Crimson Queens of the Rink
The women’s hockey team ended January with a perfect 14-0 record in the ECAC, and a 17-1-0 record overall, earning them the top ranking in the nation. The icewomen have consistently frosted their opponents with devasting offensive flurries and a defense that has allowed just 0.83 goals per game. Harvard’s sole loss came against the UNH Wildcats, alma mater of veteran Crimson head coach Katey Stone, on December 14. At their next game, in early January, the icewomen knocked off Cornell, and then—in quick succession—Colgate, Boston College, St. Lawrence, and Clarkson before a two-week, exam-period layoff. Back on the ice January 27, the Crimson dispelled any speculation that their hot touch might have gone cold with a decisive 4-0 shellacking of tenth-ranked Dartmouth.
In the net, goalminder Christina Kessler ’10 has proved she’s a keeper. Sidelined by injury for much of last season, the sophomore standout has garnered a .957 save percentage in the 17 games she has played this winter, including shutout wins against Yale, Brown, Clarkson, Boston College, and Dartmouth, among others. The Dartmouth shutout, her eighth of the season, set a new Harvard record, and solidifed her standing among the best goalies in the country.
On the other side of the blue line, the Crimson has plentiful scoring power in Sarah Vaillancourt ’08, a member of the gold-medal-winning Canadian women’s team at the 2006 Olympics in Torino. Vaillancourt led the team in scoring with 11 goals. Close behind her in the count, with 10 pucks in the net—and watching Vaillancourt’s back—is tri-captain Caitlin Cahow ’08 on defense; another 2006 Olympian, she skated for the bronze-winning U.S. team. At press time, Cahow was third nationally in power play goals (with 8) and second in goals scored among defenders (with 1.06 per game). Against Boston College on January 8, the senior scored her first collegiate hat trick in a 7-0 blowout. With just eight conference games left, the Crimson looked likely to lock up home-ice advantage for the ECAC tournament that caps the regular season, and seemed poised for play on the national stage.
Clockwise from left: sophomore netminder Christina Kessler; senior defender, tri-captain, and Olympic bronze medalist Caitlin Cahow; junior forward and Olympic gold medalist Sarah Vaillancourt