Current Rankings (Week 16):
- Boston College
- North Dakota
- Boston University
Week 15 Notes
Minnesota continued their torrid pace against Wisconsin, giving up one goal the entire weekend as they earned 2-0 and 5-1 wins. The Gophers are now in sole possession of the NCAA unbeaten streak, with 34 wins in a row and counting. There’s not much else to say about this team that hasn’t already been said. Minnesota is dominant in every aspect, and they’ll overpower anyone with whatever they need to each game, whether it’s scoring prowess or exceptional defense and goaltending. Upcoming Games: vs. Minnesota-Duluth, Fri. 2/1 @ 7:00 PM E.T. & Sat. 2/2 @ 3:30 PM E.T. **Note: Saturday’s game will be televised live on Big Ten Network.
Boston College beat Providence 4-3 on Saturday and 8-0 against Connecticut on Sunday. The Eagles’ key to success this year has been balance, both offensively and defensively, and they showed that in their two games this week. They’ve got a couple of go-to players, like Alex Carpenter and Haley Skarupa, but the scoring has been pretty evenly distributed throughout their top-six, and that makes BC very dangerous. Upcoming Games: @ Maine, Sat. 2/2 @ 7:00 PM E.T. & vs. Harvard, Tues. 2/5 @ 5:00 PM E.T. (35th annual Beanpot Tournament at Matthews Arena)
After earning two Ivy League wins against Yale (5-0) and Brown (4-2) over the weekend, Cornell had an excellent showing against Mercyhurst, winning 4-0. The Big Red had a great start to the game, out-shooting the Lakers 11-6 and scoring three of their four goals during the first 20 minutes. With the win against the Lakers, Big Red coach Doug Derraugh became the winningest coach in school history. On another note, Cornell will be hosting a “Do It For Daron” Series this upcoming weekend, in hopes of raising awareness of depression, suicide, and youth mental health. Upcoming Games: vs. Union, Fri. 2/1 @ 7:00 PM E.T.& vs. Rensselaer, Sat. 2/2 @ 4:00 PM E.T.
Harvard suffered an upset on Friday, losing 3-1 to Clarkson, but were able to to bounce back with a 3-2 overtime win against St. Lawrence on Saturday. The loss to the Golden Knights was probably the Crimsons’ least-dominant performance of the season; they only put up 19 shots on goal. They played well against the Saints, but had to deal with a great performance by SLU goaltender Carmen MacDonald. Upcoming Games: @ Dartmouth, Fri. 2/1 @ 7:00 PM E.T. (game will be aired live on FCS Atlantic) & vs. Boston College, Tues. 2/5 @ 5:00 PM E.T. (35th annual Beanpot Tournament at Matthews Arena)
Clarkson had a very good showing this weekend, defeating Harvard 3-1 and Dartmouth 5-0. The Golden Knights got higher quality scoring chances and cashed in on them, with a few different players chipping in production-wise. They’ve cooled off a little bit lately but this is a precedent-setting year for their program, and the win against Harvard is just another reason why. In other news, Clarkson will face St. Lawrence this weekend, who are hosting a “Saints Go Social” event on Saturday. Upcoming Games: vs. St. Lawrence, Fri. 2/1 @ 3:00 PM E.T. & @ St. Lawrence, Sat. 2/2 @ 3:00 PM E.T.
North Dakota earned a sweep against St. Cloud State, winning 6-2 and 3-0. The victories were huge for them as they desperately need all the wins they can get down the stretch here. They currently sit 9th in the PairWise rankings, one spot out of a NCAA Tournament slot. Losing three out of four against Wisconsin really hurt UND, but the good news for them is they still have time to right the ship. They just can’t afford any big mistakes or lapses. Upcoming Games: @ Minnesota State, Fri. 2/1 @ 8:07 PM E.T. & Sat. 2/2 @ 4:07 PM E.T.
Boston University came away with two wins this week after defeating Vermont 5-2 and New Hampshire 3-2, extending their win streak to 12 games. They’ve been a little bit up and down this year but they’re getting everything in order at the right time of the year. BU just wants to make sure they don’t get a little cold as we head into the postseason. Upcoming Games: vs. Northeastern, Sat. 2/2 @ 3:00 PM E.T. & @ Northeastern, Tues. 2/5 @ 8:00 PM E.T. (35th annual Beanpot Tournament at Matthews Arena)
Wisconsin was unsuccessful in their efforts to upset the Gophers, losing 2-0 and 5-1. It was the first time the Badgers have been swept by Minnesota at home since 2003. It was not for lack of effort on Wisconsin’s part, however; the Gophers have been simply too much to handle for every team they’ve faced so far this year. The Badgers were playing well before falling to Minnesota, and they’ll want to get back on the right track right away to build momentum heading into the playoffs. Upcoming Games: N/A for Week 16
Minnesota-Duluth had a huge weekend on the road at Ohio State, sweeping the Buckeyes with a 7-5 win and 3-2 win. Their defense can still afford to be more consistent (they almost lost a 3-0 lead in the second victory after some breakdowns) but their offense has really come together nicely in the past few weeks. This upcoming weekend against Minnesota will be huge for the Bulldogs. They matched up pretty well against the Gophers earlier in the year, but they need to take advantage of their scoring opportunities if they expect to pull off an upset. Upcoming Games: @ Minnesota, Fri. 2/1 @ 7:00 PM E.T. & Sat. 2/2 @ 3:30 PM E.T. **Note: Saturday’s game will be televised live on Big Ten Network.
Northeastern had a good outing this weekend, beating Vermont 6-3. The Huskies had to come all the way back and erase a 3-0 lead in order to earn the win. The fact that they got off to such a slow start is not an encouraging sign, but they were able to gather themselves and eventually overpower the Catamounts. Kendall Coyne’s hat trick helped carry Northeastern to victory, and her production has certainly been a huge part of the success they’ve had this year. Upcoming Games: @ Boston University, Sat. 2/2 @ 3:00 PM E.T. & vs. Boston University, Tues. 2/5 @ 8:00 PM E.T. (35th annual Beanpot Tournament at Matthews Arena)
Three Stars of the Week
1. Carly Mercer, Junior, Forward, Clarkson: Recorded a hat trick in the Golden Knights’ upset win over Harvard, continuing to help her team reach new heights this year.
2. Jillian Saulnier, Sophomore, Forward, Cornell: Had a goal and seven assists in three games this week, showing off her play-making abilities and sparking the Big Red offense.
3. Ali Binnington, Sophomore, Goaltender, RIT: Made 22 saves to help RIT tie Robert Morris Saturday, then posted a 24-save shutout on Sunday in the Tigers’ upset win over the defending CHA Tournament champs.
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).