Dec. 11, 2008


Courtesy of Harvard

The Particulars
No. 9 Harvard continues a stretch of non-conference games this weekend with a pair against Hockey East opponents.  The Crimson will host No. 7 New Hampshire Friday and will play on the road at Connecticut Sunday afternoon.

The game against the Wildcats will be the fourth straight for the Crimson against top-10 opponents, having recently played No. 2 Minnesota for two and New Hampshire last Friday evening, a 1-1 tie in Durham, N.H.  After the contest against the Huskies Sunday, Harvard will visit No. 5 Dartmouth Dec. 17, before taking two weeks off for semester break.

Series History
Friday’s game will be the 43rd meeting between Harvard and New Hampshire. The Wildcats currently hold a 27-12-3 advantage in the series.  In the last seven encounters, the Crimson is 0-5-2.

The Crimson owns a 11-2-0 lead in the series against Connecticut which began in 1979-80.  Harvard has won five of its last six contests against the Huskies, including a 2-0 victory last season at Bright Hockey Center.  Sarah Vaillancourt and Jenny Brine each scored a goal and picked up an assist and Liza Ryabkina collected two assists in the win.  Christina Kessler made 14 saves for the shutout.

Last Time Out
The Crimson visited the Wildcats last Friday evening looking to snap a two-game losing streak.  After falling behind 1-0 midway through the second period, Harvard tied the game on a power-play goal by Sarah Wilson at 18:46 of the second period.  Sarah Vaillancourt and Kate Buesser collected assists on the play and Christina Kessler made 12 saves as the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

Follow From Home
GoCrimson will provide live video for Friday’s contest against New Hampshire.  WHRB (95.3 FM Boston) will carry Friday’s game on the radio. will provide live statistics for this weekend’s games, all home games and most road contests this season.

Video Enhancements
Last week, Harvard unveiled the first video board in an ECAC Hockey arena. The four-sided Daktronics board features video replay, highlights and other graphics to enhance the fan experience at Bright.

Seniors First
Harvard’s senior class has tallied 16 of the Crimson’s 29 goals (.552) this season and has collected 35 of Harvard’s 61 points (.574).

Atop the ECAC
Sarah Wilson is tied for the ECAC Hockey conference lead with 12 points in eight games.  Wilson is tied for the most game-winning scores with two and is tied for second in tallies with six. She recorded seven points during the Nov. 21-22 weekend against Cornell and Colgate, including a career-best five-point performance against the Raiders (2-3-5).  Wilson also sits first on the Crimson in scoring, goals. power-play tallies, game-winning goals, and plus/minus (+6).

Consistent Excellence
Harvard has been ranked in the national top 10 in 145 consecutive polls. The last time Harvard was not in the top 10 in the polls was Feb. 11, 2002.

Harvard Coach Katey Stone
Katey Stone, the Landry Family Head Coach for Harvard Women’s Ice Hockey, is in her 15th season at the helm of the Crimson, and she brings a 304-130-22 record into Friday’s game. Stone, who ranks third all-time in Division I victories, has led Harvard to all seven of its NCAA tournament appearances.

Scoring in a Bunch
Sarah Vaillancourt has had a hand in 12 of the last 15 Crimson goals dating back to the St. Lawrence game Nov. 15.  The senior from Sherbrooke, Que., scored shorthanded Nov. 29 at Minnesota  and had nine points the previous weekend against Colgate (2-3-5) and Cornell (2-2-4).  Most recently, the senior forward collected an assist on Sarah Wilson’s power-play score at New Hampshire Dec. 5

Playing Abroad
Christina Kessler was recently selected to Canada’s National Women’s Under-22 Team that will compete at the MLP Cup (formerly Air Canada Cup) Jan. 2-6, 2009, in Ravensburg, Germany.  Kessler, one of two goaltenders named to the team, helped Canada to a three-game series victory over Team USA at the Under-22 Series last August.

Bright Spot
Harvard was a perfect 18-0-0 at home last season and has a 27-game home unbeaten streak (25-0-2).  The 18 victories at Bright Hockey Center in 2007-08 set a new program record.  The last time the Crimson lost at Bright came on Jan. 26, 2007, in a 2-1 defeat to St. Lawrence.

She’s Honored
Sophomore defenseman/forward Liza Ryabkina was tabbed the ECAC Hockey Player of the Week Nov. 3 after scoring her first career hat trick at Princeton Nov. 1.  Ryabkina scored once in each period and twice on the power play in Harvard’s 6-4 victory.

Offensive Defenseman
Junior Cori Bassett recorded a career-high four points in Harvard’s 6-4 victory at Princeton Nov. 1.  Bassett also scored on the power play at St. Lawrence Nov. 16.  She is currently 12th in the nation among defensemen with 0.73 points per game.  She has three goals and five assists on the year, placing her fourth on the Crimson in scoring.

Clean Sheets
Harvard registered 14 shutouts last season, breaking the school record set by the 2003-04 team (13).   The Crimson had 10 shutouts in 2006-07 and seven in 2005-06.  Harvard has one shutout so far this season, coming against Union at Bright Hockey Center (Nov. 8).

Offensive Outburst
Harvard’s 10 goals in two games Nov. 21-22 against Colgate and Cornell was the most scored in a two-game stretch since the Crimson skated to a pair of shutouts, 4-0 and 7-0, over Colgate and Boston College Jan. 5 and 8 of last season, a stretch of 26 games.

To Be The Best ...
Harvard was 10-2-0 against top-10 teams last season. The Crimson is currently 0-3-1 against top-10 opponents in 2008-0, falling at No. 8 St. Lawrence, 3-1, Nov. 15 and then dropping back-to-back games at No. 2 Minnesota, 3-1 and 3-2, Nov. 28-29.  Harvard tied No. 7 New Hampshire, 1-1, last week and will play the Wildcats again this Friday.

Just Win, Christina!
Junior goaltender Christina Kessler is 41-9-2 in her career in net, placing her sixth on Harvard’s all-time goalie win list.  Kessler is two victories shy of Cheryl Tate ’84 and seven behind Jessica Ruddock ’04.  Ali Boe ’06 is Harvard’s all-time winningest goaltender with 63 victories.

It’s All Over
Harvard is 81-1-4 since the start of the 2004-05 season when leading after two periods.  The Crimson had a 1-0 advantage entering the third period against Rensselaer Nov. 7, but the Engineers came back to tie the game in the third, as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Leading the Way
Sarah Wilson comes into the weekend leading the Crimson in goals (seven), points (13), power-play scores (four), game-winning goals (two) and plus/minus (+6).  Vaillancourt paces the Crimson with seven assists and ranks second on the team with five goals despite missing four games earlier in the season when she participated in the Four Nations Cup. Jenny Brine stands third on the squad in points (nine), goals (four) and is tied for third in assists (five) with Cori Bassett.

Good For One
Harvard saw its streak of 38 consecutive games with at least one goal end at Clarkson Nov. 14.   The Crimson had a previous streak of 39 games with a tally snapped in the final game of the 2006-07 season against Wisconsin in the NCAA quarterfinals.  Harvard has now tallied at least one goal in six straight games.

Red Lights
Harvard ranks seventh in Division I on the penalty kill (57 of 65, .877), eighth in combined special teams (69 of 128, .539), 13th on the power play (12 of 63, .190), 14th in scoring defense (2.18), 17th in scoring margin (+0.45) and 18th in scoring offense (2.64).

Heading into this week, Sarah Vaillancourt and Cori Bassett were tied for 12th with one short-handed goal apiece.  Bassett also ranks 12th among defenders with 0.73 points per contest.

Between the pipes, Christina Kessler is 14th in the nation with a 1.89 goals-against average, 24th with a .912 save percentage (187 of 205) and 29th with a .444 winning percentage (3-4-2).

Tip Of The Caps
On Nov. 1 at Princeton, Liza Ryabkina recorded Harvard’s first hat trick since Caitlin Cahow ’07-08 tallied three goals against Boston College Jan. 8, 2008.

Rank And File
Harvard is ranked No. 10 in this week’s USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and No. 10 in the College Sports poll.