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Women's Hockey Wraps Up 2011 Against Providence, New Hampshire

Harvard will play Hockey East opponents for the first time this season Thursday and Friday (Gil Talbot).

Complete Game Notes (pdf)

The Particulars

Harvard finishes out the 2011 portion of its schedule, stepping out of conference play for games at Providence and versus New Hampshire. Both the Friars and Wildcats are members of Hockey East.
 
Follow From Home
Harvard will provide streaming video (for a subscription) and live statistics for all home games and provide links for road games.  Video and live stats links can be found on the women's hockey schedule on GoCrimson.com.

Series History
Despite success against Providence over the past decade, the Crimson trails in the all-time series against Friars, holding a 14-22-3 record in 39 career matchups. Harvard has claimed the last four meetings between the two teams, and is 10-1-1 in the last 12 matchups. Providence was victorious in the first 16 matchups in the series, including the inaugural game between the two, which went the Friars' way by a score of 17-0.   

The last time the two teams met was January 30, 2010 and the No. 7 Crimson defended its home turf with an exciting 2-1 victory over No. 9 Providence at Bright. The Crimson struck first at the 5:16 mark of the opening period, as Kathryn Farni '10 fed Katharine Chute '11 for the game's first goal. The Friars tied it up midway through the third period, but a penalty soon after put Harvard on a power play. Farni and Leanna Coskren '11 picked up assists as Randi Griffin '10 notched the game-winning score with five minutes remaining, allowing the Crimson to claim a 2-1 win.    

The Crimson also trails in the all-time series against New Hampshire, as the Wildcats hold a 27-14-3 edge over 44 matchups. Harvard's most successful stretch against UNH came from 1998-2004 as the Crimson put together 12 straight wins. Harvard's biggest win over the Wildcats came in 1999, when it defeated New Hampshire, 6-5, in the AWCHA National Championship Game to claim the lone national title in team history. In recent history, the two teams have played one another close, as three of the last four contests have gone to overtime. Harvard is 1-1-2 in its last four games against New Hampshire.

Last season, Harvard snapped a nine-game UNH unbeaten streak in the series, taking down the Wildcats, 3-1, on their home ice for the first time since 2003-04. The hosts took a 1-0 lead on a Kristina Lavoie goal at 9:10 of the first, but Josephine Pucci (Pearl River, N.Y.) leveled the score with a power-play goal at 16:16 to end the first period in a 1-1 tie. Then-rookie Lyndsey Fry (Chandler, Ariz.) took over in the second period, collecting her first and second career goals to give the Crimson a 3-1 lead. The Crimson defense went into lockdown mode in the final frame, allowing just four shots en route to the 3-1 win.  

Last Time Out
Down a goal midway through the third period, Harvard found its stride offensively late in the game as the Crimson rallied for a pair of scores to top Dartmouth, 2-1, Wednesday night at Thompson Arena.   

The Crimson offense got going late, upping the pressure in the back half of the final period, resulting in a goal at the 12:52 mark. Sarah Edney (Mississauga, Ont.) slid a pass to Marissa Gedman (Framingham, Mass.), who brought the puck into the Dartmouth zone and fired a long-distance shot on goalie Lindsay Holdcroft. Holdcroft made the save but let up a long rebound and Elizabeth Parker (Milton, Mass.) snuck in front of the net and put away the carom for her third goal of the season.

The tie score didn't last long as the Crimson grabbed the lead for good 1:05 later. Jillian Dempsey (Winthrop, Mass.) collected the puck deep in the corner and fed an advancing Kelsey Romatoski (Woodbury, Minn.) near the left faceoff circle. Romatoski flicked a shot on net that was redirected by Lyndsey Fry past Holdcroft for the game-winning score. The Big Green pulled its goalie and put a number of pucks on net, but Laura Bellamy (Duluth, Minn.) was rock solid, despite losing her stick for much of the final flurry, helping Harvard seal the one-goal victory.        

Scouting the Friars
It has been a tale of two seasons for the Friars in 2011-12. Providence brings an 8-9-3 overall record and 6-4-1 mark in Hockey East play into the matchup with the Crimson.  

The Friars had trouble getting off the ground, going winless in their first seven games of the season against some fierce competition. Since then, Providence has gone 8-4-1, bolstered by a four-game winning streak from Nov. 6-19. The Friars' biggest win came against No. 7 Boston University, taking down the Terriers, 4-3, Dec. 3 at Schneider Arena.  

Abby Gauthier leads the Friars in scoring with a team-high 18 points and 13 assists. Corinne Buie is next on the list with 16 points and leads the squad with eight goals on the season. Laura Veharanta (6-9-15), Ashley Cottrell (7-6-13), Kate Bacon (6-5-11) and Jessica Vella (4-6-10) round out the sextet of Friar players with double-digits point totals.

Genevieve Lacasse is the team's go-to-backstop, starting 15 of Providence's 20 games this season. She boasts a 2.07 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage, as well as four shutouts on the year.

Scouting the Wildcats
A hot start cooled off quickly as New Hampshire, a perennial powerhouse in women's college hockey, has had a tough go of it this season. The Wildcats jumped out to a 3-0 start but have stumbled since, bringing a 6-10-3 overall mark and 0-6-2 conference record into the matchup with the Crimson.   

Since it's fast start, New Hampshire has managed just three wins, taking down Dartmouth, Princeton and Union is games decided by no more than two goals. The Wildcats fought hard against   Hockey East foe No. 10 Northeastern in its last time out, battling to a 3-3 tie Dec. 3 and dropping a 5-1 game the following day.

Sophomore forward has been a key member of the offense this season for UNH, leading the team in points (16), goals (7) and tying for the team lead with assists (9). Junior Kristine Horn is right behind with 6-9-15 points on the year and classmate Kristina Lavoie rounds out UNH's double-digit scorers with 6-4-10 points on the season. Lavoie also leads the team with two game-winning tallies this season.

Freshman Jenn Gilligan has seen the bulk of the action in goal this season, playing in 14 games and holding a 5-6-2 overall record. She leads the team with a 3.13 goals-against average and is just off the team lead with a .874 save percentage. Senior Lindsey Minton has also started four games for UNH and holds a save percentage of .875.

Comeback Crimson
Three of Harvard's wins this season have been comeback victories. The Crimson conceded the game's first goal in the season opener against St. Lawrence and went onto score seven unanswered to cruise to a 7-1 win. In the second matchup with Clarkson, a second-period Golden Knights tally put Harvard in a 1-0 hole, but Harvard goals 47 seconds apart later in the period allowed for a 2-1 Crimson win. In its last game, Dartmouth broke a scoreless tie in the third period, but Harvard goals 1:05 apart propelled the Crimson to a 2-1 win.

Strong in the Second
The second period has been Harvard's best in terms of goal differential this season. 12 of Harvard's 30 team goals have come in the middle stanza, making it the Crimson's most productive period. Harvard has also allowed only six goals in the second frame, also a team-best mark.  

The Final Month
While the Crimson typically only plays a handful of games in the month of December, Harvard has had success in those games. In the past three years, Harvard has compiled a 4-3-2 mark in the month of December, against primarily non-conference opponents. Harvard had a tough December last year as it dropped games to ranked local foes Boston College and Boston University, but took down New Hampshire on the road. Harvard was undefeated the year before, beating and tying then-No. 2 Minnesota and topping Connecticut, 2-1. In 2008-09, Harvard went 1-1-1 in December with a win at league rival Dartmouth.     

Harvard Against Hockey East
Hockey East has become one of the strongest conferences in women's college hockey, but the Crimson still holds a winning record against Hockey East teams in recent years. Since 2009-10, Harvard is 5-3-1 against Hockey East schools, bolstered by an undefeated 2009-10 campaign. Harvard tied New Hampshire, 1-1, and defeated Connecticut and Providence, 2-1, at Bright. Harvard hosted and won the Beanpot that season, downing Boston College, 5-0, in the first round and Northeastern, 1-0, in the championship.   

League's Elite
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 even or better than three goals per game at 3.00 per contest. Harvard has converted on 25.5 percent of its power-play chances, which also ranks second in the ECAC, and its 12 power-play goals rank sixth in the league, despite Harvard playing the fewest number of games of any ECAC Hockey squad. Harvard has also allowed just eight power-play goals this season, the third-lowest number in the ECAC.  

Owning Rhode Island
The Crimson has played some of its best hockey against opponents from the state of Rhode Island. In fact, Harvard hasn't lost to a team from the Ocean State since the 2001-02 season. Harvard is undefeated in its last eight games on the road against Providence, with its last road loss to the Friars coming Feb. 7, 1998 by a score of 6-5.  

Everyday Dempsey
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 eight games she has played for Harvard, she has logged at least one point in seven. 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 five games.  

Killing Streak
Harvard put together a stretch of 19-straight penalties killed, beginning in the game against Clarkson Nov. 18 and stretching to the third period of the first of two games against Minnesota. Harvard went 8-for-8 on the kill against St. Lawrence Nov. 19, its best performance on the penalty kill since the 2007-08 season. The last time Harvard was perfect on the penalty kill in a game where it had at least eight penalties was Feb. 9, 2008 in a 5-0 win over Rensselaer.

Nov. 23 against Dartmouth, the Crimson was flawless on the kill once again, squashing six Big Green chances to stretch the streak to 17. The Crimson picked up two more kills through the first two periods against Minnesota, but the Gophers converted on a 5-on-3 to snap the streak.

ECAC Recognition
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 eight games played and had her best performance on the dot against Dartmouth Nov. 23. Dempsey won 18 of 29 faceoffs against the Big Green.