Harvard is looking for its first Ivy League victory of the 2011-12 season (Gil Talbot).
Full Game Notes (pdf)
The Crimson hits the road for the first time in two and a half weeks as it looks to exact revenge on ECAC and Ivy League rival Dartmouth. The Big Green upset the Crimson, 3-2, in the teams' first meeting of the 2011-12 season in Cambridge.
The Harvard-Dartmouth series is the most contested in program history, and also one of the few in which Harvard trails, with a 35-41-2 mark in 78 all-time matchups. Tonight's matchup represents the first time since the start of NCAA play that neither team in the contest has been nationally ranked.
The two teams kicked off the 2011-12 season series at Bright Hockey Center Nov. 23. For the second straight game, Harvard scored within the first minute of play as Lyndsey Fry (Chandler, Ariz.) redirected a Josephine Pucci (Pearl River, N.Y.) shot just 39 seconds in. Dartmouth rallied for a pair of scores in the second period and added a third in the final frame. Jillian Dempsey's (Winthrop, Mass.) goal with under a minute to go wasn't enough to save the Crimson from a 3-2 defeat.
In just its third home game of the 2010-11 season, Harvard defeated ninth-ranked Dartmouth, 5-3, thanks to a balanced scoring attack. Five different Harvard players notched goals as Marissa Gedman (Framingham, Mass.) started the scoring and Liza Ryabkina '11, Elizabeth Parker (Milton, Mass.), Kate Buesser '11 and Katharine Chute '11 followed with tallies. Buesser's goal was a shorthanded effort, and Laura Bellamy (Duluth, Minn.) picked up 20 saves in the win.
In the back half of the home-and-home, Harvard came back twice from one-goal deficits to grab a 3-2 win in Hanover, N.H. Jillian Dempsey scored Harvard's first goal of the night, its second shorthanded effort in as many games, to pull even with the Big Green at 1-1. Alisa Baumgartner (West Vancouver, B.C.) squared the score at 2-2 early in the third period, and Dempsey picked up her second of the night to seal the 3-2 win for the Crimson.
The two teams met for a third time in an ECAC semifinal at Bright, and the Big Green exacted revenge for the regular season results. Josephine Pucci knotted the score at 1-1 with a goal in the first period, but Dartmouth went onto put in three unanswered scores to claim a 4-1 win and advance to the ECAC championship game.
Last Time Out
The No. 9 Crimson ran into a talented No. 2 Minnesota squad in a pair of games last weekend, and the Golden Gophers skated away from Bright with a pair of wins, 2-1 and 7-3.
Game 1 was a defensive battle that featured stellar play from both goalies. Minnesota got on the board first with just under two minutes to play in the fist period and carried the 1-0 lead into the final stanza. The Gophers made it 2-0 at 12:03 of the third period, but Harvard answered two minutes later as Marissa Gedman's slapshot weaved through traffic and found the back of the net, bringing the Crimson within one. Harvard went on the power play with just over two minutes left in the game but was unable to find the qualizer in the 2-1 loss.
Scoring came early and often in Game 2 as the squads combined for four goals in the first five minutes of the contest. Gina McDonald (New Brighton, Minn.) got Harvard on the board off a Jillian Dempsey pass to cut the deficit to 3-1 and Dempsey netted one of her own at the end of the first to make it 4-2 after one period of play.
Sarah Edney (Mississauga, Ont.) notched a power-play tally in the second period, but the Gopher offense proved too powerful in the 7-3 decision.
Scouting the Big Green
Dartmouth is having an up-and-down season through 10 games, bringing a 5-4-1 overall record, along with a 4-2-1 ECAC mark, into the Harvard game. Dartmouth has played three straight one-goal games, claiming victories in the last two.
After sinking the Crimson Nov. 23, the Big Green welcomed No. 10 Northeastern to Thompson Arena and topped the Huskies, 4-3. The guests took a 1-0 lead just over a minute into the game but a power-play goal by Margaux Sharp squared the score at 1-1 entering the first break. Kelly Foley put Dartmouth out in front with the only goal of the second period and Sally Komarek gave Dartmouth a two-goal cushion with a goal just 1:02 into the third period. Northeastern rallied for two goals in the homestretch, forcing the game to overtime, but Komarek struck again, just 51 seconds into the extra frame, giving Dartmouth the dramatic, 4-3 victory.
Foley is the team leader in both points (11) and goals (7), and the senior forward has a team-high 49 shots this year. Reagan Fischer is the team's assist leader with seven on the season, and, at +10, Camille Dumais is the highest-rated player on the squad. Sasha Nanji remains the biggest scoring threat from the blue line with 3-3-6 points and Ali Winkel has the team lead in power-play goals as two of her three scores have come on the player advantage.
Sophomore goalie Lindsay Holdcroft has been excellent for the Big Green, bringing a 1.74 goals-against average and .934 save percentage into the matchup with Harvard. She has allowed just five goals over her last four games.
As a team, Harvard ranks among the top of the league in a number of categories. The Crimson boasts the second-best scoring offense in the league as one of just two teams averaging better than three goals per game at 3.11 per contest. Harvard has converted on 27.3 percent of its power-play chances, which also ranks second in the ECAC, and its 12 power-play goals ranks fifth in the league, despite Harvard playing the fewest number of games of any ECAC Hockey squad.
Granite State of Mind
While teams from the state of New Hampshire have traditionally given Harvard trouble, the Crimson has performed well recently when playing in the Granite State. In its last five games played in New Hampshire, Harvard is 4-0-1, having beaten Dartmouth three straight times on its home ice and gone 1-0-1 against UNH in Durham, N.H. The last time the Crimson lost while playing in its northerly neighbor was 2007-08, when the Wildcats handed Harvard its only regular-season loss of the year, 4-1. Harvard's last loss at Dartmouth came Dec. 15, 2006, a 4-1 decision.
In Need of an Ivy Win
Even though the Crimson boasts the second-best overall record among Ivy League schools, Harvard has yet to record a win against an Ivy team this season in a pair of attempts. Over the past five seasons, Harvard has compiled a 37-8-5 record against Ancient Eight schools, including a perfect 10-0-0 mark in 2007-08. The Crimson finished first in the Ivy standings in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Junior Jillian Dempsey has been a consistent force for the Crimson this season. Dempsey missed two games while suiting up for the U.S. Women's National team, but in the seven games she has played for Harvard, she has logged at least one point in six. Dempsey has four multi-point games on the season and has notched two points, on a goal and an assist, in three of her last four games. Dempsey enters the Dartmouth game tied for 21st in the nation with 1.43 points per contest and ranks fifth in the league in that category.
After helping the Crimson clinch the season series sweep against St. Lawrence and Clarkson last weekend, Laura Bellamy was named ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Week for Nov. 21. In Friday's game against the Golden Knights, Bellamy was outstanding, recording her second-highest saves total of the season, with 29 shots in a 2-1 victory. The Duluth, Minn., native was equally solid the following night against the Saints, turning aside 26 shots and helping the Crimson go a perfect 8-for-8 on the penalty kill for the first time since the 2007-08 season. The award marks Bellamy's second league recognition of her career, as she picked up a Rookie of Week nod as a freshman.
Face The Facts
Jillian Dempsey is the go-to person when it comes to faceoffs for Harvard. The junior has posted a winning faceoff record in four of her seven games played and had her best performance on the dot against Dartmouth Nov. 23. Dempsey won 18 of 29 faceoffs against the Big Green.