Current Rankings (Week 6):
- Boston University
- North Dakota
- Boston College
Match-up of the Week: Minnesota 5, North Dakota 1 (10/27); Minnesota 4, North Dakota 2 (10/28)
Minnesota continued their dominance this weekend on their visit to Grand Forks. Using the term “unbeatable” to describe any team is usually false, but that’s just how the Gophers have been playing all year. This was easily the most difficult series they faced so far, but they still found ways to score goals and get the win, making it look pretty easy along the way. For instance, North Dakota played very well on Saturday, keeping the score tied at one, but Minnesota eventually scored four third period goals to take a 5-1 win. There were stretches when North Dakota outplayed the Gophers, but they did not get flustered by it; this is a quality of most great teams and it makes them that much more dangerous.
Although they didn’t earn any points this weekend, North Dakota shouldn’t kick themselves over it too much. The effort was clearly there, and they played well throughout the series, never really reaching a point where the game was out of reach for them, except late in the third period on Saturday. I thought they executed their game plan as well as possible, especially on the defensive side of the puck. It is worrisome, however, how they haven’t had one game yet this year with more than one forward line at a time making good plays and creating chances consistently.
Cornell played two pretty tight games score-wise this weekend, winning 2-0 over Brown and 3-2 over Yale, but they were pretty dominant overall. They outshot the Bears and Bulldogs by a combined 79-22 margin. Lauriane Rougeau had a nice weekend for the Big Red, getting on the scoresheet with three assists. They’ll want to put more goals away in the future against weaker teams but so far, so good for Cornell.
Boston University collected two more wins this weekend as well, and their offense continues to consistently pressure and score goals. Some good news for them: forward Kayla Tutino really got going this weekend, scoring two goals in a 4-2 win over Maine and then adding another in a 3-0 win over Robert Morris. Although she was only in net for the game against Robert Morris this week, goaltender Kerrin Sperry has looked very solid in net all year. She hasn’t stood on her head yet in any games, but she’s hardly been a liability either, which is also good news for the Terriers.
Boston College had a very good series against Minnesota-Duluth. Although they wound up splitting with the Bulldogs, they outshot them 41-27 in a 3-2 loss on Thursday and came away with a 3-2 victory on Friday. They showed stretches of the kind of offensive play that they’re capable of for the first time this year. It would be nice for the Eagles to be consistently better on the power play, however; that proved to be especially helpful this weekend as they scored two power play goals in their win but went 0-for-4 with the man-advantage in their loss. The Bulldogs themselves did not have a terrible series at all, but there’s still quite a bit that they need to work on in order to consistently play at a high level.
Wisconsin’s second game against New Hampshire was probably their best all-around game this year. The Badgers won 5-0 to earn the sweep, after beating the Wildcats 2-1 on Friday. They outshot UNH 32-21 in that second win, went 2-for-4 on the power play, and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. It was a good weekend for Wisconsin to get things back on track, facing a weaker opponent from a different conference, and they definitely took advantage of the opportunity.
Harvard had a great first weekend of regular season play. They shut out Quinnipiac’s offense in a 2-0 win on Friday; Laura Bellamy made thirty saves to get the shutout. They crushed Princeton the following afternoon, winning 9-1 and outshooting the Tigers 49-17. The Crimson’s offense was a little lackluster against the Bobcats, but they clearly turned things up a few notches against Princeton.
Clarkson put on a real offensive show this weekend, beating Union 6-0 and then defeating Rensselaer 6-2. Many different players got on the scoresheet for the Golden Knights, which is definitely a good sign for them. They also outshot both of their opponents by a 2:1 ratio. It was a great all-around performance by Clarkson, and they did what they needed to do this weekend, getting two wins against weaker teams.
Northeastern’s offense looked more consistent this weekend, which is good, but they still have some kinks to work out. The Huskies skated to a 3-3 tie against Robert Morris on Friday and a 3-0 win over Maine on Saturday. They still need to figure out a way to create more consistent pressure, but they did much better in these past two games with getting opportunities and capitalizing on them.
Stars of the Week
1. Jillian Dempsey, Senior, Forward, Harvard: Had three goals and three assists this weekend to spark the Crimson’s offense and lead them to two victories.
2. Erin Ambrose, Freshman, Defense, Clarkson: Had a goal and five assists in two games this weekend for the Golden Knights. The rookie’s excellent two-way play this year has played a big role in Clarkson’s success this year.
3. Kendall Coyne, Sophomore, Forward, Northeastern: Had four goals in two games this weekend; she is the true catalyst of the Huskies’ offense, as she proved against Robert Morris and Maine.
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).