Photo courtesy of Cornell Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- The quest for the Ivy League women's ice hockey title may just go down to the wire as Harvard and Cornell are one point apart as the stretch run begins.
The Crimson (6-0-1 Ivy) hold a one-point lead over Cornell (6-1-0) with each team having three games left to play in the Ivy slate. The two, however, meet head-to-head in Ithaca on Feb. 15 in a game that will surely have Ivy title ramifications and potentially ECAC regular season title ramifications. Cornell has won eight in a row, the second longest winning streak and third longest unbeaten string in the nation at present. The Big Red are also a perfect 12-0 at home this season.
Dartmouth is still in the hunt for the title, but will need help at this point.
In the Rankings: This week, Cornell is No. 4 in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey polls. Harvard is No. 5 in both polls.
Brown (4-16-1, 1-6-0) after a home-and-home split with Yale, the Bears have dropped four in a row. Last weekend, Brown lost to Quinnipiac and Princeton, both on the road. Alena Polenska leads the Bears in scoring with 12 points this season on seven goals and five assist. She has a point in five straight games, scoring four goals and logging three assists in that span. Junior Aubree Moore has a 2.43 GAA in 13 appearances this season. Brown visits Dartmouth and Harvard in a pair of Ivy contests Saturday and Sunday.
Cornell (19-4-0, 6-1-0) has won eight straight games, the second-longest winning streak in the nation behind still unbeaten Minnesota. Cornell's last setback came at Boston College, 4-3, back on January 13. Since that loss, Cornell has outscored the opposition 41-6. The Big Red are third in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 4.26 goals per contest. (Only Boston College and Minnesota are higher.) Last weekend, the Big Red downed Union, 8-1, and Renesselaer, 3-1, at home. Freshman Cassandra Poudrier had a hand in all three goals against Renesslaer with a goal and two assists. Brianne Jenner leads the Ivy in scoring with 50 points on the year on 26 goals and 24 assists. Her 26 goals also lead the Ivy and at 2.38 ppg she is third nationally. Her 1.24 goals per game ranks second nationally. Jillian Saulnier leads the league in assists with 30 and is fourth nationally in assists per game just ahead of Jenner. Netminder Lauren Slebodnick has a 1.50 GAA this season to go with her .927 save percentage (both in the Top 10 nationally). Cornell travels to face Quinnipiac on Saturday night and Princeton on Sunday.
Dartmouth (12-7-4, 4-2-1) will look to break a four-game winless streak this weekend. Dartmouth played Harvard to a 2-2 tie last Saturday as netminder Lindsay Holdcroft made 41 saves in holding the Crimson at bay. Reagan Fischer and Camille Dumais are 1-2 in scoring for the Big Green. Fischer has 24 points on 13 goals and 11 assists, while Dumais has 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points on the season. Holdcroft has a 2.19 GAA on the year with a .908 save percentage. The Big Green are fifth in the nation in penalty killing with an 87.7 percent success rate (100-of-114 opportunities). Still with an outside chance at the Ivy title but needing quite a bit of help, Dartmouth hosts Brown and Yale on Friday and Saturday.
Harvard (17-3-2, 6-0-1) has had five straight tight games after dominating the competition for most of the season. The Crimson are coming off a 2-1 loss to second-ranked Boston College in the 35th Women's Beanpot on Tuesday night. The teams combined for 77 shots on goal in the contest and somehow, the game was scoreless heading into the third period. Harvard's Mary Parker broke through at 4:52 of the third, but the Eagles scored twice to rally for the win. Jillian Dempsey continues to lead the Crimson in scoring. Dempsey has 40 points on 23 goals and 17 assists this season. Her 1.82 ppg rankes eighth nationally and her 1.05 goals per game ranks fifth in the country. Lyndsey Fry leads Harvard in assists with 18 to go with her 11 goals for 29 points. Harvard's goaltending tandem still dominate the national leaders. Laura Bellamy and Emerance Maschmeyer have split time in goal with Bellamy leading the nation in goals against average at 0.79, while Maschmeyer is third at 1.19. They are also second and fifth in save percentage, respectively. That gives the Crimson the No. 2 scoring defense at 0.95 goals allowed per game. Harvard also leads the nation in penalty killing at 93.0 percent (66-of-71), helped by the fact that Harvard has had the fewest shorthanded opportunities in the nation and is fourth fewest-penalized team at just 7.3 minutes per game. Harvard hosts Yale and Brown this Saturday and Sunday.
Princeton (9-12-2, 2-5-0) has won three in a row after sweeping Yale and Brown last weekend. Prior to that, the Tigers won at Penn State, 3-0. Last Saturday against Brown, Molly Contini had a hat trick to lead the Tigers in a 6-1 victory. Kelly Cooke leads Princeton in goals with 12 to go along with nine assists for 21 points on the year. Senior Corey Stearns leads Princeton in scoring with 26 points on four goals and a team-best 22 assists. Her 0.96 assists per contest rank 12th nationally. Freshman Kimberly Newell has a strong rookie season in goal, logging a 2.91 GAA and a .914 save percentage. The Tigers conclude a four-game homestand by hosting Colgate and Cornell this weekend. While out of the Ivy title hunt, Princeton is fighting for one of the eight ECAC Tournament slots, currently sitting in eight place with Colgate and Yale close behind.
Yale (4-17-2, 1-6-0) forged a 2-2 tie with Quinnipiac in its last outing to earn an important point in the ECAC standings. While out of the Ivy title contention, the youthful Bulldogs are still in the hunt for an ECAC Tournament seed, finding themselves two points out of eighth place. The freshman trio of Janelle Ferrara, Kate Martini and Jamie Haddad have combined for 16 goals (more than half of the team total) and 19 assists. Jaimie Lenonoff continues to be one of the national leaders in save percentage. Her .923 mark currently ranks 11th in the nation. The Bulldogs will hit the road to face Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend before closing out the regular season with a four-game homestand.