The Harvard women's hockey team is set for its final two contests of the semester, welcoming in UNH and Boston College. (Gil Talbot)
The Opening Faceoff
The No. 4/5 Harvard women's hockey team is set to host two nonconference opponents this weekend to wrap up the fall semester. A pair of Hockey East foes will visit the Bright-Landry Hockey Center as the Crimson (8-1-1. 7-1-1 ECAC) welcome in New Hampshire (6-9-2, 2-3-2 WHEA) and No. 6 Boston College (12-4-1, 7-1-0 WHEA) for weekend bouts.
The First Line
- The Crimson is coming off a thorough 5-0 handling of ECAC and Ivy League rival Dartmouth on Sunday. Nine Harvard skaters registered at least a point, while five different Crimson found the back of the net. Captain Marissa Gedman led all point-earners with three points (1-2-3). With the win, Harvard is in sole possession of first place in the ECAC standings for the first time all season.
- Harvard enters the weekend with the nation's second-longest unbeaten streak (seven games), tied with Robert Morris (both are 6-0-1 in the last seven contests). The Crimson trail only Wisconsin (12 games, 10-0-2) after North Dakota defeated Minnesota on Nov. 17.
- Saturday's top-10 showdown features a bevy of storylines, including the annual White the Bright. The women's hockey program looks to break its attendance record, set in 2004 as 1,921 fans packed the Bright Hockey Center to witness the Crimson take on Dartmouth.
Follow @HarvardCrimson, the official Twitter handle of Harvard Athletics, for all the latest news and notes on your favorite Crimson student-athletes and teams. Fans also are encouraged to follow @HarvardWHockey for all things Harvard women's hockey. Use the hashtag #GoCrimson to see what fans are saying about Crimson athletics.
- .@HarvardWHockey brings the nation's second-longest unbeaten streak into the weekend, having not lost in seven games (6-0-1). #GoCrimson
- Fans are encouraged to #WhiteTheBright on Saturday to help @HarvardWHockey break its all-time single-game attendance record of 1,921 #BeatBC
- Three @HarvardWHockey Crimson have won @harvardcoop Athlete of the Week honors this season: @Emerance_M, @GEDyewsumm and Brianna Laing.
The Best in the Bright-est Barn…
Bright-Landry has been a safe haven for the Crimson in recent years, and the 2013-14 season has been no different. This year, Harvard boasts a 5-0-1 record in Cambridge, including a pair of wins (No. 8 Quinnipiac and No. 9 Boston University) and a tie (No. 3 Cornell) over ranked opponents. Harvard is an impressive 150-36-16 since 2000, and is 40-9-3 since the start of 2010-11.
…So, White the Bright
Saturday, the Crimson welcomes in its fourth ranked foe in No. 6/7 Boston College for the program's annual "White the Bright" game. Harvard looks to set its attendance record versus its crosstown rival, a mark which was set in 2004 against Dartmouth (1,921). Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets HERE.
Ivy League Digital Network
For the first time ever, all of Harvard's home games and road Ivy League contests which are not being televised will be streamed in HD quality featuring a live scoreboard, new graphics package and play-by-play commentary through the Ivy League Digital Network. Subscribers to the network can watch games both live and On-Demand on their computers, tablets or smart phones, and will have access to live and On-Demand content for all Harvard events throughout the duration of their subscription.
Follow Harvard Athletics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay connected with all the breaking news from around Cambridge and to get inside access to your favorite Crimson programs.
Up Up Up!
After starting the season in both the USA Today and USCHO.com polls at No. 9, the Crimson have remained in the national mix for 11 straight weeks, steadily climbing the ranks. Harvard currently sits at No. 4 in the USA Today and No. 5 in the USCHO.com polls, its highest in each since February of last season.
A Look at the Wildcats
New Hampshire has found itself on the losing end of its last five contests, with its last victory coming on Nov. 7 against Providence, 4-2. Before its losing stretch, the Wildcats served up a few classic games, downing Boston College, 3-1, before sweeping Penn State, 8-5 and 3-1. Among current common opponents with the Crimson (St. Lawrence and Boston University), UNH is 1-2, where Harvard is 2-0.
Forward Nicole Gifford leads the charge for UNH with her 12 points, leading the team with six goals and six assists this season. Gifford is complemented by a bevy of upperclassmen in Hannah Armstrong (4-5-9), Cassandra Vilgrain (4-5-9), Jessica Hitchock (2-6-8) and Kayla Mork (2-6-8) to round out the top-5 Wildcat point-grabbers.
Three Wildcat netminders have seen time for UNH this season, led by Vilma Vaattovaara's 10 starts. The sophomore has 273 saves, allowing 24 goals for a 5-3-2 record. Fellow classmate Marie-Eve Jean (43 saves, seven goals allowed; 0-2-0) and freshman Ashley Wilkes (113 saves, 10 goals allowed; 1-4-0) make up the rest of the rotating platoon for UNH.
The Series with New Hampshire
The Crimson and Wildcats are prepared to meet each other on the ice for the 48th time since 1982-83. UNH owns the all-time series record, having gone 28-15-4 against Harvard during that stretch. The Crimson is unbeaten in the last five contests (3-0-2), but the two sides squabbled to a 2-2 tie last season in Durham.
Flying with the Eagles
Once the nation's No. 2 team, BC comes into Saturday's game with a 12-4-1 mark, going 7-1-0 in Hockey East play. Though the Eagles are 8-1-0 in the comforts of Conte Arena, BC is 4-3-1 away from Chestnut Hill this season. The Eagles are 3-1-1 in their last five contests, most recently splitting a two-game series with ECAC and Ivy League contender, No. 3 Cornell in Ithaca.
In its high-octane offense, BC has eight skaters with at least 10 points through 17 games, led by Haley Skarupa (13-12-25). Emily Field (10-7-17) and Andie Anastos (8-8-16) round out the top scoring threat for the Maroon and Gold.
As dangerous as the team is on offense, BC relies on an equally as potent goaltending duo. Corinne Boyles does the heavy lifting for the Eagles, with 14 starts under her belt this season (9-5-0). Boyles has 336 saves and has let by just 27 shots. Behind her sits Megan Miller, who has five appearances. Miller has 83 saves to her nine goals allowed for a 3-0-1 record this season.
The Series with Boston College
Harvard and Boston College have a great amount of history together, having met 50 times prior to this season. Harvard owns the all-time series record, 36-14-0, but the Eagles have won the last five meetings, including a 3-1 win over the Crimson for a spot in the Frozen Four last season.
Quick Start Crimson
The Crimson has been nothing short of tremendous to start any given game this season. Harvard is outscoring the opposition, 11-1, in the opening period, and 11-2 in the second. The Crimson is 7-0-1 when holding a lead after one period this season and 7-0-1 when notching the game's first score.
Making 'Em Count
In 10 games to start the 2013-14 season, Harvard has outshot its opponents just twice – at Rensselaer on Nov. 1 and at Union on Nov. 2. The Crimson has been outshot to the tune of 274-237 in total, yet has scored 30 goals to opponents 10, giving Harvard (.127) a clear advantage over its opponents (.036) when it comes to converting those shots.
To say that Harvard has been "killing it" on the penalty kill this season is an understatement. The Crimson has allowed just one power play goal in 52 chances this season (51/52; 98.1-percent), by far the best mark in the country, even when it is committing an average 5.2 penalties per game. The next fewest amount of goals allowed is five, by both No. 1 Minnesota (49/54) and No. 2 Wisconsin (48/53).
Even when not on the penalty kill, the Crimson defense has been stellar this season, playing its part to allow just 10 goals in 10 games. Freshman Briana Mastel's 22 blocked shots leads the way for a defensive unit that is quick to the puck. Captain Marissa Gedman (17) and junior classmate Sarah Edney (20) have parceled together a rotation of defensive pairs that has led to 114 blocked shots for Harvard this season. When pucks do get past the defensive wall, it's not often that they find the back of the net with both Emerance Maschmeyer (243 saves) and Brianna Laing (21 saves) in net.
Mind the Net
Emerance Maschmeyer has asserted herself as one of the nation's premier goaltenders this season, finding herself ranked in the top-4 in every national category. The sophomore's .960 save percentage is tops in the land and her 10 goals allowed is the fewest by a goaltender with at least six starts.
On top of that, Maschmeyer is ranked No. 4 in goals against average (10 goals in 543:20) and No. 4 in shutouts with four this season. In the Harvard history books, the Bruderheim, Alberta, native is one whitewash away from tying her career high and three away from placing herself in the top-5 all-time in program history.
Though Maschmeyer has firm control of the full-time starter in Cambridge, freshman Brianna Laing sits closely by, proving her mettle after a stellar collegiate debut. The Marblehead, Mass., local turned aside all 21 of the shots she faced in her start against Colgate, recording her first-ever shutout to keep the Crimson rolling.
The Ubiquitous Edney
After being selected to the Preseason All-ECAC team, defenseman Sarah Edney has certainly lived up to the billing. The junior can be found everywhere on the ice, leading the defense or finding a passing lane in the offensive zone. While Edney is second on the squad with 20 blocked shots to her name, the Mississaugua, Ontario, product has been on an offensive streak as well. Edney is tied for third on the team with eight points (3-5-8), recently ending a career-best five-game point streak, and has a team-high two power play goals.
A Heapin' Helpin' of Helpers
The Crimson has done well to spread the puck around with four scorers registering at least four goals, led by Miye D'Oench's five. On 30 total goals this season, Harvard has racked up 46 assists, led by Samantha Reber's six. Four other Crimson have five assists, including D'Oench, Dylanne Crugnale, Hillary Crowe and Sarah Edney.