Ivy Rivals Clash as No. 8/9 Women's Hockey Travels to Yale, Brown

Harvard enters the weekend in third place in the ECAC Hockey Standings (Gil Talbot).

Highlights: Harvard vs. Colgate, Jan. 21, 2012

Complete Game Notes (pdf)

The Particulars

Entering the weekend as the No. 3 team in the ECAC Hockey standings, the Crimson looks to gain ground on second-place Quinnipiac with road games against Ivy rivals Yale and Brown.  

Series History
Harvard has been dominant in the all-time series with the Bulldogs, holding a 60-7-3 record in 70 all-time matchups. The bulk of the Harvard wins were racked up during a 39-game winning streak from 1983-2004. Harvard has not lost in New Haven since 2005 and is undefeated in the last 13 matchups with Yale.

Last season, the Crimson came back to tie Yale in its season opener, 3-3, and then defeated the Bulldogs, 5-3, at Ingalls Rink. A pair of power-play goals from Liza Ryabkina '11 twice helped the Crimson rally from a goal down in the meeting in Cambridge. Ryabkina's second score came with just 14 seconds left in regulation. In New Haven, Jillian Dempsey started the scoring for Harvard and second-period goals from Lyndsey Fry and Ryabkina gave the guests a 3-2 edge heading into the third period. Katharine Chute '11 stretched the Harvard lead to 4-2 and an empty net goal from Kate Buesser '11 sealed the 5-3 win.   

The all-time series with the Brown Bears is much closer, as Harvard holds a slight edge, 38-30-5, in 73 career contests. The Crimson had trouble getting off the ground against Brown, going winless in the first seven games of the series. Recently, Harvard has been the dominant team, going undefeated in the last 21 games of the series.

In its second game of the 2010-11 season, Harvard bolted out to a 3-0 lead and held on in the third to sink the Bears, 4-2, in Cambridge. Josephine Pucci netted an unassisted goal in the first and goals from Ryabkina and Dempsey gave Harvard a comfortable lead. Leanna Coskren '11 capped the scoring for the Crimson. Goalie Laura Bellamy was on point in the rematch in Providence, stopping all 25 shots she faced in a 4-0 shutout. Ryabkina's first period marker stood as the game winner, and Pucci, Buesser and Marissa Gedman also scored in the road win.

Last Time Out
Harvard wrapped up a four-game conference homestand, gaining two points on the weekend with a 2-0 loss to No. 3 Cornell and a 4-0 blanking of Colgate.      

In an up-tempo affair with the Big Red, the Crimson skated with third-ranked Cornell stride for stride, but a pair of Cornell scores proved to be too much to overcome. Harvard held the Big Red to just 14 shots in the game, a season-best mark, including just two shots on goal in the third period.

Lyndsey Fry put Harvard up with just 1:04 to play in the first period the following afternoon against Colgate, and the sophomore's goal would prove to be the game-winner. Laura Bellamy stopped all 20 shots she faced on the day for her third shutout of the season and second against the Raiders in 2011-12. Gina McDonald Jillian Dempsey and Josephine Pucci all scored third-period insurance goals for Harvard.     

A Look At Conference Standings
In a tight ECAC race where the second- through sixth-ranked teams are separated by just four points, the Crimson finds itself in a good position. Harvard has 19 points on the season, good for third place in the league, and just three points behind second-place Quinnipiac, which has played two more league contests than Harvard.

A New Year's Resolution
Since the start of 2012, the Harvard penalty kill has been much improved. The Crimson has allowed just two power-play goals in seven games since the New Year, and has killed 23 of 25 opponent power plays. Harvard has killed its last 13 penalties, including seven against Colgate last Saturday.  

Clean Sheets
With the 4-0 blanking of Colgate last weekend, Laura Bellamy has three shutouts this season and  has upped her career shutout total to 10. She made 20 saves in both of her clean sheets against Colgate and just 15 stops in the 2-0 blanking of the Dutchwomen. In her first two shutouts of the season, sophomore Elizabeth Parker scored the game-winning goal for the Crimson.

Third Period Poise
While the second period had been Harvard's strongest in terms of goals scored, the Crimson is steadily becoming a third period team in terms of scoring. In its seven games since the New Year, Harvard has scored multiple third-period goals in three of them, including three each in wins over Colgate and Rensselaer. In those seven games, Harvard has outscored opponents, 10-2, in the third period, representing both its highest goal total and best goal differential.    

Bring It On, Conn.
Harvard has seen some of its tougher games in recent years in the state of Connecticut. Over the past five seasons, Harvard has compiled a 7-3-1 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. Harvard took down UConn, 8-1, Jan. 3 and tied Quinnipiac in Hamden four days later.

In Need of Ivy Wins
Even though the Crimson boasts the second-best overall record among Ivy League schools, Harvard has only recorded one victory against an Ivy team this season, a 2-1 road win over Dartmouth. Over the past five seasons, Harvard has compiled a 37-8-5 record against Ancient Eight schools, including a perfect 10-0-0 mark in 2007-08. The Crimson finished first in the Ivy standings in 2007-08 and 2008-09.  

Lots of "W's"
Harvard has defeated Yale 60 times, which is the highest win total for the Crimson against any one team. The next highest win total for Harvard is 50 against Cornell.

Jam-Packed January
This year, Harvard will play 10 games in the month of January, making it the busiest January in the history of the program. February is typically the busiest month for Harvard and the Crimson played a program-high 11 games in February of 2008 and '09.  

Rising the Ranks
In its most recent poll, USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine ranked Harvard No. 8 in the nation. The ranking marks Harvard's highest of the 2011-12 season, matching its rank from the Jan. 3 poll.  Harvard joins No. 10 Dartmouth and No. 2 Cornell in the polls, giving ECAC Hockey, and the Ivy League, three nationally-ranked squads.  

Hats Off!
With a trio of goals in the 5-3 win over Rensselaer, Gina McDonald logged the first hat trick of the season for the Crimson. Harvard's last hat trick came courtesy of Kate Buesser '11, who tallied three scores in an 8-3 pounding of St. Lawrence in the 2011 ECAC Hockey quarterfinals, pushing the Crimson in to the semifinal round. Five Harvard players had scored multiple goals in a game this season prior to McDonald's performance against RPI.

A Comeback of Notable Proportions
Harvard's 5-3 comeback victory over Rensselaer marked the first time since Nov. 16, 2004 the Crimson has come back to win from a three-goal deficit. The last time it happened, Brown scored three times within the first 8:52 of the contest, but Harvard found three of its own quickly after to close the first period in a 3-3 tie. In fact, the Crimson scored seven straight times to close the game with a 7-3 win in Providence. Harvard scored five unanswered goals in its comeback win over RPI Saturday.       

Parker Please
Elizabeth Parker has five points on the season, all of which have come on goals. The Crimson is 5-0-0  this season in games where Parker scores. In fact, Harvard has never lost a game in which Parker scores a goal, posting a 7-0-1 record in eight such contests, dating back to her rookie season.   

A Note About Ties
The 3-3 draw with Quinnipiac Jan. 7 was Harvard's first tie of the season. Dating back to Jan. 2010, six of Harvard's last eight ties have been by a 3-3 score. Three of Harvard's four ties last season were 3-3 games, including a Beanpot first-round game against Northeastern, where Harvard advanced thanks to a shootout victory.  

Shot Stoppers
After holding an opponent to fewer than 20 shots in a game just three times this season heading into Jan. 13, the Crimson held both the Dutchwomen and the Engineers below that threshold in the weekend sweep. The following weekend, Harvard allowed a season-low 14 shots to No. 3 Cornell in a 2-0 defeat. On the season, Harvard is outshooting its opponents, 553-449.   

Spreading The Wealth
Thanks to Alisa Baumgartner's goal against Union in her first game back from injury, every Harvard position player on the 2011-12 roster has registered a point. Twelve different players have scored goals this season, while assists have been recorded by 14 players. It marks the first time since the 2004-05 season that every position player on the roster has registered a point.

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 three teams averaging three or more goals per game at 3.26 per contest. Harvard has converted 19.3 percent of its power-play chances, which ranks third in the ECAC. The Crimson ranks fourth in the conference with 62 goals on the season, despite playing just 19 games, the fewest among ECAC schools. Harvard has also allowed just 11 power-play goals this season, the second-lowest number in the ECAC.