ECAC Final Berth On the Line as Women's Hockey Hosts Dartmouth Thursday

ECAC Final Berth On the Line as Women's Hockey Hosts Dartmouth Thursday

Harvard will play in its 12th-straight ECAC semifinal Thursday against Dartmouth (Kevin Burns).

ECAC Quarterfinal Highlights - Harvard vs. St. Lawrence

Complete Game Notes (.pdf)

The Particulars

The Crimson advances to its 12th-straight ECAC semifinal, where it will take on Ivy League rival Dartmouth Thursday at Bright Hockey Center. Harvard advanced thanks to a quarterfinal series sweep of St. Lawrence, while the Big Green topped Clarkson in three games to earn a berth in the  league's final four. 

Series History
Dartmouth represents Harvard's oldest rival in team history, as the teams have faced off 76 times since 1978. The Crimson barely trails in the all-time series, holding a 35-39-2 record against the Big Green. The two teams played a home-and-home earlier this season with Harvard taking both games from the then-No. 9 Big Green. Marissa Gedman, Liza Ryabkina, Elizabeth Parker and Kate Buesser had goals to help Harvard to a 4-1 lead in the first meeting, and Katharine Chute added an empty-netter to seal the 5-3 win Nov. 19 at Bright. The following night, Harvard bounced back from a 2-1 deficit with third-period goals from Alisa Baumgartner and Jillian Dempsey for a 3-2 win in Hanover, N.H.

The Crimson and Big Green have faced each other six times in the ECAC tournament with Dartmouth holding a 4-2 edge in those games. The last time the two teams faced off in the league playoffs was in the 2005 final, where Harvard fended off Dartmouth, 4-1, en route to a berth in the NCAA championship game. Harvard has faced Dartmouth in the ECAC semifinals only once before, dropping a 4-2 decision in 2002.     

The Quarterfinals
Harvard recorded two of its highest goal totals of the season in the quarterfinal series win over St. Lawrence, posting 6-1 and 8-3 wins at Bright last weekend.

The Crimson got out to a fast start in Game 1 against St. Lawrence, as Jillian Dempsey gave Harvard a 1-0 lead just 1:28 into the game. Josephine Pucci, Elizabeth Parker and Whitney Kennedy also had first-period markers to help the hosts to a 4-1 lead after one. Dempsey added a second score in the third period and Katharine Chute put home an empty-net effort to cap the 6-1 win.  

It was more of the same in Game 2, as Harvard netted a quartet of scores in the first period to take a commanding 4-0 lead. Kate Buesser put home a pair of goals, while Ashley Wheeler and Gina McDonald also found the back of the net in the first stanza. A second-period lapse saw the Saints climb back into the game, as the guests scored three goals to end the frame down just one at 4-3. Buesser answered quickly to start the third, completing her hat trick with a goal 15 seconds into the frame. Jillian Dempsey added one 45 seconds later and then scored a power-play tally at the 10:28 mark. Marissa Gedman scored an empty-net goal from distance to close the scoring and push Harvard to the semifinals with an 8-3 win.

Harvard ECAC History
The Crimson holds an all-time record of 33-15 in ECAC tournament action, dating back to 1987. Harvard didn't win its first ECAC playoff game until 1999, a 3-2 win over Cornell at Bright Hockey Center. The Crimson went on to capture the first of its five tournament titles that year. Bright has hosted an ECAC quarterfinal series every year since 2002 and the Crimson has emerged victorious in every one of those series.

All-ECAC Honors
After locking up second place in the 2010-11 league standings, the Harvard women's hockey team had five players named to the ECAC Hockey All-League teams, the organization announced Tuesday. Sophomores Jillian Dempsey and Josephine Pucci received second-team accolades, seniors Liza Ryabkina and Leanna Coskren received third-team nods and freshman Marissa Gedman was named to the All-Rookie team.

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 356-154-31 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.   

First Things First
This season, Harvard is 13-1-0 when scoring first and 4-9-4 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.   

Quarterfinal Flurry
With 14 goals scored in the quarterfinal series against St. Lawrence, the Crimson recorded its second-highest quarterfinal goal total in team history. In 2003, Harvard swept Cornell by scores of 13-1 and 7-0 in the quarterfinal round for a program-best total of 20 goals in the ECAC opening round.

Historic Four-Game Stretch
The Crimson has turned up the offense as of late, scoring a total of 24 goals in its last four games. Harvard topped Colgate, 7-0, fell to Cornell, 4-3, and bested St. Lawrence by scores of 6-1 and 8-3. The last time Harvard had a four-game total of at least 24 goals was during the 2006-07 season, when it scored 25 goals in a four-game stretch. The four-game span started with an 8-1 win at Union and continued with a 5-1 win at Rensselaer, a 4-3 loss to Boston College in the Beanpot semifinals and a 9-1 win at Cornell.

Hats Off!
Kate Buesser notched Harvard's first hat trick of the 2010-11 season with her trio of tallies in the 8-3 quarterfinal win over St. Lawrence. Harvard's last hat trick came Feb. 20, 2010 when Randi Griffin '10 netted a natural hat trick in a 3-3 tie at No. 6 Clarkson.

As The Two Seed
With the 7-0 win over Colgate Feb. 18, the Crimson locked up the No. 2 seed for the ECAC tournament. It is just the third time in team history that Harvard has finished second in the ECAC regular-season standings, and the first time since 2001. Harvard advanced to the title game in 2001 as the second seed, falling to Dartmouth, 3-1, in the final. The Crimson advanced to the semifinals as the No. 2 seed the year before that, dropping a 3-2 overtime thriller to the Big Green at Meehan Auditorium in Providence, R.I.

Special Special Teams
The last week of the regular season saw some inspired performances by the Harvard penalty kill and power-play units. Against Boston College in the Beanpot final, Harvard needed just two kills to silence the Eagles' power play. In the 7-0 pounding of Colgate, Harvard notched a season-high three power-play goals on seven attempts, erased six penalties and tallied its third shorthanded goal of the season. Harvard allowed just one power-play goal in seven attempts to the nation's top power-play unit in Cornell, and tallied it's fourth player-up  score of the weekend.

Against St. Lawrence in Game 2 of the quarterfinals, Harvard matched its season-high with three power-play tallies on eight attempts.

May I Help You?
With four assists in a 7-0 blowout of Colgate, Jillian Dempsey set a career-high for points in a game and set the mark for most points by a Harvard skater in a game this season. The last time a Harvard player recorded four helpers in a game was Feb. 3, 2009 when Sarah Vaillancourt '08-09  posted four assists against Boston University.

Offensive Outburst
The eight goals scored in the 8-3 win over St. Lawrence Saturday marked the most goals scored in a game during the 2010-11 season. The last time the Crimson posted at least eight goals in a game was against Boston University, Feb. 3, 2009 in an 8-0 win.

Hold Your Fire
In 93 periods of regulation hockey this season, Harvard only allowed double-digit shots in a given period 23 times (25 percent). On 10 occasions, Harvard held its opponent to three or fewer shots in a period, including twice holding an opponent to a single shot on goal in a given frame. Harvard is 6-0-1 when holding opponents to 16 or fewer shots this season:   

Fewest Shots Allowed - Game
10 - at Union, Jan. 7, 2011 (W, 5-0)
      vs. Union, Jan. 22, 2011 (W, 4-0)
13 - vs. Yale, Oct. 29, 2010 (T, 3-3)
14 - at New Hampshire, Dec. 9, 2010 (W, 3-1)
15 - vs. Brown, Oct. 30, 2010 (W, 4-2)
16 - vs. Clarkson, Jan. 15, 2011 (W, 3-2)
16 - vs. Colgate, Feb. 18, 2011 (W, 7-0)

Harvard has allowed just 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 averaged 32.6 shots per game to its opponents' 21.7 and outshot its opponents 941-618 during the regular season. 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 Dartmouth
The Big Green needed three games to polish off Clarkson in a home quarterfinal series, earning a come-from-behind, overtime 4-3 win in the deciding Game 3 Sunday. Clarkson started the series with a 4-1 win Friday, but the hosts answered back with a 4-2 win Saturday. While Harvard had the better league record between the two teams, Dartmouth has been ranked higher in the national polls since taking down No. 2 Cornell, 4-2, Feb. 18, the Big Red's only conference loss of the season.    

Two Down But Not Out
No team has scored a goal against the Crimson with a two-skater advantge this season. 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 also killed a 5-on-3 chance in the 6-1 win over St. Lawrence in the ECAC quarterfinals.

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 nine times this season and has captured wins in all nine games. The Crimson is 6-2-3 in games it scores three goals, its only losses coming to No. 4/5 Boston University in a 5-3 final and No. 2 Cornell in a 4-3 game.    

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, 436-311. In 31 games played this season, the Crimson has registered more blocked shots than its opponent in a game 22 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 Boston College 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 it's 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 7-7-2 mark on visiting ice this season.

Timing is Everything
January was a month to remember for the Crimson. After posting sub-.500 records inNovember 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 9-2-1 record in Saturday games and a 11-4-3 record in afternoon contests.

Rookie Campaigns
This years roster featured seven freshmen: goaltender Lauren Joarnt, Kalley Armstrong, Lyndsey Fry, Marissa Gedman, Gina McDonald, Elizabeth Parker and Jackie Young.

Here is a look at their stats in their first full regular season with the Crimson:
Marissa Gedman: 4g, 9a, 13 pts
Lyndsey Fry: 6g, 4a, 10 pts
Kalley Armstrong: 5g, 3a, 8 pts
Gina McDonald: 1g, 4a, 5 pts
Elizabeth Parker: 2g, 3a, 5 pts
Jackie Young: 0g, 3a, 3 pts
Lauren Joarnt: 1-1-1, 3.04 GAA, .852 save %  

It's All Over
Harvard is 123-2-6 (.960) since the start of the 2004-05 season when leading after two periods. The Crimson is 12-0-0 this season in such games.     

Bright Spot
Harvard recorded an 8-3-1 record at Bright through the 2010-11 regular season.  The Crimson owned a 14-4-3 record at Bright Hockey Center in 2009-10, and posted a 6-4-2 mark on the road.  Since Harvard hosted the Beanpot in 2009-10, the Crimson played no neutral-site games.