Women's Hockey Kicks Off 2011-12 Campaign Against ECAC Foes St. Lawrence, Clarkson

Women's Hockey Kicks Off 2011-12 Campaign Against ECAC Foes St. Lawrence, Clarkson

Alisa Baumgartner will serve as captain of the 2011-12 Harvard women's hockey team (Gil Talbot).

Complete Game Notes

Season Preview: Women's Hockey Looks to Remain Among League's Elite

USA Hockey: Pucci Aims to be New Harvard Star for U.S.

The Particulars

The Harvard women's hockey team opens its 34th season of play with a pair of ECAC Hockey contests against St. Lawrence and Clarkson. Harvard is the last team in the conference to begin its regular season while the Saints and Golden Knights have already played six and eight games, respectively.  

Series History
Harvard and St. Lawrence have some recent history, as the teams squared off in the 2011 ECAC Hockey quarterfinals. The Crimson holds the all-time series lead against St. Lawrence, 32-11-5, aided by a quartet of victories over the Saints last season.

A pair of one-goal victories, including an overtime thriller in Canton, N.Y.,  in 2010-11 gave Harvard the regular-season series, but the teams met again in the ECAC tournament quarterfinal round. Jillian Dempsey (Winthrop, Mass.) put on a clinic in Game 1, posting two goals to spark the Crimson to a 6-1 rout and a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 was another offensive outburst, as Kate Buesser '11 recorded Harvard's first hat-trick of the season and Dempsey scored two more goals as the Crimson advanced to the semifinals on the strength of an 8-3 win and 2-0 series sweep.

After a tough 2009-10 season against the Golden Knights, the Crimson rebounded last year with a win and a tie in the teams' two meetings. The results helped Harvard increase its all-time series lead to 14-5-2 over Clarkson.

In last year's first meeting between the two teams, the then-freshman tandem of Marissa Gedman (Framingham, Mass.) and Lyndsey Fry (Chandler, Ariz.) netted consecutive goals to give the hosts a 2-0 lead through two periods. The Golden Knights pulled within one in the third, but Kate Buesser tallied Harvard's third goal, which proved to be the game-winner as Clarkson notched a late strike. It was a seesaw battle in Potsdam four weeks later and after Clarkson scored first, Dempsey and Elizabeth Parker (Milton, Mass.) scored in the second to give Harvard a short-lived 2-1 lead.  Clarkson regained the lead with a goal in the second and third periods, but Dempsey notched her second goal of the game with 4:29 left to force the 3-3 draw.  

Exhibiting Excellence
While this weekend's contests are the first two of the 2011-12 regular season for Harvard, the Crimson squared off against McGill Oct. 22 in an exhibition match at Bright Hockey Center.

A McGill goal midway through the second period put Harvard in a 1-0 hole but, Dempsey leveled the score with 3:42 to play in the second, converting a Gina McDonald (New Brighton, Minn.) pass. Sophomore Kalley Armstrong (Maple, Ont.) gave Harvard the lead at 2-1 with an unassisted, shorthanded goal after picking off an errant Martlet pass at her own blueline. McDonald's empty-netter at the end of the third sealed the 3-1 victory for the Crimson. The win put Harvard at 6-0-1 in its last seven exhibitions against McGill.   

Fresh Faces
The 2011-12 Crimson boasts five freshmen on its roster: two forwards, two defensemen and a goalie. Hillary Crowe (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Samantha Reber (Edina, Minn.) bolster the crew of Harvard forwards while Sarah Edney (Mississauga, Ont.) and Michelle Picard (Taunton, Mass.) join the roster as blueliners. Tiana Press (Minnetonka, Minn.) gives the Crimson a solid option in goal.  

Harvard Coach Katey Stone
Katey Stone, the Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women's Hockey, is in her 18th season as Harvard's head coach, and she holds a
356-155-31 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 is the head coach of the U.S. Women's National Team.
Crimson, White and Blue
Aside from having Katey Stone as its coach, the U.S. Women's National Team has a number of familiar Harvard faces within its ranks. Three current members and two formers members of the Crimson are on the U.S. roster for the 2011 Four Nations Cup in Nykoping, Sweden in early November.  

Juniors Josephine Pucci (Pearl River, N.Y.) and Jillian Dempsey and rookie Michelle Picard are current members of the Harvard squad who will be making the trip with Team USA. Pucci will be playing in her fourth tournament with the team, having earned a spot on the roster prior to the 2010 Four Nations Tournament. Dempsey will be making her second appearance with the team after debuting at the Twelve Nations Tournament this summer, and Picard will be making her debut  with the U.S. National team. Veterans Julie Chu '06-07 and Caitlin Cahow '07-08 are also on the roster for the 2011 Four Nations Cup.     

Preseason Prognostications
The ECAC Hockey coaches picked Harvard second in their preseason poll, behind defending league champion Cornell.

Team (first-place votes)    Points
1. Cornell (11)    121
2. Harvard      105
3. Quinnipiac (1)    93
4. Dartmouth    91
5. Clarkson    82
6. St. Lawrence    70
7. Princeton    68
8. Rensselaer    51
9. Colgate    41
10. Yale     36
11. Brown    22
12. Union     12     

Crimson Captain
Leading the way for the Crimson as captain this season is the lone member of the class of 2012, Alisa Baumgartner (West Vancouver, B.C.). Josephine Pucci and Laura Bellamy (Duluth, Minn.) will don 'A's' on their jerseys as assistant captains this season.  

Are You Ready For Some Hockey?
Harvard has fared well in season-opening games over the past decade, collecting eight wins in its past nine openers. Last season, Harvard skated to a 3-3 tie with conference-rival Yale at Bright Hockey Center, snapping a streak of eight straight season-opening victories.

In 33 years of Harvard women's hockey, the Crimson is 19-12-2 in season-opening games. Harvard has opened its season on the road 13 times, going 7-5-1 in such contests. The Crimson has faced an ECAC opponent in its first game 19 times in the history of the program, posting a 10-7-2 mark in those games. Harvard has never faced St. Lawrence to begin a season.    

First Things First
Over the past two seasons, Harvard is a combined 30-3-2 when scoring first and 7-15-7 when conceding the first goal. The Crimson was 13-1-0 last season when netting the first goal of the game.    

World Champs
In April of 2011, Katey Stone and a quartet of current and former Harvard players helped the U.S. Women's National Team win the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Zurich, Switzerland. Josephine Pucci helped the team earn gold shortly after wrapping up her sophomore campaign at Harvard and Julie Chu, Caitlin Cahow and Angela Ruggiero '02-04 were also on the U.S. roster that downed archrival Canada, 3-2, in overtime in the championship game. The title was Stone's first as head coach of the national team and fourth overall for the U.S.

Top Statistical Returners
Despite graduating a class of six seniors, Harvard returns some key players from last year's squad, including two of its top three scorers. Jillian Dempsey returns as the top scorer from the 2010-11 season, having notched 14 goals and assists for 28 points, while Josephine Pucci ranked third on the team and was Harvard's top-scoring defenseman with 12-13-25 points. Marissa Gedman was third among Harvard blueliners with 5-12-17 points and classmate Lyndsey Fry also broke the 10point barrier with 6-5-11 points in her rookie campaign.

Historically Harvard
Harvard has a storied tradition within the women's college hockey ranks and in 33 years of exsistence, the team has compiled 25 winning seasons, including nine with at least 20 wins and  four with 30 or more victories.

Since Harvard captured the 1999 AWCHA National Championship, the team has compiled the fifth-best winning percentage in the country and the highest among eastern teams during that span. Here are the teams with the top 10 winning percentages beginning with the 1999-2000 season: 
 1.    Minnesota (352-83-31)    .789
 2.    Mercyhurst (310-85-24)    .768
 3.    Wisconsin (334-91-36)    .764
 4.    Minnesota Duluth (316-90-34)    .757
 5.    Harvard (278-92-28)    .734
 6.    New Hampshire (285-108-38)    .705
 7.    Dartmouth (260-111-23)    .691
 8.    St. Lawrence (289-127-38)    .678
 9.    Clarkson (150-101-38)    .585
 10.    Providence (228-157-50)    .582