Pictured: Anna McDonald is one of seven Minnesota natives on
the Harvard roster.
Photo courtesy: Gil Talbot Photography
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Pucci, Kessler Earn Weekly ECAC Hockey Honors
The ninth-ranked Harvard women’s hockey team hosts No. 2 Minnesota for a pair of games at Bright Hockey Center this weekend. The Crimson has won three straight, while the Golden Gophers are riding a four-game win streak.
Follow From Home
GoCrimson.com will provide live statistics for this weekend’s games, all home games and most road contests this season. Live audio and video will also be available on GoCrimson.com. Matt Sawyer and Glenn Conway will have the call.
Entering Friday’s game, Harvard trails Minnesota, 4-8, in the 12 meetings between the schools. After winning the first three games in the series, Harvard has lost eight of the last nine contests, including five in a row.
Last season, Minnesota swept the Crimson in two games at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. The Golden Gophers won the first game, 3-1, Nov. 28, 2008, despite 19 saves by Christina Kessler and a goal by Jenny Brine ’09. On the following afternoon, Sarah Vaillancourt ’08-09 and Kathryn Farni netted a goal each and Kessler turned aside 25 shots, but Minnesota edged Harvard, 3-2.
Last Time Out
Playing in her first game of the season, Liza Ryabkina netted the game-winning goal with 3:25 to play to help Harvard earn a 3-2 win over Dartmouth at Bright Nov. 25. Kessler recorded 27 saves, and Jillian Dempsey and and Josephine Pucci joined Ryabkina with a goal and assist apiece.
Harvard Against The WCHA
The Crimson has played 32 games in program history against teams from the WCHA. Harvard owns a 10-21-1 record against those opponents. The Crimson last defeated a WCHA team when Harvard swept Minnesota Duluth, 3-1, and 4-0, during the 2006-07 season.
For the third consecutive week, a Harvard player was named the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week, as Josephine Pucci took home the award Nov. 30. Jillian Dempsey was tabbed the conference’s top weekly rookie Nov. 16 and Nov. 23. Christina Kessler was honored for her stellar play as the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week Nov. 30.
Hall Of Fame Worthy
The 1998 U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey Team, which included three former Crimson players, and was led by head coach Ben Smith ’68, was recently enshrined into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame Dec. 1. The 1998 U.S. women’s roster included former Harvard skaters Sandra Whyte ’92, A.J. Mleczko ’97-99 and Angela Ruggiero ’02-04. The team was inducted at The Westin Boston Waterfront hotel in Boston.
Just Win, Christina!
Senior goaltender Christina Kessler is 61-16-4 (.778) in her career in net, placing her second on Harvard’s all-time goalie wins list. Ali Boe ’06 is Harvard’s all-time winningest goaltender with 63 victories. Kessler is tied for the NCAA career record with a .941 save percentage, as she has stopped 1,745 of 1,855 shots faced during her career. Jessie Vetter (Wisconsin 2006-09) owned a .941 save percentage to set the record.
A Balanced Attack
The Crimson has had 12 different players score at least one goal this year, as the team has netted a total of 31 goals. Fifteen players have at least one point to their credit and Harvard had 15 different players light the lamp last season as well, scoring a total of 95 goals.
Harvard Coach Katey Stone
Katey Stone is in her 16th season as the Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women’s Ice Hockey, and she brings a 325-139-23 record into Friday’s game. Stone, who ranks second all-time in Division I victories, has led Harvard to all seven of its NCAA tournament appearances. Stone is also the active leader in victories among Division I women’s hockey coaches.
Stone is currently 12 wins shy of tying the all-time Division I record, held by Laura Halldorson (337 victories).
Around The Ivy League
The Crimson has earned three straight wins against Ivy League opponents after topping Dartmouth Nov. 25. The Crimson stands at 3-2 against Ancient Eight opponents, tied with Dartmouth and Princeton for second place. Cornell remains in first with a 3-0 Ivy League conference record.
When The Game Is On The Line
Six different Harvard players have scored a game-winning goal this season -- Liza Ryabkina, Jillian Dempsey, Leanna Coskren, Anna McDonald, Cori Bassett and Kathryn Farni.
Jillian Dempsey (1-3-4) and Josephine Pucci (1-3-4) lead the Crimson with four points apiece on the power play, while Leanna Coskren has a team-best two power-play tallies.
First Thing’s First
The Crimson was 18-0-2 when scoring first and 1-10-1 when the opponent lit the lamp first last season. So far in 2009-10, Harvard is 5-1-1 when netting the game’s first goal and 1-2 when the opposition scores first.
It’s All Over
Harvard is 99-1-4 since the start of the 2004-05 season when leading after two periods.
Welcome To The Show
Freshman Kaitlin Spurling has recorded a point in six of her first 10 games of her career (3-3-6). Classmate Jillian Dempsey has also had the scoring touch, notching six goals to give her the team lead. Dempsey also ranks second with 11 points, trailing Kate Buesser (5-9-14).
With its 3-0 victory over St. Lawrence Nov. 7, Harvard earned the 500th victory in program history. The Crimson owns a 504-290-39 (.628)record over its storied 31-year history.
To Be The Best ...
Harvard was 2-6-1 against top 10 opponents last season. With its 1-1 tie against No. 4 New Hampshire Nov. 18, the Crimson stands at 1-2-1 against ranked foes this year.
The Crimson was 9-4-2 record at Bright Hockey Center last season, while posting a 9-5-1 mark on the road. In six games this season, Harvard owns a 3-2-1 record on home ice.
This season, Harvard ranks third in the nation in scoring defense (1.50 goals allowed per contest), fourth in scoring margin (+1.60) and sixth on the penalty kill (40 of 44, .909). The Crimson also stands eighth in combined special teams (46 of 87, .532), ninth in scoring offense (3.10 goals scored per game) and 19th on power-play efficiency (6 of 43, .140).
Rank And File
Harvard is ranked ninth in both the latest USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls.
On The Road
The Crimson has played four road games this season, going 3-1. Harvard has won its last two on the road, topping Yale Nov. 20 and Brown Nov. 21.
Harvard netted three goals in the first and second periods in the Crimson’s 7-2 win over Quinnipiac Nov. 15. The team notched three goals in just one minute, 55 seconds of action in the second period, and the squad’s seven tallies marked the most for the program since Harvard defeated Boston University, 8-0, in the opening round of the Beanpot. On Nov. 21, Harvard scored three goals in the first 4:48 of action in the team’s 5-1 win at Yale.
Crimson Among The Nation’s Best
With 1.10 points per game, Jillian Dempsey ranks tied for third among the nation’s rookies in scoring. Kate Buesser stands 10th in the country among all players with 1.40 points per game and is ninth with 0.90 assists per game. At the blue line, Josephine Pucci is seventh among defenders with 0.70 points per game.
Stopping The Puck
Christina Kessler ranks fourth in the nation with a save percentage of .940 (233 of 248) and stands fifth with a 1.51 goals-against average. Kessler is also 11th in the nation with a winning percentage of .650 (6-3-1).
License to Kill
The Crimson boasts the nation’s sixth-best penalty kill unit, stopping 40 of 44 opponent power plays (.909). Harvard successfully killed the last 19 power plays by opponents dating back to Nov. 15.
Harvard, which has earned two shutous this season against St. Lawrence Nov. 7 and Yale No. 20, registered six clean sheets last season, after establishing a new program record with 14 shutouts during the 2007-08 season. Christina Kessler has recorded 23 shutouts through her first three seasons at Harvard, a program record.