Gedman and the Crimson will look to advance to the ECAC Finals, but Cornell stands in the way in Potsdam. (Photo: Elan Kawesch)
The Opening Faceoff
After surviving a three-game series against rival Yale, which featured two double overtime games and a total of nearly 13 full periods, the ECAC's second seeded Harvard women's hockey is set make its appearance in the conference's championship weekend. The No. 6/6 Crimson will square off with No. 3 seed Cornell in the second semifinal game on Saturday in Clarkson's Cheel Arena at 4 p.m.
The First Line
- Last weekend, Harvard finished off Yale in a knock-down-drag-out three-game series to advance to the semifinals. The Crimson fell to the Bulldogs in Friday's opener, the first of two double-overtime thrillers, 3-2. Harvard and Yale battled for 97 minutes until the visitors tapped in the winning goal to take a 1-0 series lead. Harvard, however, battled back on the glove of Brianna Laing and stick of Miye D'Oench. D'Oench scored twice on Saturday, including the game winner four minutes into the second OT period. In the following afternoon, Laing and Hillary Crowe stole the show. Laing shutout the Bulldogs, while Crowe ripped a pair of goals in the 4-0 win.
- Laing made 32-of-34 saves on Saturday, but followed up with a perfect 30-for-30 performance on Sunday. The freshman netminder's shutout – her fourth of the year – sparked Harvard to the 4-0 win. The two gutsy performances earned her ECAC Rookie of the Week honors.
- Harvard and Cornell will square off for the third time this season in the ECAC Semifinals. The Crimson and Big Red tied the first time the two met on Nov. 15 in Bright-Landry, 3-3, while Harvard took a 3-1 decision in Lynah Rink on Jan. 17.
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 secured the No. 2 seed in the @ECACHOCKEYMWD1 Tourney and hosted the Quarterfinals for the 16th straight year, moving on all 16 times
- The sophomore class has combined for 41 of @HarvardWHockey's 93 goals this season. #secondtonone
- Six @HarvardWHockey players earned @Ivy_Athletics Team honors this year, including @Emerance_M's Co-Player of the Year nod.
ECAC Tournament Shakedown
|Quarterfinals (Feb. 28 - March 2)|
|No. 1 Clarkson def. No. 8 Dartmouth (2-0, 2-0)|
|No. 2 Harvard def. No. 7 Yale (2-3, 3-2, 4-0)|
|No. 3 Cornell def. No. 6 Princeton (3-2, 5-3)|
|No. 4 Quinnipiac def. No. 5 St. Lawrence (5-0, 2-1)|
|Semifinals (March 8) - America ONE Sports|
|No. 1 Clarkson vs. No. 4 Quinnipiac - 1 p.m.|
|No. 2 Harvard vs. No. 3 Cornell - 4 p.m.|
|Finals (March 9) - ESPN3|
|Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner|
Twine from All Kinds
Though it's not one of the most prolific scoring teams in the nation, Harvard does have its bright spots in the offensive zone, namely those in the sophomore class. Four second-year players have combined for 37 of the Crimson's 84 goals, led by Miye D'Oench's 19 scores. Mary Parker has found the back of the net 13 times, while fellow classmates Dylanne Crugnale (seven) and Jessica Harvey (two) have added to the tally in big ways.
Not to be fully overshadowed, the four primarily defensive-minded juniors have kept up the pace as well. Hillary Crowe has potted 16 goals, second on the team, followed by Samantha Reber's eight, Sarah Edney's seven and Marissa Gedman's three. The two seniors, Elizabeth Parker and Gina McDonald, have combined for nine scores this season, thanks in part to Parker's three-goal weekend at Yale and Brown at the end of the regular season. Two freshmen, Sydney Daniels and Natasha Rachlin, round out the Harvard scorers. Daniels is tied for fourth on the squad with eight, including a pair of game winners and a game-tying goal, while Rachlin registered her only goal, a game-winner, against Colgate on Nov. 16.
Crimson, White and Blue
After one of the more electrifying gold medal games the Olympics can offer, the Harvard contingent on the United States Olympic Women's Hockey team – made up of the Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Ice Hockey Katey Stone, alumna Julie Chu '06-07 and current skaters Lyndsey Fry, Michelle Picard and Josephine Pucci – will bring home the silver medal from the 2014 Games.
In the process, not only did Stone become the first female to be named the head coach a U.S. Olympic Hockey team, but she also became the first female to lead the Americans to a medal on the ice.
It's Awards Season…
The Crimson skaters have been recognized for a bevy of awards already as the regular season has come to a close. Emerance Maschmeyer was named a Patty Kazmaier Top-10 Finalist, as well as the Co-Ivy League Player of the Year with her stellar sophomore campaign. Maschmeyer also drew First Team All-Ivy honors, along with Miye D'Oench and Sarah Edney, the latter of whom was nominated as one of the ECAC's Best Defensive Defensemen this season.
The Ancient Eight also recognized Hillary Crowe and Mary Parker on its Second Team, while Marissa Gedman pulled in Honorable Mention honors as the Crimson's captain and leader on the ice. Harvard has a chance to add to the tally of accolades this weekend as the annual ECAC Awards Banquet is scheduled for Friday night in Potsdam to precede the championship weekend.
The Quick-start Kick-start
Much of Harvard's success this season has been due to its ability to get out in front of the competition early. The Crimson is an impressive 18-0-3 when scoring the game's first goal, and is outscoring the opposition in the opening period, 29-12. When Harvard holds a lead after the first, it is an unblemished 16-0-2 this year, and is 19-0-2 when leading after 40 minutes. When packing the punch, Harvard is tough to beat. The Crimson is 19-1-2 when scoring three or more times, and a perfect 8-0-0 when scoring at least four goals.
The Daily Specials
From day one, or rather when the Crimson started the season killing off the first 34 power plays it saw this year, Harvard has maintained the No. 1 penalty kill unit in the country. To date, the Crimson have fended off 136-of-145 power plays (93.8-percent), which is second for the fewest goals allowed while down a skater (Minnesota has killed 107-of-115 penalties). To its credit, Harvard has also potted three shorthanded goals as well.
The Positive Jam
It comes with the territory of outscoring opponents an average of around 3-1, but a few Crimson have found themselves on the ice at the right times all year long. Junior Sarah Edney leads the team with a +34 when it comes to +/- rating, third-best in the conference this season. Edney's ability to prevent goals from happening, while having a hand in 24 on the offensive side, has paved the way for the year-long success.
The primary first line for the Crimson, Miye D'Oench (+26), Samantha Reber (+24) and Hillary Crowe (+26), has bolstered the Harvard scoring attack for most of the season, and especially did so last weekend. The trio combined for 12 points against Yale and have accounted for 43 goals and 48 assists for 91 points, or about 40-percent of the Crimson's offense.
A Look at the Big Red
The Harvard-Cornell series has developed into one of the more intriguing and intense rivalries between the glass in the Ivy League and ECAC. Harvard claimed the Ivy League title this year, finishing just ahead of Cornell (22-5-4, 15-4-3 ECAC) by a single point in the standings.
The Big Red has one of the most potent offenses in the nation, averaging just north of 3.5 goals per game. On the ice, Co-Ivy League Player of the Year, along with Harvard's Maschmeyer, Jillian Saulnier has accounted for 52 points this season, coming off an even 26 goals and 26 assists. Emily Fulton (17-22-39) and Jessica Campbell (14-22-36) both are in the nation's top-18 as far as points per game are concerned. Fulton and Saulnier earned First Team nods from the Ivy League, along with defenseman Alyssa Gagliardi, while Campbell earned a spot on the Second Team.
Lauren Slebodnick, an Ivy League Honorable Mention goaltender, paces the game for Cornell. The senior has picked up a 15-1-3 record this season on the back of 420 saves (.907) to just 43 goals allowed (2.30 GAA). Slebodnick, however, has recorded just one shutout and has allowed in 11 power play goals and two shorthanded tallies.
Cornell was matched up with Princeton, the same team that handed the Big Red a regular-season-ending loss at Lynah Rink, in the ECAC Quarterfinals last week. After trailing 2-0 into the third period on Friday, the Big Red stormed back for three goals win a six-minute span to take the series opener, 3-2. In game No. 2, Princeton got off to a lead again, going up 1-0 into the second, but a pair of scores in the second and three in the third vaulted Cornell to a 5-3 series-clinching win on Saturday.
The Season Series with Cornell
This year, Harvard is 1-0-1 against Cornell on the ice. The Crimson and Big Red skated to a 3-3 tie in the first meeting, on Nov. 15, thanks to three third period goals. Harvard took a 2-0 lead into the final period, but Campbell knocked in the first goal – the first power play goal the Crimson yielded all year up until that point – then sparking two more Saulnier goals, bookended by a Mary Parker tally to make for a total of four goals in a wild third period.
In the second game of the series, Harvard snapped a six-game unbeaten streak for Cornell with its 3-1 win in Ithaca – the Crimson's first win in Lynah Rink since the 2008-09 season. Harvard came out firing on the stick of D'Oench, who pocketed the game's first score with an incredible shot from the right side of the cage in the first. Cornell fired back later in the frame to even things up at 1-1, but Marissa Gedman and Mary Parker netted two more Crimson goals to steal a win against the Big Red in front of a crowd of 2,029.