The Harvard women's hockey team is in search of an ECAC Tournament title to pair with its Regular Season crown. (Elan Kawesch)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Following a sweep of Ivy rival Yale in the ECAC Quarterfinals in the comforts of home, No. 4/4 Harvard is set to make an appearance in the conference semifinals this weekend in Potsdam, New York. The second-seeded Crimson will square off with No. 3-seed Quinnipiac in the second semifinal game in Clarkson's Cheel Arena at 4:05 p.m. on Saturday with a trip to the conference title game on the line.
The Crimson and Bobcats, who are meeting for the third time this season and for the first time ever in the playoffs, will duel in front of a national audience live on ESPN3 as a part of the championship weekend package between the ECAC and the World Wide Leader in Sports.
The First Line
- This is the 17th year in a row Harvard finds itself in the ECAC Semifinals, the longest streak ever by any one team. In fact, Dartmouth owns the second-longest streak at eight consecutive seasons from 1998-2006. Since 1999, the Crimson has been a mainstay as one of the conference's perennial powers.
- Harvard and Quinnipiac are meeting for the third time this season; the Crimson owns a 2-0 record over the Bobcats this season, a 2-1 win in Bright-Landry and a 2-1 overtime thriller in Hamden.
- This will be the 12th time Harvard has seen a ranked opponent this season. The Crimson owns a 6-2-3 mark against foes in the top-10, including its two wins over the Bobcats.
(E)veryone (S)hould (P)ay atte(N)tion
The ECAC announced this week that the championship weekend would appear in front of a national audience on ESPN3. With four teams in the nation's top-10 appearing in the semifinals, the weekend's slate is one not to miss. Click here for more information from the ECAC.
Though it was a difficult end to the regular season, Harvard clinched a share of the ECAC Regular Season Championship and an outright Ivy League title on Saturday. The Crimson won its seventh conference regular season title since 1994 and aims for its sixth tournament title after its recent victory over Yale in the Quarterfinals.
With some help from Yale taking down Princeton two weekends ago, Harvard was crowned the Ivy League champion for the third consecutive year, its second straight year as outright victors. The Crimson finished Ancient Eight play with an 8-2 record, besting Princeton's 7-2-1 mark and Cornell's 5-5-0 record. Dartmouth (4-5-1), Yale (4-6-0) and Brown (1-9-0) rounded out the rest of the League.
Harvard's third championship of the 2014-15 season came on Feb. 10, when the Crimson upended No. 1 Boston College for the 2015 Beanpot Championship. It marked the first time since 2010 that Harvard claimed the Beanpot – its 14th overall in the 37 years it has been a Boston tradition.
Bringing the Firepower
Offensively speaking, Harvard's ability to find the back of the net is among the nation's best. In 30 games, the Crimson has scored 114 goals, a clip of 3.80 goals per game which is good enough for third in the country. Its power play is top-four nationally as well, chalking up 18 goals in 81 opportunities for a 22.2-percent conversion.
Spreading the Wealth
Five Crimson skaters have at least 22 points this season, led by juniors Mary Parker (14-18—32) and Miye D'Oench (17-13—30) who have combined for 62 points for Harvard. Senior co-captain Samantha Reber owns 23 assists on the year, compiled with six goals for 29 points. Harvard's core of youthful skaters shines through with the likes of sophomore Sydney Daniels and freshman Lexie Laing. Daniels is tops on the squad with her 18 goals – seven of which have held up as game winners – while Laing has been a highly consistent rookie presence, leading her class with 22 points on nine goals and 13 assists.
Of the 30 games this season, 14 have seen multi-goal scorers, including four contests with at least two two-goal scorers. D'Oench leads the charge registering at least two goals in five different outings, while both Lyndsey Fry and Sydney Daniels have both registered hat tricks.
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.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans including school-specific and league-wide passes. To learn more about the Ivy League Digital Network or to sign-up today, click here.
Use the all new Social Stream on GoCrimson.com to stay connected with the Crimson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube this year. The Social Stream brings the conversation from all three platforms into one convenient location, allowing fans of all Harvard Athletics teams to monitor the action in real time.
Quarterfinals (Feb. 28-March 1)
No. 1 Clarkson def. No. 8 Dartmouth (6-0, 4-1)
No. 2 Harvard def. No. 7 Yale (2-1, 3-0)
No. 3 Quinnipiac def. No. 6 Princeton (7-0, 2-0)
No. 4 Cornell def. No. 5 St. Lawrence (3-1, 3-2)
Semifinals (March 7) – ESPN3
No. 1 Clarkson vs. No. 4 Cornell – 1 p.m.
No. 2 Harvard vs. No. 3 Quinnipiac – 4 p.m.
Championship Game (March 8) – ESPN3
Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner – 2 p.m.
Recent History with the Bobcats
Over the last two seasons, Harvard is 3-0-1 versus Quinnipiac, but nearly every game has been a knock-down-drag-out contest. This year the Crimson and Bobcats squared off in a pair of 2-1 games, both of which went Harvard's way. On Dec. 6, an unbeaten QU (13-0-3) visited the Bright-Landry Hockey Center to take on the Crimson (5-2-2). The Bobcats scored first thanks to Lindsey West, but Harvard's Lyndsey Fry evened things up in the first. After no scoring transpired in the third, freshman Haley Mullins knocked in a shot from Karly Heffernan at 7:09 for the eventual winner in a tense game.
In Hamden on Jan. 30, the visiting Crimson went down a score early once again, this time just 2:36 into the game. Towards the end of the first period, senior co-captain Kalley Armstrong evened things up with a wrister from the hashmarks to beat Laden. The two skated hard into the overtime period, where Sydney Daniels staked her claim on things. Sarah Edney ripped a turnaround shot from the faceoff circle to Laden's right, but Daniels got a stick on it at the last minute to deflect the trajectory and push it to the back of the net for the OT winner.
Riding the quick moves of Chelsea Laden in net, No. 6/6 Quinnipiac comes into the championship weekend on a three-game winning streak, all three of which were shutout victories. The Bobcats own the nation's stingiest defense, which yields a nation-best 1.06 goals per outing; a lofty matchup for Harvard's fourth-ranked offense (3.68 GPG). In its quarterfinal series with travel partner Princeton, QU handled the Tigers with ease, 7-0 and 2-0 in High Point Solutions Arena.
The Bobcats average 2.67 goals per outing, and feature six 20-point scorers and 11 10-point scorers. Freshman sensation Taylar Cianfarano leads the nation in game winners (8) and the Bobcats in points (17-13—30). Junior Nicole Connery has 27 points (13-14—27), followed closely by senior Nicole Kosta (10-16—26). Sophomore Emma Woods has been quietly successful as well, registering 10 goals (four GWG) and 13 assists, while Shiann Darkangelo, QU's most recent 100-point scorer, sits at 20 points on 10 goals and 10 assists.
Laden is one of the premier tenders in the conference, recently setting single-season mark with her 16th shutout of the season in 34 games started. She's allowed just 37 goals (1.09 GAA) and has turned aside 520 shots for a .934 save percentage as well.
If Harvard gets past Quinnipiac in the semifinals, the Crimson will then turnaround to potentially play the winner of the first semifinal game between host and first-seed Clarkson and fourth-seeded Cornell. Harvard is 0-1-1 versus Clarkson this season and 2-0-0 versus Cornell. The ECAC title game also will be aired live on ESPN3, taking place at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Cheel Arena.