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No. 9 Women's Hockey Meets No. 7 Minnesota for Two-Game, Non-Conference Series

Marissa Gedman leads all Harvard rookies with five points on the season (Gil Talbot).

Game Notes (pdf)

Harvard-Minnesota Video Preview

The Particulars

Harvard continues its run against ranked opponents, flying to Minnesota to take on the No. 7 Gophers in a two-game series at Ridder Arena. The two games will be the first non-conference contests of the season for the Crimson and begins a streak of five-straight non-league matchups, four of which come against nationally ranked opponents.
 
Follow From Home
Harvard will provide live statistics for this weekend's games, all home games and most road contests this season.  Video and audio are available for both games this weekend, and links can be found on the women's hockey schedule on GoCrimson.com.  

Series History
The Crimson and Gophers have faced off 14 times with the first matchup coming during the 1997-98 season. Harvard captured the inagural game between the two sides, 3-2, and won the next two as well. In the overall series, however, Harvard trails with a record of 5-8-1, having dropped five straight games against Minnesota between 2003 and 2009.   

Last Year Against the Gophers
The Harvard defense had arguably its finest showing of the 2009-10 season in a two-game series against No. 2 Minnesota at Bright Hockey Center. The Crimson, led by goalie Christina Kessler '10, skated to a 1-0 win on Dec. 4 and forced a 0-0 tie the following afternoon.

Liza Ryabkina (Kharkiv, Ukraine) scored the only goal in the first game, redirecting a Jillian Dempsey (Winthrop, Mass.) pass into the Gopher net just 33 seconds into the third period to give Harvard the 1-0 win. Kessler made 24 saves in the first game and 29 saves in the second game of the series to force the scoreless draw.

Last Time Out
A night after upsetting No. 9/10 Dartmouth, 5-3, at home, the Harvard repeated the feat on the road, skating to a 3-2 victory over the Big Green Saturday afternoon at Thompson Arena.

The Crimson rallied to tie the score early in the third as Alisa Baumgartner (West Vancouver, B.C.) registered her first goal of the season off an Ashley Wheeler (Concord, Mass.) pass, giving Wheeler an assist in back-to-back contests. With just over two minutes remaining in the game, Jillian Dempsey struck again, potting her second goal of the game off a Leanna Coskren (Walpole, Mass.) pass to give the Crimson the 3-2 lead for good.

Harvard held the Big Green to one power-play goal on four chances while Harvard was 0-for-1 in man-up chances. Laura Bellamy (Duluth, Minn.) registered a season-high 28 saves in her third win of the season. Harvard earned the win against the Big Green despite being outshot for just the second time this year.

Harvard Coach Katey Stone
Katey Stone, the Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Hockey, is in her 17th season as Harvard's head coach, and she holds a 343-146-29 career  record, the most all-time victories in Division I women's hockey. Stone has led Harvard to all eight of its NCAA tournament appearances and was named the head coach of the U.S. Women's National Team in the summer of 2010.
 
Crimson Captains
Leading the Crimson are three senior captains: Kate Buesser (Wolfeboro, N.H.), Leanna Coskren and Liza Ryabkina.

New Faces
Seven freshmen are donning the crimson, black and white this season. The class of 2014 is comprised of goaltender Lauren Joarnt (White Bear Lake, Minn.), Kalley Armstrong (Maple, Ont.), Lyndsey Fry (Chandler, Ariz.), Marissa Gedman (Framingham, Mass.), Gina McDonald (New Brighton, Minn.), Elizabeth Parker (Acton, Mass.) and Jackie Young (Medford, Mass.).

Silver Stone
Katey Stone returned to the Harvard bench after missing four games due to her committment to the U.S. National Women's Team. Stone led Team USA to a silver medal at the 2010 Four Nations Cup in Newfoundland, Canada in mid-November. Stone's squad swept through pool play, downing defending champion Canada, 3-2, but fell to the Canadians in the gold-medal game by a 3-2 score in overtime. Former Harvard players Caitlin Cahow '08 and Julie Chu '06-07 were on the U.S. roster, as well as current sophomore Josephine Pucci (Pearl River, N.Y.).

Hold Your Fire
In 24 periods of regulation hockey so far this season, Harvard has only allowed double-digit shots eight times in a given period. Against Yale, Harvard limited the Bulldogs to 13 shots in the game including just three in the second period. Brown managed 15 total shots and fired just two on net in the second stanza. Harvard held Colgate to just two shots in the third period in a 3-1 win and also held Quinnipiac to just two shots in the third period of a 4-1 loss. The Crimson was outshot for just the second time this season Nov. 20 at Dartmouth, but came away from Hanover, N.H., with a 3-2 victory. 

Harvard has yet to allow more than 30 shots to an opposing team in a game this season. The Crimson is averaging 30.4 shots per game to its opponents' 22.2 and is outshooting its opponents 243-178 through six games. Harvard's 243 shots on goal on the season is the highest total in league play.

About Minnesota
The Gophers enter the Harvard series on a two-game winning streak having downed Minnesota State, 1-0 and 6-2, last weekend in Mankato, Minn. While Minnesota has five losses on the season to date, it has also seen one of the toughest early schedules in the country, having already played six games against ranked opponents, including two against top-ranked Wisconsin. Minnesota came out on top of a 7-5 slugfest against the Badgers Nov. 5, but has dropped every other matchup against a ranked opponent this season.

A trio of freshman forwards sit atop the team scoring chart and five Gophers have already logged double-digit points in the potent offense. Rookie Kelly Terry leads all players with 14 points (6-8-14) while classmates Amanda Kessel (5-7-12) and Sarah Davis (4-7-11) round out the top three. Junior Sarah Erickson has collected 10 points on the year (6-4-10), as has fellow junior Anne Schleper (2-8-10), the top-scoring defenseman on the Minnesota roster. Sophomore goalie Noora Raty brings a 7-3-0 record into this weekend's games to go along with a 1.81 goals against average and .935 save percentage.     

Getting Involved
Through the first eight games, five of the six freshmen that have seen game action have registered at least one point. Marissa Gedman leads all rookies, and is second on the team, with five points (1-4-5) on the season, while Kalley Armstrong has two points (1-1-2) on the year and Gina McDonald had an assist against Brown. Elizabeth  Parker picked up her first goal of her career against Dartmouth Nov. 19 and Jackie Young nearly picked up her first point against Colgate, hitting the pipe with a slapshot from the blueline. Lauren Joarnt has seen action in three games this season and enters the Minnesota series with a .894 save percentage and 2.07 GAA.

It's All Over
Harvard is 113-2-6 (.958) since the start of the 2004-05 season when leading after two periods.

A Note About the Schedule
After facing Dartmouth in two-straight contests Nov. 19-20, Harvard will play its second consecutive two-game series when it takes on Minnesota Nov. 26 and 28. Harvard has never played back-to-back two-game series in the history of the program.  

There's Some History Here
While Harvard and Minnesota have only met 14 times, a handful of those games have been on a bigger stage than normal. The first meeting between the two teams kicked off Harvard's 1997-98 schedule and was the opening game of the All-American Tournament, hosted by the Gophers.

The two teams also met in the NCAA tournament in back-to-back-to-back seasons. The Crimson downed the Gophers, 6-1, in the semifinal round of the 2003 NCAA tournament before losing to Minnesota Duluth, 4-3 in double overtime, in the final. In 2004, Minnesota returned the favor, skating past the Crimson, 6-2, in the national championship game and repeated the feat in 2005, earning a 4-3 victory over the Crimson to claim its second-straight national title.