Harvard aims for its eighth-straight victory on Friday night at Union. (Elan Kawesch)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Coming off a thorough victory over Hockey East opponent UConn, the No. 6/6 Harvard women's hockey team takes a step back into conference action as the Crimson (9-2-2, 7-1-1 ECAC) hits the road again, this time to the Capital District to take on Union (4-13-3, 1-7-0 ECAC) and Rensselaer (4-13-3, 2-6-0 ECAC) Friday and Saturday.
Ivy League Digital Network
After an incredibly successful inaugural year that saw over 1,000 events streamed live, The Ivy League Digital Network has returned for 2014-15, providing fans with unprecedented coverage of the Ivy League.
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Sophomore Sydney Daniels continues to light things up for Harvard as four of the Crimson's eight wins have come off her stick. After Tuesday's hat trick – the first for Harvard in nearly three years – Daniels has accounted for 12 points on the year (11-1—12), and leads the team in goals and shots. Also one of the more physical presences on the ice for Harvard, Daniels is second on the squad with 16 penalty minutes.
Mash on the Mark
After a rocky start to the year, including time missed to be with Team Canada at the Four Nations Cup, junior netminder Emerance Maschmeyer has returned to form of late. In her last four starts – all wins – the Bruderheim, Alberta, native has allowed just three goals, including just one to offensive powerhouse and then-No. 4 Quinnipiac. That performance earned her ECAC Goaltender of the Week honors, before eight saves in 40 minutes at Brown and an excellent 23-save performance in the 3-1 win at Yale last Saturday.
Early and Often
The Crimson is unbeaten when scoring first this season (5-0-2), but has shown it can come back after falling behind early by securing four wins after opponents found the back of the net first. Harvard also relies on outshooting its foes, as all nine wins have come when taking more shots (9-1-1).
Line 'Em Up
Over the past nine games, Miye D'Oench, Samantha Reber and Hillary Crowe each played on the same line. Last year, the triad accounted for 96 points on 45 goals and 51 assists combined. In 12 games of 2014-15, the three skaters have already tallied 40 points (15-25—40) of Harvard's 100 total points as three of the top four point-earners on the ice for the Crimson.
The Daily Special
The Harvard special teams have varied this season, allowing eight power play goals while scoring seven. But versus Dartmouth and Princeton, the Crimson was perfect in each outing. The Harvard penalty kill has been nothing short of stellar, halting 21-of-21 opponents' power plays over the last six contests.
On the season, Harvard is 25.9-percent with the skater advantage – good enough for fourth in the nation behind Minnesota, Dartmouth and Sacred Heart – and an improving 83.3-percent on the kill. Combined, Harvard sits as the best special teams unit in the nation at No. 1 overall with a 62.7-percent.
At 4-13-3, Union enters the weekend stretch having just being shutout at home last weekend versus Quinnipiac and Princeton, after ending 2014 on a high note with a 2-0-1 streak. Though they average just over one goal per outing (giving up 2.7), the Dutchwomen have been able to spread things around. Kathryn Tomaselli leads the squad with five goals, adding four assists for nine points on the year. Jessica Kaminsky totes the line as far as dishing out helpers are concerned, assisting on eight goals (2-8—10). Alex Tancrell-Fontaine (2-6—8) and Nicole Russell (2-3—5) also have played a crucial role in the offense.
The strength of the Dutchwomen, however, lies between the pipes where Shenae Lundberg stands. Lundberg was just named the ECAC Goaltender of the Month after a stellar month for Union, including an impressive 59-save shutout of Northeastern in the Dutchwomen's 1-0 victory at Matthews Arena.
In the last outing between the two teams, Harvard took its 23rd consecutive victory over Union, 5-2, behind a five-goal second period, featuring a three point game from D'Oench (2-1—3). Molly Tissenbaum collected her first career start and win in the game, saving 7-of-9 shots she faced.
The Engineers (4-13-3, 2-6-0 ECAC) are 1-1-1 in the New Year, downing Princeton (4-3) before falling in a close contest to Quinnipiac (1-0) and drawing with Providence (3-3) all in Houston Field House. RPI's only other ECAC win came at the hands of Brown on Dec. 5.
Averaging 1.95 goals per outing, the Engineers are led by a trio of scorers in Alexa Gruschow (6-7—13), Ali Svoboda (6-6—11) and Laura Horwood (5-5—10), but have received a lot of production from elsewhere as well. Taylor Mahoney leads the team with nine assists, adding two goals for 11 points, and freshman Marisa Raspa has five goals on the season, two of which were game winners.
In net, the senior platoon of Kelly O'Brien and Brianna Piper have guided RPI this season. O'Brien has seen 11 gmaes, allowing 33 goals (3.01) and racking up 327 saves (.908). Her partner Piper has allowed 30 goals in nine games, steering aside 237 saves for an .888 save percentage. O'Brien owns a 3-8 record, while Piper has gone 1-5-3 for the Engineers.
Harvard opened its season with RPI on Halloween (Oct. 31) to the tune of a 4-1 win in the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. D'Oench found the back of the net twice, while Lexie Laing and Mary Parker rounded out the scoring. In net for the Crimson, Brianna Laing earned the win stopping 12-of-13 shots.
Harvard stays on the road this week with trips to the Granite State to take on UNH on Wednesday (7 p.m.) and Dartmouth on Saturday (2 p.m.).