No. 4 Women's Hockey Opens Postseason Play by Hosting Princeton in ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal Series

No. 4 Women's Hockey Opens Postseason Play by Hosting Princeton in ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal Series

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot Photography.

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Harvard Alumnae Lead Team USA, Canada to Gold-Medal Game at Olympics

The Particulars

The fourth-ranked Harvard women’s hockey team heads into postseason play with a three-game unbeaten streak and hosts Princeton in a best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series at Bright Hockey Center. The Crimson is the No. 3 seed in the tournament, while Princeton is the sixth seeded team.

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

ECAC Hockey Playoff Picture
The field for the ECAC Hockey postseason is set, as Harvard is one of four teams to host a quarterfinal series this weekend. In other matchups, No. 1 seed Cornell hosts No. 8 seed Colgate, two-seeded Clarkson welcomes No. 7 seed St. Lawrence and No. 4 seed Quinnipiac faces No. 5 seed Rensselaer.

The four advancing teams this weekend will move to the ECAC Hockey semifinal March 5 at the site of the highest two remaining squads. The championship game is slated for March 7.

Series History
Harvard and Princeton have met 65 times on the ice, with the Crimson holding the lead in the series, 34-28-3. The Crimson had won six of the last eight (6-2-0) against the Tigers entering this year, but Princeton is 1-0-1 against Harvard in 2009-10.

On Nov. 14, Princeton emerged with a 2-1 victory in overtime at Bright Hockey Center, as Heather Landry netted the game winner in overtime. Christina Kessler made 37 saves and Josephine Pucci tallied the lone Crimson goal. The teams also met Jan. 8, and played to a 3-3 tie in Princeton, N.J. Jillian Dempsey, Anna McDonald and Kelsey Romatoski each lit the lamp for Harvard, while Laura Bellamy made 13 saves between the pipes.

Last Time Out
Harvard earned three out of four points on the final weekend of the regular season, defeating St. Lawrence, 2-1, and tying No. 6 Clarkson, 3-3. Randi Griffin scored four goals on the weekend, including a game-winning penalty shot with 25 seconds remaining in the third period against the Saints. Griffin then notched a natural hat trick as the Crimson tied Clarkson on the final day of the regular season, allowing Harvard to finish third in the ECAC Hockey standings and earn home ice for the quarterfinals.

Legendary: Head 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 337-142-27 (.692) record into Friday’s game. With Harvard’s 2-1 win at St. Lawrence Feb. 19, Stone is now tied for the all-time Division I record for victories with Laura Halldorson (337 wins), who coached at Minnesota and Colby.

Stone has led Harvard to all seven of its NCAA tournament appearances and has guided the Crimson to 10 Beanpot titles. Stone is also the active leader in victories among Division I women’s hockey coaches.

Bright Spot
In 18 home games this season, Harvard owns a 12-3-3 record on home ice, and is 6-3-2 in road contests. The Crimson was 9-4-2 at Bright Hockey Center last season, while posting a 9-5-1 mark on the road.

To Be The Best ...
With its 3-3 tie against No. 6 Clarkson Feb. 20, the Crimson stands at 5-2-4 against ranked foes this year. Harvard was 2-6-1 against top 10 opponents last season.

What A Finish
In her final regular season game, Randi Griffin recorded the first hat trick of her career, netting three straight goals within 10:07 of each other in the second period in the 3-3 tie at Clarkson Feb. 20. Griffin has netted Harvard’s last four goals, including one on a penalty shot at St. Lawrence Feb. 19. Griffin was honored as ECAC Hockey Player of the Week for her effort.

They’re Honored
Forward Kate Buesser was tabbed to the All-ECAC Hockey first team, while defender Leanna Coskren was named to the All-ECAC Hockey third team. Freshman Jillian Dempsey was selected to the All-ECAC Hockey Rookie team. Additionally, Randi Griffin was a nominee for ECAC Hockey Student-Athlete of the Year.

Harvard Against The Ivy League
The Crimson owns a 6-2-2 against opponents from the Ancient Eight this season. In its last eight games against Ivy League teams, Harvard is 6-0-2, most recently defeating Yale, 4-3, Feb. 6. The Crimson finished the season second in the Ancient Eight after winning the conference crown in each of the last two seasons.

License to Kill
The Crimson boasts the nation’s sixth-best penalty kill unit, stopping 104 of 116 opponent power plays (.897). The Crimson also has a shorthanded goal to its credit this season, coming off the stick of Jillian Dempsey in a 4-0 win over Union Jan. 22.

Clean Sheets
With its 1-0 win over Northeastern in the Beanpot final Feb. 9, Harvard now has recorded seven shutouts this season. Laura Bellamy has earned three clean sheets, as she also shut down Union Jan. 22 and Boston College Feb. 2. Six of the Crimson’s seven shutouts have come at Bright Hockey Center. Senior Christina Kessler has recorded 25 shutouts during her career at Harvard, a program record.

First Thing’s First
Harvard is 15-2-2 when netting the game’s first goal and 3-4-3 when the opposition scores first. The Crimson was 18-0-2 when scoring first and 1-10-1 when the opponent lit the lamp first last season.

Crimson Leading The League
Kate Buesser, who was twice named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week this season,was second in ECAC Hockey with 32 points in conference games and was second in assists with 20. Buesser was also fifth with 12 goals in ECAC Hockey contests. Rookie Jillian Dempsey (10-11-21) ranked tied for eighth in conference points among all players and second among freshmen in the league.

Defender Leanna Coskren was tied for first with 11 power-play points (4-7-11),was tied for seventh with four power-play goals and stood tied for third with three game-winning tallies to her credit. Coskren was fourth among defenders with 16 points (6-10-16). Cori Bassett stood third in defender scoring with 17 points on four goals and 13 assists. She was also tied for sixth among all skaters with 13 assists.

Tip Of The Caps
Liza Ryabkina and Randi Griffin have each recorded a hat trick this season, both counting as natural hat tricks. Ryabkina netted four goals, including three in the third period, against Boston College in the Beanpot semifinal Feb. 2. Griffin lit the lamp three times in the second period at Clarkson Feb. 20.

Road Warriors
The Crimson has played 11 road games this season, going 6-3-2.

Beanpot Returns To Cambridge
The Crimson scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over No. 9 Northeastern at Bright Hockey Center Tuesday, as Harvard captured its 13th Beanpot title. Liza Ryabkina netted the game-winner, giving her five goals for the tournament and was named unanimously as the Beanpot MVP. In net, Laura Bellamy recorded her second straight tournament shutout, making 27 saves. For her effort, Bellamy took home the Bertagna Award, given to the Beanpot’s top goaltender.

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. Overall, Harvard has had nine current and former women’s hockey players represent their countries in the Olympics since 1996.

When The Game Is On The Line
Nine different Harvard players have scored a game-winning goal this season -- Kaitlin Spurling, Liza Ryabkina, Jillian Dempsey, Leanna Coskren, Anna McDonald, Cori Bassett, Kathryn Farni, Kate Buesser and Randi Griffin. Ryabkina has a team-best four game-winning tallies, while Coskren, Spurling and Griffin have three game winners apiece.

Scoring In A Bunch
As a team, Harvard ranked second in ECAC Hockey with 3.14 goals per game, having scored 69 tallies in 22 conference games. The Crimson averaged 3.60 goals per contest in Ivy League games, good for first in the Ancient Eight.

A Balanced Attack
The Crimson has had 14 different players score at least one goal this year, as the team has netted a total of 81 goals. Sixteen players have at least one point to their credit. Harvard had 15 different players light the lamp last season, scoring a total of 95 goals.

Storied Program
With its 3-0 victory over St. Lawrence Nov. 7, Harvard earned the 500th victory in program history. The Crimson owns a 516-293-43 (.631) record over its storied 31-year history.

Spreading The Puck Around
The Crimson has 11 players who have reached double digits in points: Kate Buesser (35 points), Jillian Dempsey (23), Randi Griffin (18), Cori Bassett (18), Liza Ryabkina (17), Leanna Coskren (17), Kathryn Farni (15), Anna McDonald (13), Kaitlin Spurling (11), Katharine Chute (10) and Josephine Pucci (10).

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 currently holds the NCAA career record with a .9413 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 (2,175 of 2,312, .9407).

It’s All Over
Harvard is 109-2-6 (.957) since the start of the 2004-05 season when leading after two periods. The Crimson is 15-1-2 (.889) in this category this season. Harvard’s lone loss came at Rensselaer Feb. 12, as the Crimson fell, 3-2, in overtime after holding a 2-0 lead in the third period. The Crimson led, 1-0, through two periods of play.

Stopping The Puck
Since stepping into the starting role, goaltender Laura Bellamy stands fourth in the country with a 1.37 goals-against average, while boasting the nation’s seventh-best save percentage (270 of 288, .938). She owns a 8-3-2 record good for a winning percentage of .692, the ninth highest mark in the country. Christina Kessler ranks fifth with a save percentage of .944 (351 of 372) and stands fifth with a 1.39 goals-against average.

Kylie Stephens earned her first start of the season Feb. 13, picking up the victory in Harvard’s 2-1 win at Union. Stephens made 13 saves and has a 2.65 goals-against average on the season.

Hall of Fame Inductee
Former Harvard standout Tammy Shewchuk ’00-01 was inducted into the Women’s Beanpot Hall of Fame during a ceremony between the consolation and championship games at Bright Hockey Center Feb. 9. Shewchuk is second all-time in Women’s Beanpot history with 25 points in eight games, having scored nine goals and handed out 16 assists. She helped Harvard win three Beanpots in 1999, 2000 and ’01. Other Crimson Beanpot Hall of Fame Inductees include Jennifer Botterill ’02-03 (2008) and Cheryl Tate ’82 (2009).

Welcome To The Show
Harvard freshmen have had the scoring touch this season, led by Jillian Dempsey who is second on the team with 10 goals, 13 assists and 23 points. Kaitlin Spurling (8-3-11) and Josephine Pucci (4-6-10) have also been scoring threats. Spurling is also tied for second on the team with three game-winning goals.

Hot Hand
Liza Ryabkina established a new career high, scoring four goals, including three in the third period alone, in Harvard’s 5-0 win over Boston College in the semifinal round of the Beanpot Feb. 2. Ryabkina, who also had the game winner in the Beanpot final Feb. 9, notched two power-play tallies and scored two even strength goals. Her four goals mark the most for a Harvard player since Sarah Vaillancourt ’08-09 lit the lamp four times in a 5-2 win at Cornell Feb. 13, 2009.

A Stone Wall
The Crimson earned back-to-back shutouts against Minnesota Dec. 4-5, marking the first time that the Golden Gophers 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.

Hot Streak
Entering Friday’s game against Princeton, Harvard has won eight of its last 10 games and is 8-1-1 in its last 10 contests.

Red Lights
Harvard ranks third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 1.48 goals per game. The Crimson also ranks fourth in scoring margin (+1.31), sixth on the penalty kill (104 of 116, .897), seventh in combined special teams (126 of 239, .527) and 10th in scoring offense (2.79 goals scored per game). Harvard has also been successful on the power play, scoring 17.9 percent of the time (22 of 123), good for the 12th-best mark in the country.

Crimson Among The Nation’s Best
With 0.76 assists per game, Kate Buesser ranks 16th in the nation in this category. Buesser also stands 20th with 1.21 points per contest. Liza Ryabkina has four game-winning goals, ranking her 11th, while at the blue line, Cori Bassett is averaging 0.62 points per game, placing her 13th. Among all of the country’s rookies, Jillian Dempsey stands eighth with 0.79 points per contest. Randi Griffin is tied for 15th with six power-play goals to her credit.

Solid Start
In 13 career starts, Laura Bellamy owns an 8-3-2 record with three shutouts. She has won seven of her last eight games in net, including the Beanpot championship Feb. 9, and stopped a career-high 37 shots in 4-1 win at Dartmouth Jan. 29.

Shining All-Stars
Seniors Cori Bassett and Anna McDonald and junior Kate Buesser each earned a spot on the ECAC Hockey All-Star Team, which faced the U.S. Women’s Hockey National Team in an exhibition game Jan. 3. McDonald scored a goal, while Bassett and Buesser each had an assist.


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