No. 6 Women's Hockey Looks to Extend Unbeaten Streak, Hosts Connecticut Tuesday Evening

No. 6 Women's Hockey Looks to Extend Unbeaten Streak, Hosts Connecticut Tuesday Evening

Pictured: Senior forward Randi Griffin and the Crimson are unbeaten in their last seven games.
Photo courtesy: Gil Talbot Photography

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ECAC Hockey Standings
Kessler Named ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week
Complete Game Notes (PDF)

The Particulars
The sixth-ranked Harvard women’s hockey team concludes a stretch of four home games, including three against non-conference opponents, by welcoming Connecticut to Bright Hockey Center. The Crimson enters the game enjoying an unbeaten streak of seven games, going 5-0-1 during that stretch. The Huskies are 3-0-1 in their last four games with wins over ECAC Hockey opponents Quinnipiac and Yale.

Follow From Home will provide live statistics for this week’s game, all home games and most road contests this season. Live audio and video will also be available on Matt Sawyer and Glenn Conway will have the call.

Series History
Harvard and Connecticut have met 14 times, with the Crimson owning an 11-3 advantage in the all-time series which began in 1979-80. The Huskies have won two of the last three meetings between the schools.

Last Year vs. Connecticut
On Dec. 14, 2008, Connecticut topped Harvard, 3-2, in Storrs, Conn., despite the Crimson outshooting the Huskies, 31-25. Sarah Wilson ’09 and Kate Buesser each scored for the Crimson, while Sarah Vaillancourt ’08-09 handed out two assists. Goaltender Christine Kessler stopped 22 shots in net.

Last Time Out
Christina Kessler stopped all 53 shots she faced in the weekend to help Harvard earn back-to-back shutouts against No. 2 Minnesota. The Crimson topped the Golden Gophers, 1-0, Friday and then earned a 0-0 tie Saturday. Liza Ryabkina netted the game-winning tally Friday in the third period, while Jillian Dempsey handed out the assists. Before Friday’s win, Harvard had not defeated a team from the WCHA since downing Minnesota Duluth Dec. 2, 2006.

Harvard Against Hockey East
The Crimson has played one opponent from the Hockey East Association this season, tying New Hampshire at Bright Hockey Center Nov. 18. Harvard will play three other games against Hockey East opponents during the regular season (Providence Jan. 30, Boston College in the opening round of the Beanpot Feb. 2 and either Boston University or Northeastern in the Beanpot Feb. 9).

Welcome Back!
After missing the first nine games of the season due to injury, Liza Ryabkina has not missed a beat, scoring the game-winning goal in her first two games back with the Crimson. Ryabkina netted the game-winner with 3:25 remaining against Dartmouth Nov. 25 and tallied the game’s only goal in a 1-0 victory over Minnesota Dec. 4.

A Stone Wall
The Crimson earned back-to-back shutouts against Minnesota Dec. 4-5, marking the first time that the Golden Gopher were held scoreless since Feb. 2, 2007. The Crimson had not recorded consecutive shutouts since holding Cornell without a goal during the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals Feb. 27-28, 2009.

She’s Honored
After earning consecutive shutouts against Minnesota Dec. 4-5, Christina Kessler was honored as the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week Dec. 7. Kessler stopped all 53 shots she faced on the weekend, including 24 in Harvard’s 1-0 win Friday and 29 in a 0-0 tie against the Golden Gophers Saturday afternoon. Kessler was also honored by the conference as the top goalie Nov. 30.

Just Win, Christina!
Senior goaltender Christina Kessler is 62-16-5 (.777) in her career in net, placing her second on Harvard’s all-time goalie wins list. Ali Boe ’06 is Harvard’s all-time winningest goaltender with 63 victories. Kessler currently owns the NCAA career record with a .942 save percentage, as she has stopped 1,798 of 1,908 shots faced during her career. Jessie Vetter (Wisconsin 2006-09) owned a .941 save percentage to set the record.

When The Game Is On The Line
Six different Harvard players have scored a game-winning goal this season -- Liza Ryabkina, Jillian Dempsey, Leanna Coskren, Anna McDonald, Cori Bassett and Kathryn Farni.

A Balanced Attack
The Crimson has had 12 different players score at least one goal this year, as the team has netted a total of 32 goals. Fifteen players have at least one point to their credit and Harvard had 15 different players light the lamp last season as well, scoring a total of 95 goals.

License to Kill
The Crimson boasts the nation’s fourth-best penalty kill unit, stopping 47 of 51 opponent power plays (.922). Harvard successfully killed the last 26 power plays by opponents dating back to Nov. 15.

Around The Ivy League
The Crimson has earned three straight wins against Ivy League opponents after topping Dartmouth Nov. 25. The Crimson stands at 3-2 against Ancient Eight opponents, tied with Dartmouth and Princeton for second place. Cornell remains in first with a 4-0-1 Ivy League conference record.

Harvard Coach Katey Stone
Katey Stone is in her 16th season as the Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women’s Ice Hockey, and she brings a 326-139-24 record into Friday’s game. Stone, who ranks second all-time in Division I victories, has led Harvard to all seven of its NCAA tournament appearances. Stone is also the active leader in victories among Division I women’s hockey coaches.

Stone is currently 11 wins shy of tying the all-time Division I record, held by Laura Halldorson (337 victories).

Power-Play Surge
Jillian Dempsey (1-3-4) and Josephine Pucci (1-3-4) lead the Crimson with four points apiece on the power play, while Leanna Coskren has a team-best two power-play tallies.

First Thing’s First
The Crimson was 18-0-2 when scoring first and 1-10-1 when the opponent lit the lamp first last season. So far in 2009-10, Harvard is 6-1-1 when netting the game’s first goal and 1-2 when the opposition scores first.

It’s All Over
Harvard is 99-1-4 since the start of the 2004-05 season when leading after two periods.

Welcome To The Show
Freshman Kaitlin Spurling has recorded a point in six of her first 12 games of her career (3-3-6). Classmate Jillian Dempsey has also had the scoring touch, notching six goals to give her the team lead. Dempsey also ranks second with 12 points, trailing Kate Buesser (5-9-14).

Storied Program
With its 3-0 victory over St. Lawrence Nov. 7, Harvard earned the 500th victory in program history. The Crimson owns a 505-290-40 (.629)record over its storied 31-year history.

To Be The Best ...
With its 1-0-1 weekend against No. 2 Minnesota Dec. 4-5, the Crimson stands at 2-2-2 against ranked foes this year. Harvard was 2-6-1 against top 10 opponents last season.

Bright Spot
The Crimson was 9-4-2 record at Bright Hockey Center last season, while posting a 9-5-1 mark on the road. In eight games this season, Harvard owns a 4-2-2 record on home ice.

Red Lights
This season, Harvard ranks second in the nation in scoring defense (1.25 goals allowed per contest), fourth on the penalty kill (47 of 51, .922) and fifth in scoring margin (+1.42) The Crimson also 14th in scoring offense (2.67 goals per game), 20th in combined special teams (53 of 108, .491) and 26th on the power play (6 of 57, .105).

Rank And File
Harvard is ranked sixth in both the latest national poll and ninth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national poll.

On The Road
The Crimson has played four road games this season, going 3-1. Harvard has won its last two on the road, topping Yale Nov. 20 and Brown Nov. 21.

Scoring Burst
Harvard netted three goals in the first and second periods in the Crimson’s 7-2 win over Quinnipiac Nov. 15. The team notched three goals in just one minute, 55 seconds of action in the second period, and the squad’s seven tallies marked the most for the program since Harvard defeated Boston University, 8-0, in the opening round of the Beanpot. On Nov. 21, Harvard scored three goals in the first 4:48 of action in the team’s 5-1 win at Yale.

Crimson Among The Nation’s Best
With 1.00 points per game, Jillian Dempsey ranks tied for third among the nation’s rookies in scoring. At the blue line, Josephine Pucci is 12th among defenders with 0.64 points per game. Among all players, Kate Buesser stands tied for 19th with 1.17 points per game and is tied for 14th with 0.75 assists per contest.

Stopping The Puck
Christina Kessler ranks fourth in the nation with a save percentage of .950 (286 of 301) and stands third with a 1.25 goals-against average. Kessler is also tied for ninth in the nation with a winning percentage of .667 (7-3-2).

Clean Sheets
Harvard, which has earned four shutous this season against St. Lawrence Nov. 7, Yale No. 20, Minnesota Dec. 4 and Minnesota Dec. 5, registered six clean sheets last season, after establishing a new program record with 14 shutouts during the 2007-08 season. Christina Kessler has recorded 25 shutouts during her career at at Harvard, a program record.