SIDEBAR: Goalie Kessler Breaks Harvard's All-Time Wins Record
While last night’s victory over Colgate held important implications in the Harvard women’s hockey team’s quest to capture the ECAC title, the contest’s historical significance may be even more noteworthy.
Senior Christina Kessler became Harvard’s all-time winningest goalkeeper, passing Ali Boe ’06, with her 64th career victory in last night's 5-1 win.
Kessler tied Boe’s record more than a month ago when the Crimson defeated Connecticut on Dec. 8, but due to the exam break and Canadian national team commitments, she did not get an opportunity to break the record until this weekend. After waiting for a month, Kessler finally recorded her 64th victory.
“It means a lot,” Kessler said. “Obviously it’s great to set records and what not, but I think it’s ultimately about the team and it’s a victory for the team.”
Kessler racked up 21 saves in the winning effort and was just minutes away from recording her fifth shutout of the season.
The Ontario native faced her greatest challenge near the end of the second period when the Colgate offense sent a barrage of shot attempts her way. But Kessler kept the puck from reaching the back of the net and led her team into the final period with a three-goal advantage.
“She came up with some big saves at the end of the second period,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “She challenged the puck. She was aggressive and that’s what she’s going to do. She’s done that for us all year, and we’re hoping that she’s going to keep giving that to us everyday.”
So far this season, Kessler has been solid for the Crimson, sporting a 9-3-3 record. Harvard felt its goalkeeper’s absence earlier this month when Kessler missed two games while she led the Canadian Under-22 Team to a Gold Medal at the 2010 MLP Cup. With Kessler gone, the Crimson fell to Quinnipiac and tied Princeton.
But Kessler was back in net and up to her old tricks for Harvard last night with her only blemish coming with under seven minutes to play and the game already decided. Colgate’s Krista Dermott recovered the puck after a shot ricocheted off Kessler’s pads and then rifled it past the 2008 ECAC Goaltender of the Year, making the score 5-1 with minutes remaining.
When the final whistle sounded, Kessler’s teammates were quick to acknowledge their netminder, offering her a series of fist bumps. When the team trickled into the locker room, Kessler was presented a puck with “64” written across it to commemorate her achievement.
“It’s great to have my teammates support me like that,” Kessler said.
But despite the celebratory mood following the game, the record did not weigh heavily on Kessler’s mind as she switched her focus to Harvard’s upcoming matchups.
“Obviously it’s a great accomplishment, but I think ultimately it comes down to winning as a team and that’s really what was on my mind today,” Kessler said.
—Staff writer Martin Kessler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.