Harvard, Cornell Set for NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Quarterfinals
Portions courtesy of Cornell Athletic Communications and Harvard Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Cornell and Harvard are set to begin play Saturday in the eight-team field competing for the 13th National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Championship.
Fresh off its ECAC Women's Hockey Championship win, the Big Red (27-5-1, 18-3-1 ECAC Hockey, 8-1-1 Ivy League) is seeded No. 2 in the bracket and will host Mercyhurst (28-6-1) at 1 pm. The Crimson (24-6-3, 17-3-2 ECACH, 8-1-1 Ivy) will not have to go far for its opening quarterfinal contest, taking on No. 4 seed Boston College (26-6-3). Game time is also set for 1 pm.
Cornell and Harvard shared the Ivy League title this season and the Big Red bested the Crimson in the ECAC Women's Hockey Championship final just prior to the bracket announcement. Cornell won its third ECAC Hockey Tournament championship and claimed the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Cornell earned the No. 2 seed for the tournament, equaling its highest seed ever (2011).
In that title game last Sunday, the teams exchanged first-period goals and entered the third period knotted at 1-1. Cornell's Jessica Campbell was the hero, scoring on the power play off a rebound of an Emily Fulton shot with 1:40 left.
Harvard's freshman goalie Emerance Maschmeyer, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, was impressive throughout the tournament and received the Most Outstanding Player award. She made 32 saves in the championship game against Cornell, one away from her career high.
Cornell and Mercyhurst have become nonconference rivals of late, with the teams meeting nine times in the last three years. Cornell has won five of those nine meetings. Cornell claimed the only regular-season meeting this year by a 4-0 margin, shutting out the Lakers at Lynah Rink in January. The teams have met once previously in the NCAA Tournament. In that March 2010 Frozen Four game, the Big Red stunned the top-ranked Lakers to reach the national championship game.
The Crimson leads the all-time series against Boston College, 36-13-0, but has never met the Eagles in a postseason game. In fact, the teams have only made the tournament together in the same year once before -- that coming in 2007.
Harvard has lost four consecutive meetings with BC with the last three coming in Beanpot Tournament games. Harvard's defense is ranked No. 2 in the country (1.15 goals allowed per game), while BC's offense comes in at No. 2 (4.40 goals per game).
Harvard is 6-8 all-time in the tournament, while Cornell is 4-3. Cornell has never lost in a first-round game, defeating Harvard, 6-2, in 2010, knocking off Dartmouth, 7-1, in 2011 and defeating Boston University, 8-7, in triple overtime last season. Harvard is 2-3 in first-round games all-time.
The 2013 Women's Frozen Four will be hosted by University of Minnesota at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. The semifinal games will be played at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, March 22. The championship game will be played at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 24.
In other quarterfinal action, Minnesota enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed and will host North Dakota on Saturday at 5 pm (ET). Boston University enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed, and will host Clarkson on Saturday at 3 pm.
Minnesota will look to continue its NCAA record 46-game winning streak. The Golden Gophers are also the defending Women's Frozen Four champions, defeating Wisconsin 4-2 in last year's championship game.