College women's hockey preview: Minnesota Duluth at Harvard
Minnesota Duluth at Harvard What: Nonconference series When: 6 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday Where: Bright-Landry Hockey Center, Cambridge, Mass. Records: UMD is 8-3-3; Harvard is 1-6. Rankings: The Bulldogs are No. 4 in the USCHO.com poll; ...
M innesota Duluth at Harvard
What: Nonconference series
When: 6 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Bright-Landry Hockey Center, Cambridge, Mass.
Records: UMD is 8-3-3; Harvard is 1-6.
Rankings: The Bulldogs are No. 4 in the USCHO.com poll; Harvard is unranked.
Series: The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 10-5-1 after splitting with the Crimson a year ago in Duluth.
Coaches: Maura Crowell, in her second season at UMD, is 23-24-4 and 46-31-8 for her career; Katey Stone, in her 22nd season at Harvard, is 447-195-41.
UMD update: The Bulldogs are coming off a home split against No. 1 Wisconsin last week. UMD’s 4-1 victory on Friday was the first loss of the season for the Badgers. UMD’s 4-1 loss on Saturday was its only defeat in eight games (5-1-2). Despite all that, the Bulldogs slipped from third to fourth in the USCHO poll after two voters awarded first-place votes to undefeated St. Lawrence (15-0-1), which is the new No. 3. The Badgers took home the other 13 first-place votes while Minnesota remained No. 2. UMD might be able to win over those two (likely) east-coast voters with a pair of wins over the Crimson this weekend. Harvard plays in the ECAC with St. Lawrence, but unlike the Saints, Harvard actually plays teams from outside the Eastern time zone. The Bulldogs are already 1-0-1 in nonconference play having beaten and tied Boston College of Hockey East to start the year. Two more wins over an Eastern team, combined with a strong finish to WCHA play, may allow the Bulldogs to make their 11th NCAA tournament in program history and first NCAA tourney since 2011. In a very early version of the PairWise rankings, the Bulldogs are in position to make the NCAA tournament as a fifth seed. The Bulldogs have so far played the toughest schedule in Div. I, according to the Ratings Percentage Index, something that should help their tournament resume down the road.
Harvard update: The Crimson are off to their worst start to a season in the Katey Stone era and worst start since the 1979-80 season when Harvard also started 1-6. Harvard finished that season just 4-13. Stone holds the collegiate women’s hockey record for wins as a head coach with 447. Harvard’s worst season under Stone since she took over was her second season when the team went 9-17-1 in 1995-96. The Crimson are coming off a 17-12-3 season in 2016-17 that ended in the first round of the ECAC tournament. It was the Crimson’s first season with less than 20 wins since 2010-11. Harvard, losers of six straight, have played the sixth hardest schedule to date in Div. I, according to the RPI, having lost to St. Lawrence, Clarkson and Quinnipiac - all of which are ranked in the USCHO top 10 this week. The Bulldogs’ Crowell was a former Harvard assistant coach, interim head coach and associate head coach at Harvard under Stone from 2010-15 having taken over the program in 2013-14 while Stone coached Team USA at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. UMD assistant coach Laura Bellamy was Stone’s goaltender at Harvard for four seasons from 2009-13, then hired after graduation as an assistant coach for two seasons from 2013-2015.
Quote: “If we want to say, ‘How did we move down in the polls last week?’ let’s go make a statement this weekend and make sure everybody knows we mean business. You can’t have any slip-ups and you can’t take anybody lightly. It’s important to prove yourself every single game. It is tight this year. The top 10 poll is tight.” - Crowell on the Bulldogs dropping in the USCHO poll this week