Dartmouth, Russia Travel to No. 5/6 Women's Hockey This Weekend

Dartmouth, Russia Travel to No. 5/6 Women's Hockey This Weekend

Kaitlin Spurling and the Crimson look to remain undefeated in the ECAC this weekend (photo Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 5/6 Harvard women's ice hockey team returns to conference play with a Friday matchup against Dartmouth before facing the Russian National Team in an exhibition Saturday. 

About Harvard
The Crimson (7-1-0, 6-0-0 ECAC) has been led by stellar defensive play to get off to an undefeated, untied start in ECAC play. With goalies Laura Bellamy and Emerance Maschmeyer splitting time, Harvard has allowed just 0.75 goals per game, including a 0.50 average during conference matchups. The Crimson trails only Minnesota's 0.62 goals-against average and is the only team in the ECAC that is averaging fewer than one goal against per game. 

Harvard's offense has also been one of the best in the nation, scoring 29 times through the first eight contests. The Crimson's 3.62 goals per game mark ranks seventh in the nation and has coupled with Harvard's defense to produce a 2.88 scoring margin, good for third in the country. Jillian Dempsey leads the squad with 2.12 points per game and is currently riding a 22-game point streak. She is also one of only six players in the country to average a goal per game thus far in 2012-13. 

Last Time Out
Senior co-captain Jillian Dempsey led the way for Harvard with a goal and an assist and the Crimson knocked off No. 9 Northeastern, 3-1, Tuesday night at Matthews Arena. Lyndsey Fry picked up her seventh and eighth assists of the season and Emerance Maschmeyer made 15 saves in goal for her fourth win in as many career starts to propel Harvard to its second consecutive win over a ranked opponent. Harvard previously upset No. 2 Cornell, 3-1, Nov. 24.

Related Article: No. 6 Women's Hockey Earns 3-1 Road Win at No. 9 Northeastern

About Dartmouth (Team Page)  
Dartmouth (4-2-2, 3-2-1 ECAC) is on a three-game winless streak after starting the season with a 4-1 mark. The Big Green has tied No. 5 Boston College, lost in overtime to No. 2 Cornell and tied Colgate in its last three outings. Senior Reagan Fischer and freshman Laura Stacey lead the team with nine points apiece. Fischer has a team-high five goals, while Stacey tops the squad in assists with seven. 

On the defensive side, junior Lindsay Holdcroft has seen a majority of playing time in goal with six starts and a 3-1-2 record. She enters the weekend with a .907 save percentage, while allowing 2.23 goals per game. Sophomore Katie Milligan is 1-1-0 and boasts a 4.00 GAA and .846 save percentage.

Series History -  Dartmouth
Harvard trails the all-time series against Dartmouth, 36-41-2, but owns a 9-3-0 advantage over the Big Green since 2007. Last season, the Crimson split with Dartmouth as each team won in the other's building. Harvard redeemed itself with two third-period goals to top Dartmouth, 2-1, Nov. 30 after dropping a 3-2 decision one week prior. 

About Russia
The Russian Women's National Team, which owns an international record of 96-121-6, has been one of the top six teams in the world for each of the last five years. Since finishing sixth at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, Russia has placed fourth and sixth at the 2011 and 2012 IIHF World Women's Championships, respectively. Team Russia's highest finish at the IIHF championships came in 2001, when the team upset Finland, 2-1, for the bronze medal.

Olympic History
Women's hockey has been a part of four Olympic Games since being added for the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan. Russia has competed in three Olympics, finishing fifth in 2002 and sixth in 2006 and 2010. In the four Olympics, only the United States, Canada, Sweden and Finland have medaled. Katey Stone and the United States will look to snap Canada's run of three consecutive gold medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Below are 140 character or less notes on the Harvard women's hockey team, perfect for sharing with your followers on Twitter. Follow @HarvardCrimson for all the latest news and notes on your favorite Crimson student-athletes and teams or use the hashtag #GoCrimson to see what fans are saying about Crimson athletics.

  • "The No. 5/6 @harvardcrimson women's hockey team looks to keep its undefeated, untied ECAC record against Dartmouth Friday."
  • "[email protected] women's hockey, who is ranked No. 5/6 in the country, hosts Team Russia in an exhibition Saturday"

Around the ECAC
Harvard takes on travel partner Dartmouth, meaning the team will play one ECAC contest, while eight other conference squads will play two ECAC games this weekend. Cornell and Colgate travel to Clarkson and St. Lawrence and Princeton and Quinnipiac host Rensselaer and Union. The marquee matchup of the weekend takes place Friday at Clarkson as points-leader Cornell visits the Golden Knights, which are undefeated and untied in the ECAC.

Dempsey's Hot Streak
Jillian Dempsey, who ranks four in the country with 2.12 points per game, is riding a career-high 22-game points streak. Dempsey contributed a first-period goal and an assist on the game-winner against Cornell Nov. 24 to keep her streak alive. The senior co-captain has tallied 23 goals and 18 assists for 1.95 points per game during the last 21 contests.

Sweep of the Week
Emerance Maschmeyer and Jillian Dempsey of the Harvard women's ice hockey team swept the ECAC's weekly awards a 3-1 upset of No. 2 Cornell Saturday. Maschmeyer, a freshman, took home her first two awards, the rookie and goaltender of the week. Dempsey won her eighth career ECAC award with the Player of the Week honor.

Related Article: Maschmeyer, Dempsey Capture ECAC Weekly Awards After Topping Colgate, No. 2 Cornell

Top Two
Harvard senior Laura Bellamy and freshman Emerance Maschmeyer have been two of the top goaltenders in the nation to start the season. Maschmeyer barely edges Bellamy for the No. 1 spot in the nation in goals against average, as both are allowing 0.75 goals, but Maschmeyer has played 41 more seconds for a slightly better average. Bellamy is second in the NCAA in save percentage at .957, while Maschmeyer trails close behind at .955.

Related Link: College Hockey Stats Individual Rankings   

Killin' It
Harvard has denied its opponents in 22 of 24 power-play opportunities it has given up this season. The Crimson kill is ranked No. 5 in land at 91.7%. Since the start of the calendar year, the Crimson has allowed just eight power-play goals in 28 games, and has killed 93 of 102 opponent power plays.

In the Rankings
The Crimson, which was previously ranked No. 7, moved up to No. 6 in the latest USCHO poll and No. 5 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings after taking down No. 2 Cornell. The No. 5 spot is Harvard's highest ranking of the season, tied with the Nov. 12 USCHO list.

Related Link: NCAA Women's Hockey Rankings

Armstrong for the Win
Kalley Armstong has tallied three goals this season and each has counted as the game-winner. She scored the initial goal in a shutout of Brown Nov. 2 and has followed with Harvard's second goal in 3-1 wins over No. 2 Cornell and No. 9 Northeastern.

Up Next
The Crimson hosts Providence next Friday at 7 p.m. before traveling to New Hampshire for a 2 p.m. contest on Saturday.