No. 6 Crimson Continues Home Stretch With Pair Against Union, Rensselaer

No. 6 Crimson Continues Home Stretch With Pair Against Union, Rensselaer

Pictured: Kate Buesser is tied for the ECAC Hockey lead in scoring with 20 points.
Photo courtesy: Gil Talbot Photography

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Kessler Becomes Harvard's All-Time Winningest Goaltender

The Particulars
With nine ECAC Hockey games remaining in the regular season, the sixth-ranked Harvard women’s hockey team will look to grab crucial conference points as the squad hosts Union and Rensselaer at Bright Hockey Center. The Crimson sits in fifth place in the ECAC Hockey standings with 16 points, while Rensselaer is seventh with 13 points and Union is 11th with three points.

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

Series History
Harvard has never lost or tied a game against Union, owning a 12-0-0 advantage in the all-time series, dating back to 2003-04. Last season, the Crimson emerged with 5-0 and 5-1 victories. In the shutout on Nov. 8, 2008, Sarah Wilson ’09 scored two goals and Jenny Brine ’09 had a tally and assisted on another goal, as Harvard outshot Union, 46-12. In the second meeting last year on Jan. 30, 2009, Brine had a four-point game, handing out three assists and scoring a goal, while Katharine Chute notched two goals and added one assist.

Harvard and Rensselaer have met seven times, with the Crimson holding a 5-1-1 lead in the series. Last season, Randi Griffin scored a goal and Christina Kessler made 21 saves in a 1-1 tie Nov. 7, while Sarah Vaillancourt ’08-09 returned from international competition to find the back of the net twice in a 5-4 victory Jan. 31, 2009. The two teams also met in the semifinal round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs, a 3-2 win in overtime for the Engineers.

Last Time Out
Anna McDonald netted two goals and Liza Ryabkina had a goal and an assist in a 4-4 tie against Cornell Jan. 15. On the following afternoon, Christina Kessler turned aside 21 shots to a 5-1 win against Colgate, as the senior netminder became Harvard’s all-time winningest goaltender with her 64th victory. Kate Buesser (1-2-3) and Cori Bassett (1-1-2) paced the offensive surge for Harvard, which has scored nine goals in its last two games.

Crimson Leading The League
Kate Buesser is tied for the league lead in ECAC Hockey contests with 20 points, having scored six goals and handing out 14 assists. Buesser’s 14 helpers is also a league-high. Leanna Coskren (4-5-9) and Cori Bassett (3-6-9) rank tied for second among the blue-liners in the conference with nine points in ECAC Hockey action. Jillian Dempsey paces all rookies in the conference in scoring with 15 points (7-8-15).

As a team, Harvard leads the conference with 3.23 goals per game and is fourth in scoring defense (1.77 goals allowed per game).

Just Win, Christina!
Senior goaltender Christina Kessler is 64-16-6 (.779) in her career in net, placing her first on Harvard’s all-time goalie wins, as she passed Ali Boe ’06 with a 5-1 victory against Colgate Jan. 16. Kessler is currently tied for the NCAA career record with a .941 save percentage, as she has stopped 1,863 of 1,979 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

Seven different Harvard players have scored a game-winning goal this season -- Kaitlin Spurling, Liza Ryabkina, Jillian Dempsey, Leanna Coskren, Anna McDonald, Cori Bassett and Kathryn Farni. Coskren and Ryabkina had two game-winning tallies to their credit.

Where’s Your Beanpot?
Harvard will host the 2010 Beanpot at Bright Hockey Center. The first round, featuring the Crimson vs. Boston College at 8 p.m. and Boston University vs. Northeastern at 5 p.m. will take place Feb. 2, while the second round will be held Feb. 9. Harvard has won 12 Beanpots, while Northeastern has the lead with 14. Boston College has three titles, and Boston University has won three of the tournaments, which began in 1979.

A Balanced Attack

The Crimson has had 13 different players score at least one goal this year, as the team has netted a total of 46 goals. Sixteen 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.

The World’s Best
A trio of former Harvard standout skaters have been named to the 2010 U.S. Women’s National Team, which will compete at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Angela Ruggiero ’02-04, the Patty Kazmaier recipient in 2004, Julie Chu ’06-07, the winner of the Patty Kazmaier trophy in 2007, and former All-American Caitlin Cahow ’07-08 were named to the American team. On Team Canada, Harvard will be represented by two-time Patty Kazmaier Award winner Jennifer Botterill ’02-03, and Sarah Vaillancourt ’08-09, who was named the top women’s college hockey player in 2008.

Around The Ivy League
The Crimson is unbeaten in five straight games against Ivy League opponents (3-0-2) after tying Cornell Jan. 15. The Crimson stands at 3-2-2 against Ancient Eight opponents, good for third place in the conference standings. Cornell remains in first with a 5-0-2 Ivy League conference record.

License to Kill
The Crimson boasts the nation’s ninth-best penalty kill unit, stopping 64 of 72 opponent power plays (.889).

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 328-140-26 (.690) 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 nine wins shy of tying the all-time Division I record, held by Laura Halldorson (337 victories).

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 7-1-1 when netting the game’s first goal and 2-3-2 when the opposition scores first.

It’s All Over
Harvard is 101-1-5 since the start of the 2004-05 season when leading after two periods.

Welcome To The Show
Harvard freshmen have had the scoring touch this season, led by Jillian Dempsey who is tied for the team with seven goals and is second with nine assists and 16 points. Kaitlin Spurling (4-3-7), Josephine Pucci (2-5-7) have also been scoring threats.

Storied Program
With its 3-0 victory over St. Lawrence Nov. 7, Harvard earned the 500th victory in program history. The Crimson owns a 507-291-42 (.629)record over its storied 31-year history.

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.

To Be The Best ...
With its 4-4 tie against No. 10 Cornell Jan. 15, the Crimson stands at 3-2-3 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 11 games this season, Harvard owns a 6-2-3 record on home ice, but is 3-2-1 in road contests.

Red Lights
This season, Harvard ranks fourth in the nation in scoring defense (1.47 goals allowed per game), sixth in scoring margin (+1.24), ninth on the penalty kill (64 of 72, .889), eighth in winning percentage (9-4-4, .647) and 15th in scoring offense (2.71 goals scored per game).

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

Solid Start
Freshman Laura Bellamy started both games in net Jan. 8-9, making 21 saves and allowing only four goals (.840). Bellamy recorded a career-high 13 saves in a 3-3 tie at Princeton and surrendered only one goal, while stopping eight shots at Quinnipiac.

On The Road
The Crimson has played six road games this season, going 3-2-1. Harvard has five road games left in the regular season, beginning with the contest at Dartmouth Jan. 29.

Crimson Among The Nation’s Best
With 0.82 assists per game, Kate Buesser ranks seventh in the nation in this category. At the blue line, Cori Bassett is averaging 0.59 points per game, placing her 16th. Among all of the country’s rookies, Jillian Dempsey stands fourth with 0.94 points per contest.

Stopping The Puck
Christina Kessler ranks third in the nation with a save percentage of .944 (351 of 372) and stands third with a 1.39 goals-against average. Kessler is also seventh in the nation with a winning percentage of .700 (9-3-3).