. The crosstown rivals are getting together for the 55th time in the series' history. In attendance will be a bevy of Olympians, including Head Coach Katey Stone and skaters Julie Chu, Lyndsey Fry, Michelle Picard and Josephine Pucci who will represent the United States at the 2014 Olympics.
The First Line
• The Crimson is set for its first action in nearly a month since a thrilling 1-1 tie against rival and No. 6 Boston College on Dec. 7. The atmosphere for the duel was enhanced by "White the Bright," which brought in 1,729 fans, the third-highest home crowd in program history. Emerance Maschmeyer was a stallwart in the net for Harvard, steering aside a career-high 51 shots to keep the Crimson unbeaten for the ninth consecutive game. Classmate Miye D'Oench scored the game's first goal after stealing the puck at the blue line and taking it home early in the first period.
• Harvard enters the weekend with the nation's second-longest unbeaten streak (nine games), tied with Robert Morris (both are 7-0-2 in the last seven contests). The Crimson trail only Wisconsin (14 games, 12-0-2) after North Dakota ended Minnesota's incredible 62-game win streak on Nov. 17.
• Thursday's contest in Fenway Park serves as a precursor to this year's Beanpot first round game on Feb. 4 at Boston College's Conte Forum. Harvard and Northeastern will duke it out for the 55th time.
Follow @HarvardCrimson, the official Twitter handle of Harvard Athletics, for all the latest news and notes on your favorite Crimson student-athletes and teams. Fans also are encouraged to follow @HarvardWHockey for all things Harvard women's hockey. Use the hashtag #GoCrimson to see what fans are saying about Crimson athletics.
- Thursday's @FrozenFenway contest marks the first time @HarvardWHockey has played in an outdoor game. #IntoTheWild
- .@HarvardWHockey brings with it to Fenway Park the nation's second-longest unbeaten streak at nine games (7-0-2).
- Sophomore @Me_yay_doench leads @HarvardWHockey with 12 points, owning a team-best seven goals in 2013-14.
Up Up Up!
After starting the season in both the USA Today and USCHO.com polls at No. 9, the Crimson have remained in the national mix for 12 straight weeks, steadily climbing the ranks. Harvard currently sits at No. 4 in the USA Today and No. 5 in the USCHO.com polls, its highest in each since February of last season.
A Quick Look at Harvard
On the attack, a quartet of Crimson skaters have reached the double-digit point plateau through the first 12 games; Sophomore Miye D'Oench leads the way with a team-best 12 points (7-5-12), followed by both Hillary Crowe (5-6-11) and Samantha Reber (3-8-11). With her five goals, sophomore Dylanne Crugnale (5-5-10) is tied alongside Crowe and freshman Sydney Daniels for the second-most scores.
Though the offense shines weekly, the defense is where Harvard makes its mark. In front of a young, yet steadfast goaltender platoon of Emerance Maschmeyer (1.08 GAA, 294 saves) and Brianna Laing (0.00 GAA, 50 saves), the Crimson blue liners have been nothing short of tremendous. Harvard is the nation's best when it comes to killing penalties, staving off 62-of-63 opponents' power plays.
Scouting the Huskies
Northeastern enters the Wild with a 7-10-1 mark, going 3-5-1 in Hockey East play. The Huskies are 2-2 over the last four contests, splitting the series with Vermont, before downing Dartmouth and dropping a 5-2 decision to Boston University.
A trio of Red and Black skaters lead the way offensively for NU, notably Katie MacSorley (9-6-15) and Kelly Wallace (8-7-15); the pair have combined for 17 of Northeastern's 38 goals this season. Paige Savage also gives the Huskies a scoring threat with her four-goal season to date (4-7-11).
The Series with Northeastern
The Crimson and Huskies are prepared to do battle for the 55th time in the rivalry's history. Northeastern holds the all-time advantage in the series owning a 33-18-3 mark against Harvard.
Today's game features a preview of the first round of the 2014 Beanpot, set for Feb. 4 at Boston College. Last time the two teams met, the then-No. 6 Crimson downed then-No. 9 Huskies in Matthews Arena, 3-1.
Firing on All Cylinders
Unbeaten in its last nine contests, Harvard enters the New Year looking to continue with its momentum from the fall semester. In the last five games, the Crimson has outscored opponents 16-2, all of which came in the comforts of the Bright-Landry Hockey Center during a lengthy homestand.
In the recent 5-0 win over Ivy League and ECAC foe Dartmouth, six individual Crimson either set or tied career-best performances in the route.
Making 'Em Count
In 12 games to start the 2013-14 season, Harvard has outshot its opponents just twice – at Rensselaer on Nov. 1 and at Union on Nov. 2. The Crimson has been outshot to the tune of 355-298 in total, yet has scored 36 goals to opponents 11, giving Harvard (.121) a clear advantage over its opponents (.031) when it comes to converting those shots.
Quick Start Crimson
The Crimson has been nothing short of tremendous to start any given game this season. Harvard is outscoring the opposition, 14-1, in the opening period, and 13-2 in the second. The Crimson is 8-0-2 when holding a lead after one period this season owns the same mark when notching the game's first tally.
To say that Harvard has been "killing it" on the penalty kill this season is an understatement. The Crimson has allowed just one power play goal in 52 chances this season (62/63; 98.4-percent), by far the best mark in the country, even when it is committing an average 5.25 penalties per game. The next best team on the kill is ECAC opponent Clarkson (76/82; 92.7-percent).
Even when not on the penalty kill, the Crimson defense has been stellar this season, playing its part to allow just 11 goals in 12 games. Junior Sarah Edney 27 blocked shots leads the way for a defensive unit that is quick to the puck. Freshman Briana Mastel has felled 23 shots while captain Marissa Gedman has steered away 22, parceling a rotation of defensive pairs that has led to 141 blocked shots for Harvard this season. When pucks do get past the defensive wall, it's not often that they find the back of the net with both Emerance Maschmeyer (298 saves) and Brianna Laing (50 saves) in net.
Mind the Net
Emerance Maschmeyer has asserted herself as one of the nation's premier goaltenders this season, finding herself ranked in the top-4 in every national category. The sophomore's .964 save percentage is tops in the land and her 11 goals allowed is the fewest by a goaltender with at least six starts. On top of that, Maschmeyer is ranked No. 2 in goals against average (11 goals in 543:20 for a 1.08 GAA) and No. 4 in shutouts with four this season. In the Harvard history books, the Bruderheim, Alberta, native is one whitewash away from tying her career high and three away from placing herself in the top-5 all-time in program history.
Though Maschmeyer has firm control of the full-time starter in Cambridge, freshman Brianna Laing sits closely by, proving her mettle after a stellar collegiate debut. The Marblehead, Mass., local turned aside all 21 of the shots she faced in her start against Colgate, only to follow that up with a stellar outing between the pipes, stopping 29 shots against UNH for her second career shutout to keep the Crimson rolling.
The Ubiquitous Edney
After being selected to the Preseason All-ECAC team, defenseman Sarah Edney has certainly lived up to the billing. The junior can be found everywhere on the ice, leading the defense or finding a passing lane in the offensive zone. While Edney leads the squad with 27 blocked shots to her name, the Mississaugua, Ontario, product has been on an offensive streak as well. Edney is fifth on the team with nine points (3-6-8), recently ending a career-best five-game point streak.
A Heapin' Helpin' of Helpers
The Crimson has done well to spread the puck around with four scorers registering at least five goals, led by Miye D'Oench's seven. On 36 total goals this season, Harvard has racked up 53 assists, led by Samantha Reber's eight. Four other Crimson have at least five assists, including D'Oench, Dylanne Crugnale, Hillary Crowe and Sarah Edney.