The Harvard women's hockey team returns to Bright-Landry Hockey Center for a pair of ECAC match-ups this weekend. (Elan Kawesch)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Back in the winning column after a thorough victory over Dartmouth on Tuesday, the No. 10/10 Harvard women's hockey team is geared up for more ECAC action as Princeton and No. 4/4 Quinnipiac come to the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. The Crimson (4-2-2, 3-1-1 ECAC) squares off with the Tigers (6-6-1, 4-3-0 ECAC) at 7 p.m. Friday, before a top-10 showdown with the Bobcats (13-0-2, 6-0-1 ECAC) at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Ivy League Digital Network
After an incredibly successful inaugural year that saw over 1,000 events streamed live, The Ivy League Digital Network has returned for 2014-15, providing fans with unprecedented coverage of the Ivy League.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans including school-specific and league-wide passes. To learn more about the Ivy League Digital Network or to sign-up today, click here.
Use the all new Social Stream on GoCrimson.com to stay connected with the Crimson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube this year. The Social Stream brings the conversation from all three platforms into one convenient location, allowing fans of all Harvard Athletics teams to monitor the action in real time.
The Crimson is unbeaten when scoring first this season (2-0-2), but has shown it can come back after falling behind early by securing two wins after opponents found the back of the net first. Harvard also relies on outshooting its foes, going 4-1-1 when taking more shots.
Harvard's scuffle with Quinnipiac on Saturday will be the fourth top-10 showdown of the season for the Crimson, and the second versus a top-5 opponent. Harvard is 0-1-2 versus ranked foes this season, falling to No. 1 Boston College and drawing then-No. 7 Clarkson and then-No. 7 Boston University, all in November. The last time Harvard defeated a top-5 team was last season when the Crimson went into Lynah Rink and toppled No. 3 Cornell, 3-1.
Line 'Em Up
Over the past four games, Miye D'Oench, Samantha Reber and Hillary Crowe each played on the same line. Last year, the triad accounted for 96 points on 45 goals and 51 assists combined. In eight games of 2014-15, the three skaters have already tallied 28 points (12-16—28) as the top-3 scorers on the ice for Harvard.
The Daily Special
The Harvard special teams have varied this season, allowing eight power play goals while scoring four, but versus Dartmouth, the Crimson was perfect. D'Oench knocked in Harvard's only power play opportunity, while the Harvard penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3 against the Big Green. On the season, Harvard is 25-percent with the skater advantage – good enough for third in the nation behind Minnesota and Dartmouth – and 73-percent on the kill. Combined, Harvard sits at No. 5 overall with a 56.1-percent mark on special teams.
The Tale of Two Laings
Freshman Lexie Laing has started well for Harvard, along with her fellow rookies on the ice, accounting for four points (2-3—5) to start her Crimson campaign. Laing's two goals – both power play scores – have come when sister Brianna Laing has earned the start in the net. Brianna has picked up two wins on the season: versus Rensselaer and versus Northeastern; Lexie scored Harvard's second goal in both of those contests.
After jumping out to a 6-1-1 start to 2014-15, the Tigers have tapered off with five consecutive losses – but four of those five losses have come versus top-10 opponents. Princeton dropped a 7-3 decision to St. Lawrence, before falling to No. 5 Clarkson, No. 4 Quinnipiac and twice to No. 2 Minnesota. The Tigers' best win of the year came in a barn-burning, 5-4 victory over then-No. 6 Cornell in Ithaca on Oct. 31.
Molly Contini is the most potent scorer for the Tigers on offense, garnering 12 points on a team-best six goals and six assists, but defender Kelsey Koelzer's 11 helpers along with four goals gives her 15 points as a viable threat at the point. Cristin Shanahan (4-2—6), Brianna Leahy (3-4—7) and Jaimie McDonell (3-8—11) all have posed problems for goaltenders as well.
In between the pipes, junior Kimberly Newell has seen all but one game for the Tigers, making 343 saves on 373 shots – accumulating a .920 save percentage and a 2.50 GAA. Her 5-6-1 record includes a shutout in a 0-0 tie versus RIT.
The Bobcats enter the weekend as the ECAC's best team, and one of only two undefeated programs left along with No. 1 Boston College. After a win over UConn to start the season and a split series with Penn State the weekend after, QU went on a eight-game win streak, during which it outscored opponents, 29-3. St. Lawrence, which has wins over Harvard, Clarkson and is the only team not to lose to BC, drew the Bobcats on Nov. 22, before QU started another win streak which sits at three in a row.
The high-powered Bobcat offense sports six skaters who have registered at least 10 points on the year, led by freshman forward Taylar Cianfarano (8-7—15). Nicole Connery (7-5—12) and Emma Woods (7-4—11) also have a tendency to beat goaltenders night in and night out.
In goal for Quinnipiac stands the ECAC Goaltender of the Month of November, Chelsea Laden. The senior has started 14-of-15 games this season, compiling a meager 0.57 GAA (yielding just eight goals), while making 190 saves for a .960 save percentage.
Harvard takes the rest of December off into the New Year before hitting the ice at Brown and Yale on Jan. 2 and 3, respectively.