Women's Hockey Starts 2012 With Non-Conference Test at Connecticut

Women's Hockey Starts 2012 With Non-Conference Test at Connecticut

Harvard is looking for its fourth straight win when it travels to Storrs, Conn. (Gil Talbot)

Complete Game Notes (pdf)

The Particulars

The Crimson kicks off the 2012 portion of its schedule with a non-conference matchup against Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. The Huskies represent the third straight non-conference opponent for the Crimson.

Series History
The Crimson and Huskies have met in 15 games, dating back to the 1979-80 season, wtih Harvard holding a 12-3-0 record all time. The first meeting saw the Crimson run away with a 12-2 win, and Harvard went onto to take the first five games of the series. In recent years, the games have been considerably closer as Harvard holds a 2-2-0 mark in the last four meetings, including three one-goal games.

The last time the two teams met was Dec. 8, 2009 at Bright Hockey Center, with Harvard skating to a 2-1 comeback win. Connecticut jumped out to an early lead, scoring on a power-play less than three minutes into the game and taking a 1-0 edge late into the first frame. Harvard squared the score before the first break as Kate Buesser '11 converted passes from Cori Bassett '10 and Liza Ryabkina '11 to push the score to 1-1 heading into the second. Kaitlin Spurling (Byfield, Mass.) netted the game-winner in the second period, putting home a rebound on a power-play to seal the 2-1 win for the Crimson.   

Last Time Out
Harvard closed the 2011 portion of its schedule in style, taking down a pair of non-conference opponents, and extending its winning streak to three games.   

Against Providence on the road, Jillian Dempsey (Winthrop, Mass.) led an offensive outburst that saw Harvard pour in five goals in a 5-1 victory. Dempsey got the guests on the board and followed with the team's first shorthanded score of the season to make it 2-0. Elizabeth Parker (Milton, Mass.) made it 3-0 at the end of the opening period and after Providence closed the gap to 3-1 in the second,  Kalley Armstrong (Maple, Ont.) and Lyndsey Fry (Chandler, Ariz.) tacked on tallies to cap the 5-1 win.

The offense continued to click the following night at Bright, where the Crimson collected another quintet of goals in a 5-2 victory against New Hampshire. Freshman Samantha Reber (Edina, Minn.) scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, as Harvard dashed out to a 4-0 lead and held on for the win. Dempsey started the scoring early for Harvard and Kaitlin Spurling followed with a first-period score to make it 2-0 after one. Fry potted her second goal in as many nights and Harvard ended its 2011 portion of the schedule with a 5-2 win at home.      

Three In a Row
For the second time this season, Harvard has put together a three-game winning streak. The Crimson began the year with a stretch of three straight wins, collecting road victories over St. Lawrence, Clarkson and Colgate. In the current streak, two of the wins have come on the road and two have come against non-conference opponents.

Harvard Against Hockey East
Hockey East has become one of the strongest conferences in women's college hockey, but the Crimson still holds a winning record against Hockey East teams in recent years. Since 2009-10, Harvard is 7-3-1 against Hockey East schools, bolstered by an undefeated 2009-10 campaign. Harvard tied New Hampshire, 1-1, and defeated Connecticut and Providence, 2-1, at Bright in 2009-10. Harvard hosted and won the Beanpot that season, downing Boston College, 5-0, in the first round and Northeastern, 1-0, in the championship. Harvard is currently 2-0 against Hockey East teams, and will play three more this season.

Speaking of Streaks
Thanks to the offensive outburst to close the first chunk of the season, Harvard boasts three players currently on point streaks of three games or more. Lyndsey Fry is on a three-game point-scoring streak, scoring a goal in each of her last three games and adding an assist against Providence and two against UNH. Sarah Edney (Mississauga, Ont.) has been steadily scoring through her past four contests, collecting a point in each on a goal and three assists. Jillian Dempsey continues her stellar year as she comes back from the break on a three-game point scoring streak.

Getting It Done In December
While the Crimson typically only plays a handful of games in the month of December, Harvard has had success in those games. In the past four years, Harvard has compiled a 6-3-2 mark in the month of December, against primarily non-conference opponents. Harvard had a tough December last year as it dropped games to ranked local foes Boston College and Boston University, but took down New Hampshire on the road. Harvard was undefeated the year before, beating and tying then-No. 2 Minnesota and topping Connecticut, 2-1. In 2008-09, Harvard went 1-1-1 in December with a win at league rival Dartmouth.  

Comeback Crimson
Three of Harvard's wins this season have been comeback victories. The Crimson conceded the game's first goal in the season opener against St. Lawrence and went onto score seven unanswered to cruise to a 7-1 win. In the second matchup with Clarkson, a second-period Golden Knights tally put Harvard in a 1-0 hole, but Harvard goals 47 seconds apart later in the period allowed for a 2-1 Crimson win. In its last game, Dartmouth broke a scoreless tie in the third period, but Harvard goals 1:05 apart propelled the Crimson to a 2-1 win.

Strong in the Second
The second period has been Harvard's best in terms of goal differential this season. 15 of Harvard's 40 team goals have come in the middle stanza, making it the Crimson's most productive period. Harvard has also allowed only eight goals in the second frame, also a team-best mark.       

Bring It On, Conn.
Harvard has seen some of its together games in recent years in the state of Connecticut. Over the past four seasons, Harvard has compiled a 6-3 record when playing on the road in the Constitution State. Last season, the Crimson split a pair of games in Connecticut, dropping a 4-1 contest to Quinnipiac and downing archrival Yale, 5-3.

Home Team Has It
In the last five games of the Harvard-Connecticut series, the home team has captured the victory in every contest. Harvard was the last team to win on the road in the series, winning 5-3 in Storrs during the 2004-05 season.

League's Elite
As a team, Harvard ranks among the top of the league in a number of categories. The Crimson boasts the second-best scoring offense in the league as one of just two teams averaging even or better than three goals per game at 3.33 per contest. Harvard has converted on 24.1 percent of its power-play chances, which also ranks second in the ECAC, and its 12 power-play goals rank fifth in the league, despite Harvard playing the fewest number of games of any ECAC Hockey squad. Harvard has also allowed just nine power-play goals this season, the third-lowest number in the ECAC.   

Everyday Dempsey
Junior Jillian Dempsey has been a consistent force for the Crimson this season. Dempsey missed two games while suiting up for the U.S. Women's National team, but in the 10 games she has played for Harvard, she has logged at least one point in nine. Dempsey has six multi-point games on the season, including five in her last seven games.