Current Rankings (Week 9):
- Boston College
- Boston University
- North Dakota
Match-up of the Week: Boston University 2, Harvard 1
The Terriers edged the Crimson in a tough defensive battle on Sunday at Walter Brown Arena. Although the game ended up being pretty even in most respects, each team took their turn dominating for stretches. Boston University got off to a very fast start, only giving up two shots on goal in the first period. They broke up most of Harvard’s advances for the first two periods. At times, they lost their own offensive flow, but the Terriers did a very solid job defensively. They’ve been pretty inconsistent in that area so far this season so if they can keep it up and continue to improve, it’ll be a big accomplishment for them.
The Crimson turned things around in the third period and came very close to tying it up. They got their lines rolling, started forechecking, and really pressured the BU defenders. They are not going to be a dazzling offensive team even when they’re at their very best, but with grit and effort, Harvard can still establish good pressure and fluidity. The good news for the Crimson is that their defense still looks very solid. The Terriers are a talented team, so it’s acceptable that they found a few holes in Harvard’s defense, but they still only registered 23 shots on goal, which is a definitely a win from the Crimson’s perspective.
Minnesota improved their record to 14-0-0 with a sweep of the Minnesota State Mavericks this weekend. The Mavericks actually kept Friday’s game pretty close, only losing by a score of 3-0 after freshman Hannah Brandt’s three-point performance. The Gophers came back Saturday and proceeded to blow Minnesota State out of the water, winning by a score of 9-1 and out-shooting the Mavericks 48-11. Congratulations are in order for Minnesota, as that 9-1 victory helped them secure their place in history. They broke the record for longest winning streak in history, stringing together 22 between the end of last season and the start of this one. The previous record of 21 consecutive wins belonged to Harvard’s 2008 team.
Cornell did very well this weekend against Colgate, scoring 18 goals total en route to a 9-0 victory on Friday and a 9-2 victory on Saturday. Forward Brianne Jenner and defenseman Laura Fortino were the stars offensively for the Big Red this weekend, but they received many contributions from all throughout their line-up; 16 different players got on the scoresheet in this series for Cornell. They are really starting to tap into their true potential, and they are easily the most formidable team in the country right now behind the seemingly-unstoppable Gophers.
In both games against Northeastern this weekend, Boston College jumped out to early multi-goal leads and rode them to victory. Slow starts have been a bit of an issue this year for the Huskies, and the Eagles definitely took advantage of that. On Friday, they earned a 4-0 lead in the first 15 minutes of the game and went on to win 6-4. On Sunday, they gained a 2-0 advantage in the first period. Northeastern proved to be ready for a fight, though, as they battled back in both contests. They dug themselves too deep of a hole on Friday to tie it, but they wound up erasing the deficit on Sunday and taking a 3-2 lead over the Eagles in the third period. Melissa Bizzari, who’s been red-hot as of late for Boston College, scored the game-tying goal as well as the game-winner for the Eagles with just 39 seconds remaining in the game. The fact that BC gave up both of those early leads is not a particularly good sign, but Northeastern has a lot of offensive talent on their roster so it’s nothing for them to get too worked up about.
North Dakota finally found their offense this weekend against Bemidji State. They swept the Beavers, starting with a 3-1 victory on Saturday. On Sunday, they exploded with a six-goal second period to capture a 7-3 win. The return of Michelle Karvinen certainly helped things along. The junior forward is now fourth on North Dakota’s roster in points after just a weekend of play, with six points in two games. On a more speculative note: it looks like UND has decided to just split the goaltending duties right now between Jorid Dagfinrud and Shelby Amsley-Benzie. Both have had some stretches of great play, but neither has made a really strong case for the starting job yet, so this seems like the smartest decision right now.
Clarkson went 2-for-2 in the win column this weekend with a 4-1 win over Quinnipiac and a 2-1 overtime win over Princeton. Jamie Lee Rattray’s hat trick powered the Golden Knights to victory against the Bobcats, who have proved to be a worthy opponent so far this year. Their defense, for the most part, stymied Quinnipiac’s offense, which isn’t an easy task with that forward core of Kelly Babstock, Erica Uden Johansson, and Nicole Kosta. Clarkson’s game against the Tigers was probably a little tighter than they would have wanted, but they still gutted out the win in overtime, showing that they are able to keep their composure in tough situations.
The series between Wisconsin and Ohio State was very even. It ended in a split, with Wisconsin taking the first game 4-2, and Ohio State taking the second 3-1. I expected the Badgers’ defense to win out and help give them an edge, even if it was just a slight one, but the Buckeyes have proven that their offense can-and will-definitely produce. One big plus for Wisconsin: their play in the third period of their 3-1 loss. They really pushed for a comeback after Ohio State had gained a 3-0 lead, and in that third period they out-shot the Buckeyes 17-8 and salvaged one goal. The Badgers need to build on that kind of effort and performance in these next few games.
Minnesota-Duluth swept St. Cloud State with a pair of 4-1 victories. It was a confidence-building weekend for them, as the Bulldogs put in solid performances both offensively and defensively. Eight goals in one weekend is nothing to sneeze at; they also limited the Huskies’ chances and goals. Unfortunately for UMD, their off-ice news this weekend was nowhere near as good as the on-ice news. They learned that star forward Audrey Cournoyer will have to retire from the game due to herniated discs in her lower back. She will end her career with 101 points in 116 games, 16th all-time for the Bulldogs.
Three Stars of the Week
1. Brianne Jenner, Junior, Forward, Cornell: Scored four goals and two assists in one game alone against Colgate and totaled six goals and nine points on the weekend.
2. Jocelyne Lamoureux, Senior, Forward, North Dakota: Has been decent all year but finally exploded offensively this weekend. She gathered three goals and four assists in North Dakota’s sweep of Bemidji State.
3. Jenelle Kohanchuk, Senior, Forward, Boston University: She might fly a little bit under the radar but she’s a huge part of the Terriers’ offense, and she proved that this weekend as she netted three goals and three assists in two games against Providence and Harvard.
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).