Dec. 2, 2009


By Amy Farnum

No. 9 Harvard is riding a five-game unbeaten streak as the Crimson faces its biggest challenge of the season – a two-game home series against second-ranked Minnesota on Dec. 4-5.

Harvard’s senior goaltender Christina Kessler is fresh off a 27-save performance in a 3-2 victory over Dartmouth last week, which brought her within two wins of first place on the school’s all-time victory list.  The native of Oakville, Ontario, was named ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week for her efforts in helping the Crimson remain in second place in the league standings.

Kessler will enter the Minnesota series with a .940 save percentage and 1.51 goals against average, which are ranked fourth and fifth in the nation, respectively.  

The Golden Gophers also boast one of the nation’s top goaltenders in freshman Noore Räty, who ranks second in the nation in both save percentage (.962) and goals against average (0.99) after posting two shutouts against then-No. 3 Clarkson last weekend.  Minnesota has won six straight games.

WINNING WILDCAT: University of New Hampshire’s Kelly Paton garnered Hockey East Player of the Month for November, earning the award for the second straight month.

The native of Woodstock, Ontario, tallied seven goals and six assists for 13 points in six games in November, averaging 1.17 goals, 1.00 assists and 2.17 points per game. Paton’s also recorded two game-winning goals, a power-play goal, a shorthanded goal, a +6 rating and a .212 shooting percentage.

Paton recorded her second career hat trick and also matched her personal best of four points against Rensselaer on Nov. 21. She had a hand in 65 percent of the Wildcats’ goals in November with 13 points on 20 goals, and that included a stretch of a goal or assist on each of the last six goals of the month.

UNH is riding the nation’s longest active unbeaten streak at eight games (5-0-3) and returns to the ice against Providence College on Dec. 5.  Paton enters the contest as the nation’s third-leading scorer with 1.87 points per game.

TOP OF THE CHARTS: No. 1 Mercyhurst College continued its’ reign on top of the national rankings after a sweep of Colgate last weekend with the help of junior Vicki Bendus’ offensive production.  

The forward from Wasaga Beach, Ontario, registered three goals and five assists over the weekend, earning College Hockey America Player of the Week honors.  On Saturday, Bendus tallied four points on two goals and two assists to move within a point of cracking the century mark for her career. She has 32 goals and 67 assists in 88 games.  

Bendus can become the 10th player in program history to record 100 points in a career if she registers a goal or an assist this weekend when the Lakers host conference foe Robert Morris on Dec. 5-6.

A BULLDOG UPDATE:  After undergoing treatment for leukemia for almost a year, Yale University senior forward Mandi Schwartz shared some good news with the Bulldogs.  The plan of her return to school, and eventually the ice, are detailed in Yale’s press release here:  

“It has been almost a year since Yale senior forward Mandi Schwartz was diagnosed with leukemia, and seven months since her women’s hockey teammates joined with the Yale football team for a record-setting marrow donor testing drive – a drive that helped save another leukemia patient’s life. Schwartz remains home in Saskatchewan, where she returned for treatment. But she is still very much on the minds of her many friends at Yale, and she recently checked in with some good news.”

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