February 1, 2013

Women's Journal: Stone, Crimson focused on tasks at hand

By Kat Hasenauer Cornetta

The Beanpot is on Harvard women’s hockey head coach’s Katey Stone’s schedule, but it’s not the only thing.

“We’ll prepare no different than any other game,” admitted Stone. “It’s one of 29 other games in this season.”

Stone (pictured above) and the Crimson (17-2-1) are not dismissing Tuesday’s Beanpot, but they have a mountain of a game impeding their way to Tuesday’s opening round game against Boston College (5pm at Matthews Arena): a Friday night tilt at ECAC and Ivy foe Dartmouth. The Big Green dropped two games last weekend for the first time since the first game of 2013, and are in need of a win to keep pace in a crowded top half of the ECAC.

“We’re looking forward to that game,” said Stone. “It’s a positive rivalry. It’s at Dartmouth and a league game and an Ivy game, so it’s important to us. They’re a good team. We just have to do our jobs.”

The Crimson’s two starting goaltenders, freshman Emerance Maschmeyer and senior Laura Bellamy have definitely been doing their jobs this season. Stone knows that she has lucked out with a goalie rotation that can stand the pressure of competitive ECAC play and their difficult out-of-conference schedule.

“They both work so hard,” said Stone. “They’ve brought such tremendous consistency. They’ve played so well that I can’t even suggest having a #1 goalie right now. That is a great problem to have!”

Maschmeyer and Bellamy are remarkable in net. Both sit in the national top five of goals against average, shutouts and winning percentage. Bellamy has provided incredible mentorship for Maschmeyer, and that is just one example of how Harvard’s players have helped bring their seven freshmen on board quickly.

“The seniors have done a tremendous job communicating the standards of what a Harvard hockey player is,” explained Stone. “They have done a great job teaching what it takes to be a Division 1 hockey player.”

Stone believes that Harvard’s success this season and in past years, has to do with what she recruits for to begin with: self-motivated players. So despite the Crimson’s focus on the first task at hand on Friday, Stone knows that her student-athletes will be in the best mindset for Tuesday’s Beanpot opening game.

“We’ll prepare no different than any other game, but you don’t need to get your kids motivated for the Beanpot.”

Player of the Week
Alex Carpenter, Boston College, sophomore, Reading, Mass.
I believe I have typed Alex Carpenter’s name more times in my season of doing this column more times than ESPN talked about Tim Tebow in the last two years combined. But it is completely deserved. She brings such a high level of performance consistently that it is a pleasure to watch her play hockey. She scored a hat trick against UConn and dished out four helpers on the weekend, and earned a share of Hockey East’s Player of the Week award.

Games of the Week
Women’s Beanpot, Tuesday, Matthews Arena
Boston College vs. Harvard, 5pm
Northeastern vs. Boston University, 8pm

This is not a case of traditional Beanpot hype being unjustified. This year may go down as the most competitive Beanpot tournament ever - men’s or women’s. All four teams are in the top 12 of the PairWise rankings, with Boston College, Harvard and Boston University ranked second, third and fourth. (Northeastern is currently twelfth.) Women’s hockey followers have noted the increased competitiveness of the Boston area on the national scene for several years, and this year’s tournament is a true example of that.

Harvard has not won a Beanpot since 2010, and finished in fourth last year for the first time since 1981. Look for senior captain Jillian Dempsey (Winthrop, Mass.) to take it upon herself to make sure her class rectifies last year’s dismal performance.

Boston College finished in the third spot last season, but is filled with talent this year. Senior captain Blake Bolden recently mentioned that the Eagles may have won the Beanpot before (last in 2011), but it is still a key part of their plan to achieve their elusive national championship this season.

Last year’s champs, Northeastern, have the most to play for in the next two Tuesdays. A win against any of these three teams would be impactful towards the Huskies NCAA tournament at-large bid chances if they end up needing to go that route. Kendall Coyne and Casey Pickett were huge parts of last year’s 4-3 overtime championship game win over Boston University. Coyne’s five goal weekend last week show that she’s back on the top of her game after a dry spell earlier this season, and could be poised for a big Beanpot.

Boston University found themselves so close to their first ever Beanpot tournament title as a varsity program in 2012 (they have one from their time as a club program in 1981). The Terriers are running a bit under the radar right now, and a Beanpot would not just give them a program first, but the possibility to move up in the Pairwise Rankings. BU will need to keep their penalties to a minimum and their defense will need to do their part in blocking shots if they want to be at their best and have a chance for the title.

Division III Note of the Week
UMass Boston’s Samantha Fallon (Pembroke, Mass.) picked a great game to score her first two collegiate goals. Her two goals helped the Beacons edge nationally ranked Manhattanville College on Saturday, 5-3. The freshman scored the game tying goal at the end of the second period, and then kicked off a three goal third period with the go-ahead goal just about seven minutes into the frame. Her performance earned her ECAC East Rookie of the Week honors.

Power Rankings

1) Harvard  (17-2-1 overall, 14-1-0 ECAC)

The Crimson dropped a game last weekend to Clarkson team in need of a win against an ECAC superpower, and just edged St. Lawrence in overtime, but will look to tune back up against Dartmouth before heading to the Beanpot.

2) Boston College  (19-4-2 overall, 12-2-1 Hockey East)

There has been so much buzz over Haley Skarupa and Alex Carpenter, but Melissa Bizzari (Stowe, Verm.) is a quiet force on the Boston College offense. She is in the midst of a seven game scoring streak, including six goals. Two of those goals came in the Eagles’ 8-0 win over UConn on Saturday. 

3) Boston University (17-3-3 overall, 12-2-1 Hockey East)

It’s going to feel like deja vu for Boston University this week, as they host Northeastern Saturday afternoon in a Hockey East matchup before facing them in the Beanpot late game at Matthews on Tuesday night. Freshman forward Rebecca Russo (Shelton, Conn.), who has played in 21 games this season, suffered a hard hit against University of New Hampshire and her status for this weekend is unknown.

4) Northeastern (14-9-2 overall, 8-6-1 Hockey East)

Hello, Kendall Coyne! A five goal weekend earned the sophomore co-league player of the week honors. She is the first Northeastern player since 2002 to score 40 points in consecutive seasons - and there is still quite a bit of hockey left. Junior Kelsey O'Sullivan (Medway, Mass.) started in net for both of the Huskies wins last weekend, earning her first collegiate wins.

5) Quinnipiac (14-9-2 overall, 8-5-1 ECAC)

Quinnipiac is the beneficiary of a scheduling quirk - they began their season so early that they had a much needed week off after hosting Robert Morris the weekend of January 18 & 19th. They will look to bounce back after two disappointing mid-January ECAC losses to Harvard and Dartmouth when they reenter league play against Brown and Yale this weekend.

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