Current Rankings (Week 11):
- Boston College
- North Dakota
- Boston University
Match-up of the Week: Sat. 12/1: Minnesota 4, Wisconsin 1; Sun. 12/2: Minnesota 2, Wisconsin 0
Minnesota swept rival Wisconsin to remain perfect on the season, with an 18-0-0 record. The depth and ability of the Gophers was too much for the Badgers to handle in both games. Goaltender Noora Räty earned her 33rd career shutout, and she is now within six of Jessie Vetter’s all-time NCAA shutout record. Overall Minnesota asserted themselves well throughout the two-game series. They once again showed their ability to handle adversity and turn the game around. In Saturday’s game, Wisconsin was putting up a good fight, but the Gophers quickly capitalized on their chances in the second period to take a 4-0 lead. On Sunday, Badger goaltender Alex Rigsby frustrated Minnesota, helping to keep the game scoreless all the way into the third period, the Gophers stuck with it and took the lead with a little over 10 minutes left on a goal by Mira Jalosuo.
Wisconsin worked hard and played their best, but they just don’t have the scoring ability up front this year to really give a team like Minnesota a great game. Until the wheels came off in the first game, the Badgers were doing a good job of keeping the play going back and forth, but there wasn’t enough offensive pressure from them all weekend to compete with the Gophers’. Alex Rigsby obviously stuck out in the second game, holding Minnesota to only one non-empty-net goal for the first time all year, but defenders Alev Kelter and Courtney Burke also caught my attention. Kelter has been a rock for Wisconsin all season, and she continued the solid two-way play this weekend. Burke, a freshman, is already logging significant minutes and running the Badgers’ power play.
Cornell lost to Clarkson 2-1 on Friday night in what can be considered a little bit of an upset. It was an evenly-played game in most respects, except for one thing: penalties. The Big Red took nine penalties, which is, to say the least, not good. However, they killed off eight of the Golden Knights’ nine power plays, which says good things about their penalty kill. Cornell has shown heightened defensive awareness this year and they continued to show that this weekend, in both the game against Clarkson and their 4-2 win over St. Lawrence. The success of their penalty kill and the low goals-against totals in both games are evidence of that.
The win over Cornell was huge for Clarkson, as they proved that they can skate with the best of them. They slipped a little bit the following day against Colgate, losing 2-1, which is a little concerning; to really be considered a top team in the country, they have to show that they won’t lose sight of what lies ahead just because they pulled off a big win. The Golden Knights got some production out of their secondary scorers this weekend, which is a plus.
Boston College absolutely throttled Maine this weekend, beating them 7-2 on Friday night and 10-0 on Saturday. BC freshmen Haley Skarupa and Dana Trivigno each posted hat tricks. The Eagles dominated the Black Bears; not only did they score 17 goals but they led in totals shots, 94 to 19. Also, Maine’s 11 total penalties this weekend are proof that they just could not keep up with Boston College.
North Dakota’s offense finally did explode against Rochester Institute of Technology. They struggled a little bit on Saturday, winning 3-2 and only posting 28 shots, but they did a complete one-eighty on Sunday. UND put up 58 shots en route to an 8-2 win. There are still a few defensive mishaps per game for them, but over the past few weeks they’ve really improved in controlling the game. Right now inconsistency is probably the biggest issue for North Dakota, but they’ve improved a lot in that area as well.
Harvard had a good showing against Dartmouth, winning 6-0 on Friday night. Lyndsey Fry and Jillian Dempsey continue to lead their offense; each posted three points in that game. Defensively, Harvard has yet to crack this season; there have been some minor breakdowns and they haven’t shut out every single team they’ve played, but still. Their defensive philosophy collectively, not just on the blue line, has been working very well, and it continued to do so against Dartmouth as the Crimson killed off a pretty shocking 10 power plays.
It took two complete sixty-minute efforts by Boston University, but they were able to sweep Providence this weekend. They managed to come from behind three times on Friday night and eventually sealed a 4-3 victory. Then on Saturday, the Friars were the ones who would not go away, but Isabel Menard scored with 1:27 left to break a 4-4 tie; BU went on to win, 6-4. There are definitely some growing concerns for the Terriers defensively. The fact that they scored 10 goals this weekend is a plus but they’ll want to be able to use their goal-scoring to put teams away, not count on it to marginally keep them ahead of opponents.
Mercyhurst took it to Penn State this weekend, winning 5-0 on Friday and 7-1 on Saturday. The Lakers outshot the Nittany Lions 131 to 20 with both games combined. It took a 64-save effort from Penn State goaltender Nicole Paniccia to keep it a six-goal game on Saturday, which is nothing short of amazing. In fact, it’s a program record for most saves in a single game for the Nittany Lions. The offensive onslaught on the part of the Lakers was expected, but impressive nonetheless.
Three Stars of the Week
1. Haley Skarupa, Freshman, Forward, Boston College: Had five goals and three assists in three games this week for the Eagles. She’s been a constant offensive presence this year, which is impressive for a rookie.
2. Michelle Karvinen, Junior, Forward, North Dakota: Scored two goals and five assists this weekend, showing great vision and play-making ability, and has now racked up 17 points after playing in just six games so far this year.
3. Roxanne Douville, Junior, Goaltender, Vermont: Connecticut couldn’t solve her this weekend as she earned two consecutive shutouts to help the Catamounts improve to 3-0-2 in their last five.
Gabriella is now in her third season of covering NCAA and international women’s hockey for The Hockey Writers. She is the founding editor of At Even Strength, a website dedicated to providing full-time coverage and analysis of women’s hockey. She is currently working towards a degree in Communication at the University of North Dakota, and is also interning with UND Athletic Media Relations. She can be reached on Twitter (@gabfun) or via e-mail (gfundaro10 [at] gmail [dot] com).