Sights Set on 14th Beanpot Title for Women's Hockey

Sights Set on 14th Beanpot Title for Women's Hockey

Josephine Pucci's shootout goal enabled Harvard to advance to the Beanpot Championship (John Quackenbos)

Beanpot semifinal shootout highlights

Boston Herald: Crimson's Marissa Gedman Catches On

Pearl River Patch: Josephine Pucci feature

The Particulars

After a thrilling shootout victory over local rival Northeastern in the Beanpot semifinals, Harvard looks to claim a record-tying 14th Beanpot Championship Tuesday night against host Boston College. The Eagles advanced to the finals via a 2-1 win over No. 3 Boston University.
Series History
Harvard and Boston College have met 46 times prior to tonight's matchup, making the Eagles the  team with the second-most appearances on the Crimson's schedule among non-conference schools. Harvard boasts a 36-10-0 series lead against BC, including a 5-0 win last season in the opening round of the Beanpot. Harvard also collected 17 straight wins over the Eagles between 1997 and 2005.     

When the two teams met earlier this season, it was a one-sided affair as the Eagles skated to a 6-2 win.  Kelli Stack started the scoring in the first period but Kate Buesser answered, knotting the score at 1-1 at the first break. Stack took over in the second, netting two more goals to complete the hat-trick. Even with a Josephine Pucci tally in the third, the Crimson was unable to climb back into the game.

A Beanpot Barnburner
Last Tuesday, the Crimson rallied from a 3-0 second-period deficit to tie Northeastern at the end of regulation and earn a 2-1 shootout victory in the semifinal round of the 2011 Beanpot, hosted by Boston College. Kate Buesser started the scoring for Harvard with a power-play tally in the second and Ashley Wheeler and Marissa Gedman scored with less than five minutes to play to force a 3-3 tie in regulation.

Jillian Dempsey scored on Harvard's first attempt in the shootout and Josephine Pucci pushed the shootout score to 2-1 on the Crimson's fourth attempt. With two saves already to her credit in the shootout, Laura Bellamy stuffed Northeastern's final attempt, propelling Harvard into the Beanpot final against host Boston College.  

Beanpot Hall of Fame
The Beanpot Hall of Fame class of 2011 will be announced during the Beanpot final. This year, Harvard is proud to announce the induction of A.J. Mleczko '99. With eight goals and 11 assists in eight games, Mleczko stands as the fifth-highest scorer in tournament history, and was named Beanpot MVP her senior year. She led Harvard to two Beanpot Championships (1995 and 1999) and captained the Crimson during its 1999 AWCHA National Championship run. Mleczko also received All-America accolades her senior year and was the first of five Harvard recipients of the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. Mleczko has twice represented her country at the Winter Olympic Games, helping Team U.S.A. win the gold medal in Nagano in 1998 and a silver medal in Salt Lake City in 2002.     

Last Weekend
On a key conference road trip, its final one of the regular season, the Crimson earned three out of a possible four points, tying Clarkson, 3-3, Friday and downing St. Lawrence, 3-2, in overtime Saturday.  

Down 1-0 at the start of the second period against Clarkson, Harvard rallied for two quick goals midway through the frame. Jillian Dempsey converted a Leanna Coskren feed for Harvard's first goal and Elizabeth Parker gave the Crimson its first lead. The Golden Knights snatched the lead back with two goals of their own but Dempsey potted her second goal of the game early in the third to seal the 3-3 tie.  

All of the scoring in regulation took place in the second period, beginning with Liza Ryabkina's marker 11:23 into the period. St. Lawrence rattled off the next two but Josephine Pucci put home a short-range shot to knot the score at 2-2 after two periods of play. A scoreless third led Harvard to its third consecutive overtime contest and with just seven seconds remaining in the game, Jillian Dempsey scored her third goal of the weekend to give Harvard the 3-2 overtime victory.  

Harvard Coach Katey Stone
Katey Stone, the Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Hockey, is in her 17th season as Harvard's head coach, and she holds a 353-152-31 career  record, the most all-time victories in Division I women's hockey. Stone has led Harvard to all eight of its NCAA tournament appearances and was named head coach of the U.S. Women's National Team in the summer of 2010.  

Hold Your Fire
In 78 periods of regulation hockey so far this season, Harvard has only allowed double-digit shots in a given period 18 times (23 percent). Against Yale (Oct. 29) Harvard limited the Bulldogs to 13 shots in the game, including just three in the second period. Brown managed 15 total shots and fired just two on net in the second stanza Oct. 30. Harvard held Colgate to just two shots in the third period in a 3-1 win and also held Quinnipiac to just two shots in the third period of a 4-1 loss. The Crimson was outshot for the second time this season Nov. 20 at Dartmouth, but came away from Hanover, N.H. with a 3-2 victory.

Against New Hampshire, Harvard allowed just 14 shots on net, including three in the second period. The Crimson did its best job of shot-blocking versus Union Jan. 7, allowing just 10 shots on goal for the game, including only two in the final period. When Harvard faced the Dutchwomen Jan. 22, it again allowed just 10 shots in the game, including only one in the first period of play. In the Beanpot semifinal against Northeastern, the Crimson matched its period-low, conceding just one shot in the second stanza of an eventual shootout victory.     

Harvard has allowed one opponent to amass more than 30 shots in a game this season as Quinnipiac racked up 32 shots Feb. 5 when the Crimson totaled 44. Harvard is averaging 32.2 shots per game to its opponents' 20.9 and is outshooting its opponents 837-544 through 26 games. Harvard recorded its highest shot total of the season against Brown Jan. 28, firing 54 shots on goal. Harvard has eclipsed the 40-shot mark five times this season.

About Boston College
The Eagles are having a solid season in 2010-11, holding down a national ranking and sitting in second place by a wide margin in the Hockey East standings. BC kicked off its schedule with a 10-game unbeaten streak and has yet to drop back-to-back games this season. In its most recent action, BC had a tough time with conference foe Maine, tying and falling to the Black Bears in a two game series this weekend.  

Two Down But Not Out
With an improving penalty kill, the Crimson has shown its mettle by killing six 5-on-3 opportunities since the New Year. Harvard stopped RPI on a two-skater advantage in a 2-1 loss Jan. 8 and then killed another two-skater advantage in its next game, a 2-1 win over St. Lawrence. The Crimson kept Rensselaer scoreless on two separate 5-on-3 scenarios in a 2-1 win at Bright Jan. 21. Harvard also killed a pair of 5-on-3 situations against Quinnipiac Feb. 5, enabling a 3-2 comeback win. Harvard has not allowed a 5-on-3 goal all season.

Give Me an "O"
The Crimson has had its best results this season when it scores more than two goals. Harvard has scored four or more goals six times this season and has captured wins in all six games. The Crimson is 6-1-3 in games it scores three goals, its only loss coming to No. 4/5 Boston University in a 5-3 final.

Comeback Kids
While Harvard has been a bit slow to start in its last few outings, the team has shown its resilience, posting a number of come-from-behind performances. Against Quinnipiac Feb. 5, Harvard entered the third period down, 2-0, only to tally three goals in an eight-minute span to capture a 3-2 victory at home. Against Northeastern in the Beanpot semifinal, Harvard was staring at a 3-0 second-period deficit before putting three pucks in the net, two coming with under five minutes to play in regulation. The Crimson went on to win the shootout, 2-1, to advance to the Beanpot final.

This past weekend, Harvard came back from two separate one-goal deficits to tie Clarkson and then overcame a 2-1 hole against St. Lawrence to claim a 3-2 overtime win.   

Block You Like a Hurricane
A big reason that Harvard has been so successful in limiting opponents' shots on goal has been the team's penchant for blocking shots. Heading into the weekend, Harvard has out-blocked its opponents 367-260. In 26 games played this season, the Crimson has registered more blocked shots than its opponent in a game 18 times. Harvard has also topped the 20-block barrier five times this season with the most blocked shots in a game coming in the season opener against Yale where 33 shots never made it to the goalie.

Four Pack
The Crimson scored four or more goals in a three-game stretch from Jan. 22-29. Harvard blanked Union and Brown by identical 4-0 scores and downed Yale, 5-3. The last time Harvard put together a streak of three, four-goal games was Feb. 2-6, 2010, which was kicked off with a 5-0 win over B.C. in the opening round of the Beanpot.

Getting It Done on the Road
With the weekend sweep of Brown and Yale Jan. 28-29, the Crimson recorded its first road weekend sweep since Nov. 20-21, 2009, when it also topped Yale and Brown in their home rinks. Harvard also upped its season road record to .500 for the first time in two months, with a 7-6-2 mark away from home this season.  

Timing is Everything
January was a month to remember for the Crimson. After posting sub-.500 records in
November and December, Harvard recorded its best January record since the 2007-08 season, posting a 7-1-0 mark.

Saturdays have also been favorable for the Crimson this season as Harvard has a 8-1-1 record in Saturday games and a 9-3-3 record in afternoon contests.

Rank And File
Harvard began the 2010-11 regular season schedule ranked in both national polls. The Crimson was ranked in the first seven national polls of the season, climbing as high as No. 7 in the Oct. 4 polls. Harvard worked its way back into the national polls Feb. 1, claiming the No. 10 ranking in the and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.

It's All Over
Harvard is 120-2-6 (.960) since the start of the 2004-05 season when leading after two periods. The Crimson is 9-0-0 this season in such situations.     

First Things First
So far this season, Harvard is 10-1-0 when scoring first and 4-7-4 when conceding the first goal.  The Crimson was 17-2-2 when scoring first and 3-6-3 when the opponent scored first last season.