November 3, 2011

Women's Journal: Gedman, Harvard storm out of the gate

Harvard defenseman Marissa Gedman (photo: Gil Talbot)

Ask anyone at Harvard what the team will do to offset the loss of four of its top six scorers and this is what they will likely do:

Get defensive.

Don’t figure on the forwards having all the scoring fun for the Crimson this winter. Not with one returning defenseman — junior Josephine Pucci — on a U.S. national team track and another, sophomore Marissa Gedman (Framingham, Mass.), who showed her nose for the net on opening weekend.

The 10th-ranked Crimson opened what they feel will be a promising season by sweeping St. Lawrence (7-2) and Clarkson (2-1 in overtime) in the North Country over the weekend.

Gedman, the daughter of former Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman, was an ECAC Hockey All-Rookie team pick as a freshman, tallying five goals and 12 assists.

The Noble and Greenough product opened her sophomore campaign by notching a goal and two assists against St. Lawrence, and then scoring the game-winner – and adding an assist – at Clarkson the next night.

“I think Marissa Gedman has taken a huge step forward,” said Harvard coach Katey Stone (Watertown, Conn.). “She’s a solid defenseman.”

As usual, the Crimson plan to play a free-wheeling style with defensemen involved in the attack, especially when their blueliners include players like experienced juniors Pucci, Hilary Hayssen and Kelsey Romatoski, and touted freshmen Michelle Picard (Taunton, Mass.), whose pass sent Gedman in for the OT game-winner.

The Crimson managed 3.03 goals a game last year, third-best in the league.

Last weekend’s wins were a nice start for a team that put itself behind the 8-ball with too many losses before Christmas last year. The Crimson play at Colgate and No. 2 Cornell this weekend, and welcome No. 3 Minnesota for a pair Thanksgiving weekend.

“The ECAC’s as strong as ever,” said Stone. “We have an extremely challenging schedule, which is exactly what we want. … There are no days off anymore in the world of women’s hockey.”

Game of the Week

Boston College at Boston University, Saturday

Just four days after meeting for the first time this season on Wednesday – a 4-1 BU win -- the Comm. Ave. rivals get right back at it.

Both teams are hungry for a win. No. 5 BU (6-3-1, 1-0-0) got swept at No. 1 Wisconsin last weekend, while No. 6 BC (5-3-1, 2-2-1 HE) is on a two-game skid that includes Sunday’s home loss to Maine.

Around New England

The early-season battle of East vs. West went to West, after No. 1 Wisconsin handled No. 5 BU twice in Madison, Wis., by scores of 3-0 and 6-1. BU goalie Kerrin Sperry (North Reading, Mass.) matched her career high with 37 saves in the first game. … Maine’s Brittany Dougherty had four goals on the weekend, including a hat trick that helped the Black Bears beat BC at Conte Forum on Sunday. Another junior Brittany —goalie Ott — made 31 saves in the win that helped the Black Bears improve to 6-4 overall (2-2 Hockey East). … Northeastern freshman Kendall Coyne’s penalty shot helped the Huskies beat Maine, 3-2, two nights earlier. They play a home-and-home with UConn this weekend. … Dartmouth goalie Lindsay Holdcroft stopped 55 of 56 shots (.965 save percentage) as the Big Green tied Clarkson, 2-2, on Friday and blanked St. Lawrence, 1-0, on Saturday. Holdcroft, a sophomore, had 24 saves in that game for the shutout. … With just 11 goals over its first nine games, Providence broke out in Tuesday’s 9-3 non-conference win over Yale. Kate Bacon, Corinne Buie and Laura Veharanta each scored twice.

Mike Zhe can be reached at mzhe@hockeyjournal.com.