The Crimson will make its second consecutive appearance in the Big Dance when it travels to Wisconsin on Saturday. (Photo: Elan Kawesch)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Now with its sights set on the NCAA Tournament, the Harvard women's hockey team will travel to Wisconsin this weekend, the NCAA announced Sunday. The Crimson and the fourth-seeded Badgers will duke it out at 7 p.m. in LaBahn Arena in Madison, Wis.
Harvard will make its second appearance in the tournament field of eight for the second year in a row and the 10th time in program history.
The Crimson, which went wire-to-wire as one of the nation's top-10 teams, reaching as high as No. 3 in the USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today poll, will meet Western College Hockey Association foe Wisconsin, who spent much of the season sitting behind Minnesota at No. 2 in the land. Harvard and Wisconsin have met five times before, twice in the postseason.
Harvard has been one of the more consistent teams in the nation on defense, finishing with the No. 6-ranked defense and fourth-ranked penalty kill in the country. Sophomore netminder Emerance Maschmeyer, the Co-Ivy League Player of the Year and the ECAC Goaltender of the Year, headlined a stingy defense, especially with the help of Second Team All-ECAC defender Sarah Edney and ECAC All-Rookie team member Briana Mastel playing directly in front. Junior captain Marissa Gedman, who pulled in ECAC Honorable Mention accolades, has also been a linchpin in the thick of the Crimson defense.
Harvard will face a test, though, as the Badgers bring the sixth-ranked scoring offense and third-ranked power play to the table. Brittany Ammerman is a top-18 scorer nationally (22-20--42 points), and is second in the NCAA with eight power play goals scored (8). Wisconsin averages 3.1 goals per game, halting opponents to just 1.1 goals (40 in just 35 games).
The Crimson brings some firepower of its own, though. Miye D'Oench, a Third Team All-ECAC honoree, leads Harvard with 38 points, scoring 21 goals and adding 17 assists during her sophomore campaign. Hillary Crowe, who adds 16 goals and 14 assists for 30 points, and Samantha Reber, who leads the squad with 20 assists to go along with her eight scores, round out the top threats that Harvard dishes out.
The winner of the first-round game will move on to face the winner of the matchup between No. 1 Minnesota and Boston University in the NCAA Women's Frozen Four in Hamden, Conn., March 21. The national championship game, hosted by Quinnipiac, is slated for March 23. For more information on the NCAA tournament, visit NCAA.com.