Harvard Picked Second in ECAC Hockey Preseason Poll; Kessler Named to Preseason All-Conference Team

Harvard Picked Second in ECAC Hockey Preseason Poll; Kessler Named to Preseason All-Conference Team

Pictured: Katey Stone, the Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Ice Hockey, and the Crimson were picked second in the ECAC Hockey preseason coaches' poll.
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Complete ECAC Hockey Coaches' Poll Release
Complete ECAC Hockey Preseason All-Conference Team

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women’s hockey team has been picked to finish second in ECAC Hockey this season, according to the coaches’ poll released Tuesday by the conference. In addition, Harvard senior goaltender Christina Kessler has been named to the ECAC Hockey Preseason All-Conference Team for the second straight year.

Harvard claimed three first-place votes and 103 points in the poll, finishing second in the preseason poll to St. Lawrence, which also garnered three first-place votes and amassed 107 points. The Crimson is led by Katey Stone, the Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women’s Ice Hockey, who is entering her 16th season at the helm. Stone is ranked second all-time and first among active Division I women’s coaches with 319 victories. Dartmouth appears third in the poll with 93 points and five first-place votes, while Princeton is fourth with 89 points.

“I think we’re going to be a different team from last year and rely on defense and goaltending more this season,” Stone said. “I think we’ll have pretty good depth overall. Everyone in the league is strong this season, and it is getting more and more difficult each season to fill out the preseason poll. Everyone in the conference needs to be ready every single game, otherwise you’re going to get stung. One week you might be the favorite, and the next you might be the underdog.”

Last season, the Crimson won the ECAC Hockey regular-season title for the second straight season after winning 10 consecutive conference games down the stretch to finish 16-4-2 in the league. The Crimson posted a 19-10-3 overall record and advanced to the semifinals of the ECAC Hockey tournament. Harvard also successfully defended its Ivy League title, going 8-2-0 in the Ancient Eight. The team returns 13 players from last year’s roster and welcomes seven freshmen. Seniors Cori Bassett and Kathryn Farni will serve as co-captains of the Crimson this season.

Kessler, a two-time All-ECAC Hockey choice, was named to the All-Ivy League first team for the second consecutive year in 2008-09 after posting a 17-8-2 overall record between the pipes. She was also 14-2-1 in ECAC Hockey contests a year ago and ranked first in the conference with a 1.55 goals-against average against ECAC Hockey opponents. Overall, Kessler placed third in the nation with a 1.59 goals-against mark and stood seventh with a .933 save percentage, stopping 599 of 642 shots she faced.

A native of Oakville, Ont., Kessler was named to the New England Hockey Writers Division I Women’s All-Star Team for the second straight time last winter. She ranks second in school history with 55 victories, and her 12 shutouts in 2007-08 established a new NCAA record. An All-America second-team choice two years ago, Kessler attended Canada’s National Women’s Under-22 Team this summer. She earned a 4-0 shutout over Sweden, making 25 saves in the victory.

ECAC Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. St. Lawrence (3 first-place votes), 107 points
2. Harvard (3), 103 points
3. Dartmouth (5), 93 points
4. Princeton, 89 points
5. Clarkson (1), 85 points
6. Rensselaer, 74 points
7. Cornell, 68 points
8. Colgate, 52 points
9. Quinnipiac, 37 points
10. Yale, 34 points
11. Brown, 24 points
12. Union, 11 points

ECAC Hockey Preseason All-Conference Team
Christina Kessler, Goaltender, Harvard
Sasha Sherry, Defense, Princeton
Britni Smith, Defense, St. Lawrence
Jenna Cunningham, Forward, Dartmouth
Dominique Thibault, Forward, Clarkson
Catherine White, Forward, Cornell