Two weeks ago, the Game of the Week featured No. 5 St. Lawrence against a team it had defeated in 10 of the previous 11 meetings, the No. 9 Princeton Tigers. This weekend, the Saints are the ones looking to reverse recent trends against a nemesis, the No. 6 Harvard Crimson. The two programs met in both the 2004 ECAC Championship game and the Frozen Four. Harvard added two more wins to a streak that has seen the Crimson collect eight victories and two ties in the last 10 meetings between these two perennial powers. St. Lawrence comes into the weekend with a 13-0-2 record at home and eight straight wins overall. Harvard starts the road trip unbeaten in its last 11 outings. Two points separate these teams atop the ECAC standings. Something has to give.
No. 6 Harvard (17-6-2, 14-1-1 ECAC)
Top Scorers: Nicole Corriero, Sr., F (45-20-65), Julie Chu, Jr., F (8-40-48), Sarah Vaillancourt, Fr., F (15-28-43)
Top Goaltender: Ali Boe, Jr. (14-5-1, 1.95, .902)
Scoring Offense: 4.52 (4th)
Scoring Defense: 1.92 (8th)
Penalty Minutes: 13.0 (T-18th)
Power Play: 41 of 172, 23.8 (T-4th)
Penalty Kill: 129 of 145, 89.0% (6th)
On Dec. 11, Harvard was just one game over .500, having just lost to No. 7 New Hampshire for the first time since 1998, the Crimson’s fifth defeat in six games. Two months later, Coach Katey Stone’s team has yet to lose again and has taken over first place in the ECAC, one point ahead of No. 3 Dartmouth. A recommitment to conditioning, improved defensive zone play, and a revitalized power play number are among the reasons for Harvard’s return to the list of contenders.
Flying under the radar, however, has been the sophomore class, which has shaken the proverbial slump. As rookies, Caitlin Cahow, Katie Johnston, Jennifer Sifers, Liza Solley, and Lindsay Weaver contributed 22 goals and 45 assists in filling valuable roles during the Crimson’s run to its second straight NCAA Final. For the first half of this season, however, the group went disturbingly silent on the scoresheet, logging just eight goals and eight helpers among the team’s 52 tallies. During Harvard’s unbeaten streak, the quintet has had a hand in 44 of the Crimson’s 61 goals.
The shining constant all season has been two-time Kazmaier finalist Nicole Corriero. The senior sniper has reaffirmed her status as one of the game’s elite finishers with a torrid farewell tour that already includes at least one goal in 22 of Harvard’s 25 contests, at least a pair on 15 occasions, and five hat tricks, four of which came against teams ranked in the top 10 at the time. She now sits just six goals shy of matching the Division I single-season record, held by Tammy Shewchuk (Harvard 1999) and Vicky Sunohara (Northeastern 1989).
No. 5 St. Lawrence (23-4-3 overall, 13-2-1 ECAC)
Top Scorers: Rebecca Russell, Sr., F (26-26-52), Emilie Berlinguette, Jr., F (14-18-32), Chelsea Grills, So., F (13-19-32)
Top Goaltenders: Meaghan Guckian, Fr. (13-3-0, 1.93, .932), Jess Moffat, Jr. (7-1-3, 1.96, .921)
Scoring Offense: 3.30 (7th)
Scoring Defense: 1.83 (6th)
Penalty Minutes: 15.5 (6th)
Power Play: 29 of 207, 14.0% (16th)
Penalty Kill: 172 of 200, 86.0% (13th)
The Saints just keep on keepin’ on. St. Lawrence now owns its best-ever record through 30 games at 23-4-3. Freshman Meaghan Guckian’s last two appearances on the Game of the Week have yielded a 2-1 overtime win at Brown and a superb 44-save stonewalling of Princeton in a 5-2 victory. She turned in a clean sheet for her first career win over Dartmouth last Friday. Guckian’s numbers in her debut season (13-3-0, 1.93, .932) look vaguely familiar: Rachel Barrie ’04 posted 15-5-2, 2.07, and .928 as a rookie in helping SLU to the 2001 Frozen Four.
On offense, Rebecca Russell continues to track down milestones in the Saint record book. Last month, Russell set the new school standard for career points (now 160 and counting). Her next goal will break Gina Kingsbury’s single-season goal record and she is seven goals from equaling the career goal record held by Caroline Trudeau ’01. Also on the milestone front, Emilie Berlinguette recorded two points against both Dartmouth and Vermont last weekend to extend her school-record point-scoring streak to 15 games.