Current Rankings (Week 17):
- Boston College
- North Dakota
- Boston University
Week 16 Notes
Although they earned the sweep with a 5-0 victory and a 6-2 victory, Minnesota had their toughest series of the year this past weekend against Minnesota-Duluth. Don’t let the scores deceive you, especially for that second game. The Bulldogs provided the Gophers with great competition, even scoring first on Saturday and keeping it a close game when they tied it at 2 in the third period. Eventually, though, Minnesota ran away with yet another win. I think the one thing that really separates them from everyone else is their finishing ability. No other team has so many players that can count on every game to put the puck in the net. Other teams might get as many chances, but nobody in the country is as good as the Gophers at converting them. Upcoming Games: @ Ohio State, Fri. 2/8 @ 7:07 PM E.T. & Sat. 2/9 @ 1:07 PM E.T.
Boston College picked up two more wins this week, beating Maine 6-3 and then defeating Harvard 2-1 in the Beanpot Tournament semifinal. They were pretty dominant against Maine, but things were a lot more even against the Crimson. The Eagles showed that they can win a tight game, and they don’t have to rely on completely overwhelming their opponents. Their defense and goaltending were solid, which is a good sign for them because they’ll need more than just offense come the end of the month. Upcoming Games: vs. Northeastern, Tues. 2/12 @ 8:00 PM E.T. (35th annual Beanpot Tournament Final at Matthews Arena)
Cornell had a successful weekend at home, routing Union 8-1 on Friday and beating ever-gritty RPI 3-1 on Saturday. The two games were apart of their “Do it for Daron” Series, making it a successful weekend for the Big Red both on and off the ice. Cornell now sits in second in the ECAC, just one point behind Harvard, who have slipped up a bit recently. They’ve collected themselves well and look every in control of things with just three weeks left in the regular season. Upcoming Games: @ Quinnipiac, Fri. 2/8 @ 1:00 PM E.T. & @ Princeton, Sat. 2/9 @ 4:00 PM E.T.
Unfortunately for Harvard, they were winless this week, tying Dartmouth at two apiece on Friday and then losing in the Beanpot semifinals to Boston College, 2-1. Their defense has loosened up lately, but they’re also not scoring as many goals. Forward Jillian Dempsey was a bright spot this week, however, and has been all season. She had a goal and an assist against Dartmouth, and was everywhere against the Eagles in the Beanpot, just playing absolutely relentlessly around the net. She was featured in the latest “Kaz Watch”, which examines potential nominees for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. Upcoming Games: vs. Boston University, Tues. 2/12 @ 5:00 PM E.T. (35th annual Beanpot Tournament consolation game at Matthews Arena)
North Dakota had a huge weekend, earning a sweep against Minnesota State. They beat the Mavericks 4-2 on Friday, then rode a five-goal first period to a 8-2 win on Saturday. Their offense has been much more consistent in the second half of the year, which is due to a number of reasons, but namely because they’ve been executing their whole attacking philosophy much better. North Dakota’s dangerous offense will be instrumental in helping them finish strong and put together a good playoff run to solidify a berth for them in the NCAA Tournament. Upcoming Games: vs. Bemidji State, Fri. 2/8 @ 8:07 PM E.T. & Sat. 2/9 @ 8:07 PM E.T.
Clarkson earned a split in their home-and-home series with St. Lawrence this past weekend. The Saints are a solid team with some clutch players, but the Golden Knights probably would’ve really liked to have gotten two wins out of the series. They haven’t been as hot in the second half as they were in the first part of the season, and a sweep this weekend could have helped them set the tone both for themselves and for everyone else as we head down the home stretch. Upcoming Games: @ Rensselaer, Fri. 2/8 @ 7:00 PM E.T. & @ Union, Sat. 2/9 @ 4:00 PM E.T.
Boston University defeated Northeastern 4-2 on Saturday, but then fell to the Huskies 4-1 Tuesday night in their Beanpot semifinal match-up. The loss is obviously disappointing for the Terriers, but they’ve been playing great the past few weeks and there’s no reason for them to start doubting themselves now. They just couldn’t get anything to go in against Northeastern on Tuesday. And on the plus side, forward Marie-Philip Poulin has been kept off the scoresheet for three straight games now. The reason why that’s a positive for BU? She usually doesn’t stay too quiet for long. Upcoming Games: vs. Harvard, Tues. 2/12 @ 5:00 PM E.T. (35th annual Beanpot Tournament consolation game at Matthews Arena)
Although Minnesota-Duluth could not pull off an upset on the road against Minnesota, they still put in two gutsy, inspiring performances. The Gophers’ incredible offense got the best of them in the end, but the Bulldogs really were right there with them for the better part of both games. They especially proved to be great competition in the second game, when they jumped out to a 1-0 lead, gave up the next two goals of the game, but fought back and tied it at two on a shorthanded goal from Jenna McParland. No matter what their record is, UMD cannot be taken lightly by any team, and as long as they keep playing well they’ll definitely be capable of putting together a postseason run. Upcoming Games: vs. Minnesota State, Sat. 2/9 @ 4:07 PM E.T. & Sun. 2/10 @ 4:07 PM E.T.
That victory over Boston University in the Beanpot gives Northeastern the chance to win the tournament in consecutive years. They’ll have their hands full with a very deep and talented Boston College team; it’ll probably be harder for the Huskies to generate offense against the Eagles’ defense than it was against the Terriers. That being said, goaltender Chloe Desjardins was stellar against BU in the semifinals, and another effort like that would really help Northeastern out against BC. And if sophomore forward Kendall Coyne’s got anything to say about it, it will not be an easy win for the Eagles. She had a hat trick on Tuesday to lead the Huskies to the Beanpot Final in the first place. Upcoming Games: vs. Boston College, Tues. 2/12 @ 8:00 PM E.T. (35th annual Beanpot Tournament Final at Matthews Arena)
Three Stars of the Week
1. Josefine Jakobsen, Sophomore, Forward, North Dakota: Had two hat tricks this weekend, plus a six-point game on Saturday, totaling nine points on the weekend.
2. Noora Räty, Senior, Goaltender, Minnesota: The victory against Minnesota-Duluth on Friday made her the winningest goaltender in NCAA history. She now has 102 and counting.
3. Brianne Jenner, Junior, Forward, Cornell: Scored four goals in one game for the Big Red against Union and posted a total of five goals and eight points on the weekend.
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).