NCAA Women’s Hockey Morning Skate: October 31st, 2014


  1. Minnesota
  2. Boston College
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Boston University
  5. Harvard
  6. Clarkson
  7. North Dakota
  8. Cornell
  9. Minnesota Duluth
  10. Quinnipiac

Game of the Week

#3 Wisconsin (8-2-0) at #7 North Dakota (4-4-0), Fri. 10/31 at 7 p.m. CST & Sat. 11/1 at 3 p.m. CST

After being swept by Minnesota last weekend, North Dakota will try to turn things around this weekend when it hosts the Badgers. UND is now on a three-game losing streak, and will need to see some significant improvements over its last performance, a 5-0 loss to the Gophers. They need to be mindful of where Wisconsin’s top players are, and they need to get up in transition and attack the Badger defense. North Dakota played both its best and worst games of the season in last weekend’s series against Minnesota, and the biggest difference between both was in completing passes and maintaining possession through the neutral zone. UND will be looking to clean up those turnovers in the defensive zone and in transition against the Badgers, and it’ll also need some production out of top forwards like Meghan Dufault and Becca Kohler, who haven’t recorded a point during this losing streak.

Wisconsin took care of a dangerous Bemidji State team on the road last weekend, finding ways to solve the Beavers’ goaltending and pull away with two one-goal victories. The Badgers will be facing another very good goaltender in Shelby Amsley-Benzie this weekend, so they’ll need to make sure they finish their chances. With Blayre Turnbull, Emily Clark, and Annie Pankowski all missing time this weekend due to the upcoming Four Nations Cup, Wisconsin will also need some other players to step up and fill those minutes. The Badgers have a pretty well-rounded offense, so they’ll have options to turn to. Defensively, they need to remain sound and maintain possession, and prevent second- and third-chance opportunities; goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens should stop most of the pucks she sees.

Top-10 Teams in Action

Bemidji State at #1 Minnesota, Fri. 10/31 @ 7 p.m. CST & Sat. 11/1 @ 4 p.m. CST

Providence at #2 Boston College, Fri. 10/31 @ 7 p.m. EST; #2 Boston College at Providence, Sat. 11/1 @ 7 p.m. EST

New Hampshire at #4 Boston University, Sun. 11/2 @ 3 p.m. EST

Rensselaer at #5 Harvard, Fri. 10/31 @ 7 p.m. EST; Union at #5 Harvard, Sat. 11/1 @ 4 p.m. EST

#6 Clarkson at Brown, Fri. 10/31 @ 7 p.m. EST; #6 Clarkson at Yale, Sat. 11/1 @ 4 p.m. EST

Princeton at #8 Cornell, Fri. 10/31 @ 3 p.m. EST; #10 Quinnipiac at #8 Cornell, Sat. 11/1 @ 3 p.m. EST

Minnesota State at #9 Minnesota Duluth, Sat. 11/1 @ 3 p.m. CST & Sun. 11/2 @ 3 p.m. CST

#10 Quinnipiac at Colgate, Fri. 10/31 @ 3 p.m. EST

What to Watch For

Cornell is looking to rebound after starting out the season being swept by Boston College. The Big Red face Princeton on Friday, and the Tigers gave them some trouble in last year’s playoffs, so they can’t afford to overlook them. They’ll then take on Quinnipiac, who has climbed to fifth in the polls behind a tight-knit defense and efficient offense. It’s a big game for Cornell, who needs to prove that its own defense can match up against other top teams after giving up 12 goals to BC in two games. The Big Red also need to see some improvements offensively; with forwards like Brianne Jenner, Jillian Saulnier, and Emily Fulton, they need to generate more chances and shots this weekend.

The game will also be a big test for the Bobcats, who have played well in their six games so far but have yet to face a team as strong Cornell. They should have the advantage in goal; Chelsea Laden has once again started off the year with stellar numbers behind Quinnipiac’s very structured defense, while Paula Voorheis did not look very sound for the Big Red against Boston College. Freshman Taylar Cianfarano has led the Bobcats’ offense so far, but they’ll be looking for veterans like Nicola Kosta and Erica Uden Johansson to step up as well, especially with Shiann Darkangelo gone for Four Nations.

Harvard will see its first action of the season this weekend against Rensselaer and Union. The Crimson will be without Emerance Maschmeyer in net, but Brianna Laing proved to be a capable back-up last season so goaltending shouldn’t be too much of an issue in her absence. Harvard’s primary concern this weekend will likely be getting everything to gel properly. They have veterans like Miye D’Oench, Lyndsey Fry, Hillary Crowe, and Kalley Armstrong to lead the way up front, but they also have rookies like Karly Heffernan and Danielle Krzyszczyk who should see some minutes right away. Fry, Armstrong, and defenseman Michelle Picard all spent last year away from the team as well, so the focus for the Crimson will be getting everyone clicking at a high level.

Minnesota welcomes Bemidji State this weekend for a WCHA series. The Beavers have lost four straight after being swept by Ohio State and Wisconsin, but only lost by one goal in both games against the Badgers. The Gophers will outplay them, but the goaltending of both Brittni Mowat and Erin Deters can’t be overlooked. If Bemidji State can remain opportunistic against Minnesota, they should find ways to make this an interesting series.

You can find more of Gabriella’s work covering women’s hockey over at her own website, At Even Strength.