No. 3 Harvard vs Quinnipiac
Harvard is set to make its 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and will host for the fourth time. (Photo: Jim Pierce)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After earning its first ECAC Tournament Championship since 2008, No. 3-seed Harvard women's hockey team has its eyes set on its sixth Frozen Four appearance in program history, but the Crimson (25-5-3) will have to get by conference foe Quinnipiac (26-8-3) to advance. The Crimson will square off with the Bobcats at 4 p.m. on Saturday in the Bright-Landry Hockey Center.
The NCAA Quarterfinals will be streamed live and for free on the Ivy League Digital Network. Fans can access live stats here, as well.
At the Point
- Harvard is making its 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and its third consecutive trip. Last season, the Crimson made the trek to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the fourth-seeded Wisconsin Badgers.
- Last weekend, Harvard picked up its sixth ECAC Tournament title, and first since 2008. The Crimson found itself down 2-1 in the third period to Cornell, but stormed back to score six in the frame to run away with a 7-3 victory over the Big Red in the title game.
- This will be the fourth time Harvard has hosted an NCAA Quarterfinals game, and the first since 2010. The Crimson has had some success in the Bright-Landry Hockey Center, going 2-1 as the host institution. Harvard picked up wins over Mercyhurst in 2005 (W, 5-4 – OT) and Dartmouth (W, 5-1), while its lone loss came at the hands of Cornell five years ago (L, 6-2).
Harvard rotates lines with a smooth transition, so smooth to where in any given game, one line will step up to carry the load. Before the New Year, Daniels, Armstrong and Fry combined for eight points (6-2—8) in 10 games (0.8 points per game), but in the 23 games since, the trio has combined for 48 points (22-26—48), which is up to 2.09 points per game. Heffernan, Laing and Parker have upped their ante in a similar fashion. Before skating together, the three Crimson combined for 1.7 points per game (5-12—17 in 10 games), but now as a line, the triad account for 2.6 points per game (28-32—60 in 23 games). Before Crowe left with an injury, she and her linemates, Reber and D'Oench, lit up the scoreboard for 2.52 points per contest (31-42—73 in 29 games).
|Line||Points as a Line (G-A-P)||PPG as a Line|
|Heffernan - Laing - Parker||28-32--60||2.6|
|D'Oench - Reber - Crowe||31-42--73||2.52|
|Daniels - Armstrong - Fry||22-26--48||2.09|
Here's the Sitch…
The Crimson is an outstanding 14-1-1 (.906) in the comforts of Bright-Landry Hockey Center this season, marking the most wins since 2009-10 and the best win-percentage since 2007-08 (100-percent, 17-0-0). The key for Harvard in getting to 25 wins this season has been scoring early and often. The Crimson is 15-1-2 when scoring first and owns the same record when taking a lead into the first intermission. Harvard also is a near-perfect 21-1-0 when scoring at least three goals, and 23-2-2 when holding opponents to two or fewer.
All of those factors, however, go right out the window when Crimson meet the Bobcats; in all three games this season, QU has scored first, held a lead after the first period and held Harvard to just two goals, but the Crimson still came away with three victories.
NCAA Tournament Shakedown
Recent History with Quinnipiac
Before taking the crown, the Crimson squared off with Quinnipiac in the Semifinals. That showdown was the first ever meeting between the two schools in a postseason event, making Saturday's duel the second postseason date in the short history of the series. This will be the 22nd official meeting between Harvard and QU.
Over the last two seasons, Harvard is 4-0-1 versus Quinnipiac, but nearly every game has been a knock-down-drag-out contest. This year the Crimson and Bobcats squared off in three 2-1 games, all of which have gone Harvard's way. On Dec. 6, an unbeaten QU squad (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.
This past weekend, Harvard found itself down an early goal for the third time in as many tries versus the Bobcats, thanks in part to an Emma Woods tally 6:16 into the first. But after a scoreless second period, the Crimson dented the scoreboard at 7:14 in the third, thanks to a powerful goal from Sarah Edney, but overtime was apparent once again. The Crimson fired on all cylanders, affording the Bobcats zero shots on goal, while sending three on target itself. Miye D'Oench made the last one count, brushing in a hard shot from Mary Parker near the boards for the game winner, sending Harvard into the Tournament Championship game.
Harvard owns the fourth-best scoring offense in the country, netting 3.73 goals per outing in 33 games. That success is thanks in large part to an incredibly deep group of forwards, led by ECAC Second Teamer Mary Parker. Parker owns a team-high 37 points, on 16 goals and 21 assists, including four game winners, a power play goal and a shorthanded tally.
Miye D'Oench has shown lengthy spurts of lightning in the offensive zone, and currently is on a four-game point streak. D'Oench has a team-best 19 goals, five of which have come on the power play. Not many defensemen can compete with her quick step and deke through the middle of the ice. Samantha Reber, one of D'Oench's linemates for the past two seasons, has been a sturdy force centering her line. Reber has 25 helpers this year and her 82 career assists places her in a tie for 10th all-time at Harvard. Hillary Crowe has put together a solid season as a senior as well, registering 10 goals and seven assists before suffering a late-season injury.
Lyndsey Fry became the 22nd Crimson ever to reach 100 career points earlier this year, and now owns 107 to her credit. She has been an all-star for Harvard on the top two lines all year long, holding down the fort with 18 points (6-12—18), including a crucial game-tying goal versus QU in the teams' first meeting. Line mate and Crimson co-captain Kalley Armstrong also has been a crucial component to Harvard's success. A leader on and off the ice, Armstrong has accounted for 13 goals, sending four in herself, and helping on nine.
Not many Crimson have been more exciting to watch than sophomore Sydney Daniels, however. Daniels has 18 goals, adding seven assists for 25 points. Of her 18 scores, seven have held up as game winners, the second highest margin in the nation. Freshmen Lexie Laing (10-13—23) and Karly Heffernan (8-10—18) have been solid contributors as well, finding time in greater than 30 games apiece, along with fellow classmate Haley Mullins (4-6—10).
Ministers of Defense
Sarah Edney was named the ECAC's Best Defenseman this season, and was deserving of the award. Edney sits in the top-15 as far as goals-per game for defensemen are concerned, tallying 20 points on seven scores and 13 assists. Her recent performance during the ECAC Tournament yielded her Most Outstanding Player accolades as she became the first Harvard d-man to score two goals in a game in nearly three years (last was Kelsey Romatoski in 2012).
She has been more than stout in the defensive zone, registering 39 blocks, but so have her counterparts. Fellow classmate Marissa Gedman leads the team with 46 blocks, and adds 11 points (3-8—11), while Josephine Pucci has 40 blocks in just 23 games; her biggest game came versus No. 1 Boston College, where she compiled nine stops versus the Eagles, a season-best for any Harvard defenseman this year. Michelle Picard has put forth some of the hardest minutes as well, boasting 16 points (4-12—16) and 28 blocks. Her physicality and speed has kept offenses in check all season long, especially when being paired with Edney.
Two sophomores in Abbey Frazer and Briana Mastel have been solid contributors as well for the rotating defense. Frazer is tough to beat along the boards, while Mastel is calm and collected in the middle of the zone. The two have combined for 13 points on four goals and nine assists, while stopping 39 shots together.
The position to tie it all together this season has been the goaltenders. Emerance Maschmeyer, a Third Team All-ECAC honoree, has been lights out, especially of late. After starting her campaign 0-2-2, Maschmeyer has gone 16-2-1 (currently on a four-game win streak through the ECAC Tournament). The Bruderheim, Alberta native owns a top-10 ranking among Division I goaltenders in goals against average (1.50 GAA – No. 8), save percentage (.941 – No. 7) and win percentage (.761 – No. 5).
Maschmeyer hasn't had success alone, however, has goalie partners Brianna Laing and Molly Tissenbaum have stepped up all year long. Laing moved herself into the top-15 all-time at Harvard in total wins (15) with her 8-1-0 record this season. She has played 25-percent of Harvard's games, with a .916 save percentage (164 saves) and a 1.75 GAA (15 goals allowed). Tissenbaum picked up her first career victory this season and has stopped 31-of-34 shots faced in six games played.
Should Harvard defeat Quinnipiac, the Crimson would make its sixth appearance in the Frozen Four, first since 2008. The winner of the Harvard-Quinnipiac showdown will square off in Minnesota's Ridder Arena on March 20, against the winner of the No. 2 Boston College-Clarkson matchup.