Current Rankings (Week 19):
- Boston College
- North Dakota
- Boston University
Week 18 Notes
Minnesota handily beat Bemidji State 8-0 on Friday, but they were just one goal away from their first defeat in a long time as they sneaked past the Beavers 3-2 in overtime on Saturday. The Gophers outshot BSU 44-14 in that second game but they could not pull away and seal the victory until Mira Jalosuo scored on the power play in the extra frame. Minnesota has been looking more and more…well, human, for lack of a better word, in recent weeks. That might not be the best sign for them with the playoffs right around the corner. Upcoming Games: @ St. Cloud State, Fri. 2/22 @ 8:07 PM E.T. & Sat. 2/23 @ 3:07 PM E.T.
With three blowout wins this week, Boston College sits in first place in Hockey East heading into the final weekend of the regular season. They swept Connecticut in a home-and-home series over the weekend with a 6-1 win and a 4-0 win, then defeated Providence 5-2 on Tuesday. The Eagles’ offense and power play (29.52%) are their biggest strengths, but it’ll be important for them to get their penalty kill in order as we head into the postseason so they can have the advantage in all special teams situations. Their PK is currently the 18th-best in the country. Upcoming Games: @ Vermont, Sat. 2/23 @ 12:00 PM E.T. & Sun. 2/24 @ 2:00 PM E.T.
Cornell earned a huge 3-1 win over Harvard on Friday, but skated to a 0-0 tie against Dartmouth on Saturday. The win over the Crimson holds a lot of weight for the Big Red, and shouldn’t be discredited by the result of the game against Dartmouth. The Big Green are a very good defensive team and have been pretty opportunistic against a number of ECAC opponents this year. Upcoming Games: @ Rensselaer, Fri. 2/22 @ 7:00 PM E.T. & @ Union, Sat. 2/23 @ 4:00 PM E.T.
Harvard bounced back from the 3-1 loss to Cornell with a pair of 5-2 wins over Colgate and Brown, but they still cannot completely write off that defeat. The Crimson were outplayed by the Big Red for the majority of the game, and their defense could not match Cornell’s speed up front. It’s an area that Harvard will have to address, and they’ve definitely got the ability and potential to prevent it from happening in the future. On a random but more positive note for the Crimson: forward Jillian Dempsey moved into the school’s top ten in career scoring. Upcoming Games: vs. St. Lawrence, Fri. 2/22 @ 7:00 PM E.T.; vs. Clarkson, Sat. 2/23 @ 4:00 PM E.T.; & vs. Yale, Tues. 2/26 @ 7:00 PM E.T.
North Dakota earned a big sweep over Ohio State this past weekend, with a 5-2 win on Friday and a 3-2 win on Saturday, UND’s Senior Night. The series was indicative of the strides North Dakota has made since the very beginning of the year. They showed poise in both their ability to play and win tight games and their ability to finish plays. This UND team has definitely got a lot of potential, but before they can’t look past this weekend at all yet as they’ve got a huge road series against Minnesota-Duluth to close out the regular season. Upcoming Games: @ Minnesota-Duluth, Fri. 2/22 @ 8:07 PM E.T. & Sat. 2/23 @ 7:07 PM E.T.
It was not an easy weekend for Boston University, but they managed to sweep Vermont, winning 2-1 and 3-2. They then went on to soundly beat New Hampshire, 6-0. Marie-Philip Poulin scored both goals in the Terriers’ first win, snapping a four-game pointless streak. The fact that Poulin, as well as other key offensive players, are getting involved again is a positive for BU. Their offense looks much more potent and balanced again, and that’s a scary sign for the rest of Hockey East’s defenses. Upcoming Games: vs. Connecticut, Sat. 2/23 @ 3:00 PM E.T. & @ Connecticut, Sun. 2/24 @ 2:00 PM E.T.
Clarkson’s offense hit a dry spell this weekend as they were upset by Princeton, 4-1, and beat Quinnipiac 1-0. Clarkson hasn’t been playing badly, and their offense isn’t completely stagnant; they’re getting shots on net, forechecking well, and dominating play for long stretches. They just couldn’t find the back of the net this past weekend. The Golden Knights have limited time to find a consistent scoring touch, however. Upcoming Games: @ Dartmouth, Fri. 2/22 @ 7:00 PM E.T. & @ Harvard, Sat. 2/23 @ 4:00 PM E.T.
Wisconsin’s weekend sweep of Minnesota-Duluth has them 8th in the Pairwise Rankings. They beat the Bulldogs 3-1 on Saturday, then won in dramatic fashion on their Senior Day, 3-2 in overtime. The good news for the Badgers is their best players were their best players in the series against the . The bad news is that, besides Brianna Decker, Madison Packer, and Alev Kelter, they really don’t have any reliable scorers heading into the playoffs. Wisconsin will need to rely on their defensive players more than ever this postseason, especially goaltender Alex Rigsby. Upcoming Games: @ Bemidji State, Fri. 2/22 @ 8:00 PM E.T. & Sat. 2/23 @ 5:00 PM E.T.
The two losses to Wisconsin were not the results Minnesota-Duluth was looking for this weekend. The Bulldogs already had their work cut out for them to get into the NCAA Tournament in March and they really could not afford a sweep. They’ve now been dropped from the PairWise rankings altogether for the time being. That being said, there is still time for Minnesota-Duluth to right the ship, and they can get right back in the picture this weekend if they have a good series against North Dakota. Upcoming Games: vs. North Dakota, Fri. 2/22 @ 8:07 PM E.T. & Sat. 2/23 @ 7:07 PM E.T.
Northeastern swept Maine with a 5-2 win and a 7-2 win over the weekend, then went on to beat Connecticut 4-0 on Tuesday. The Huskies’ offense is coming together and finding consistency at the right time. They’re using their speed and forechecking to overpower teams and dominate games, which is exactly what they need to do in order to be successful. It doesn’t hurt that sophomore forward Kendall Coyne is playing on a whole different level from almost everyone else right now. Upcoming Games: @ Providence, Sat. 2/23 @ 7:00 PM E.T. & vs. Providence, Sun. 2/24 @ 4:00 PM E.T.
Three Stars of the Week
1. Alex Carpenter, Sophomore, Forward, Boston College: Had seven goals and three assists in three games this week and is now tied for the school record for points in a single season with 64.
2. Kimberly Newell, Freshman, Goaltender, Princeton: Made 40 saves in the Tigers’ upset win over Clarkson.
3. Kendall Coyne, Sophomore, Forward, Northeastern: Posted five goals and two assists in three games for the Huskies this week as she continued her red-hot scoring pace, and is now sixth overall in scoring in the country.
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).