- Boston College
- North Dakota
- Boston University
Minnesota earned a big sweep over rival Wisconsin this weekend with a 2-1 win and 2-0 win, but there are still some things they need to work on. Though the Badgers only scored one goal in two games, they actually outshot the Gophers 62-56 on the weekend. Minnesota did a good job taking care of second- and third-chance opportunities, but at the same time, there were a lot of those to be had, and eventually someone is going to take advantage of that even if Wisconsin couldn’t. On the plus side, despite some inconsistencies the Gophers seem to have retained their killer instinct from last year, outshooting the Badgers 26-10 in the third period with both tie-breaking game-winners coming in the final frame.
Boston College also earned a sweep with 5-2 and 2-1 wins over St. Lawrence. The Eagles’ offense is making a nice transition so far this year, and Haley Skarupa has been the biggest reason for that. The sophomore forward has been lights out, dominating play and scoring goals while making a difference in all situations-two of her five goals this season have come on the penalty kill. Also, freshman forward Andie Anastos has had no issues playing a top-six role so far. That second game against the Saints was uncomfortably tight for Boston College, but St. Lawrence is a tough team that can skate with almost anyone when they get going. Overall they’ll be looking for more consistent defensive play, but it’s been pretty positive so far for the Eagles.
Clarkson continues to roll after a 2-1 victory over Syracuse on Friday and a 4-0 win on Saturday. Everything is clicking right now for the Golden Knights. They’re getting plenty of production out of their top players, and their defense has been very good so far. Goaltender Erica Howe hasn’t faced more than 27 shots in a game yet this year, and though she’s been playing well too, it really speaks to the depth of Clarkson’s blue line and team as a whole.
North Dakota had a big weekend, earning five of six WCHA points as they beat Minnesota-Duluth 4-3 on Saturday and tied the Bulldogs 3-3 on Sunday and won the ensuing shootout. UND still has to shore some things up defensively with a young defensive corps, but for the most part they did a good job of moving the puck and controlling play. They’re finding ways to score goals in order to win (they erased deficits in the third period of both games) and their offense has been pretty spread out. However, North Dakota was 0-for-11 on the power play this weekend, so they’ll need to improve in that area.
Unfortunately for Wisconsin, they came away with nothing to show for what I thought was a really good effort against the Gophers. Their execution has got to be better, especially from their top players. They’re not going to have much of a chance to win against teams of a high caliber when Brittany Ammerman, Madison Packer, Karley Sylvester, and Blayre Turnbull all go without a point on the weekend. But the Badgers did a good job of skating with Minnesota for much of the series, and dominated play for long stretches. They were very good defensively too, holding Hannah Brandt, Maryanne Menefee, and Rachael Bona to a goal and two points combined all weekend.
Boston University had a bit of a slow start to the season as they tied Rensselaer 2-2 and were out-shot by the Engineers, 36-28. They rebounded on Saturday with a 3-2 overtime win over Union, putting up 48 shots in the victory. I’d expect the Terriers’ offense to be as up-and-down as that all season, but it was important for them not to start off the year with a loss in their very first weekend of play. A positive from the weekend: the line of Rebecca Russo, Jordan Juron, and Dakota Woodworth looks able to provide decent production, even if they won’t be able to fully replace the scoring Boston University lost from last year.
After beating Providence 5-0 on Saturday, Mercyhurst could not complete the sweep and fell to the Friars 3-2 on Sunday. Despite splitting, I thought it was a good performance by the Lakers on the road. Their special teams were pretty impressive, which is always a good sign; they scored three power play goals and a shorthanded goal in their win, and killed off 14 of 15 Providence power plays. Mercyhurst was the dominant team even in their loss, out-shooting the Friars 49-23, and by a whopping 25-7 margin in the third period. Inconsistency is still an issue, especially in their own end, but I’m not ready to give up on the Lakers after this weekend.
Minnesota-Duluth had a tough weekend in Grand Forks, entering the third period with the lead in both games and unable to come away with a win in either contest. Though their top line got good looks all series, the team as a whole had a tough time containing North Dakota’s attack and sustaining consistent pressure. Kayla Black was very solid in net, and Jenna McParland was also a big positive as she was stellar all weekend. She does everything for the Bulldogs, and does it well. Minnesota-Duluth is a talented squad, especially within their top-six, but they need to put the pieces together in order to play more dominant hockey.
In the News
This week’s headlines from around the women’s hockey world
- 14-year-old Marianne Mahoney, who suffers from spina bifida, was paired with Northeastern’s women’s ice hockey team as an honorary team player thanks to a Boston-based non-profit organization called Team IMPACT. Said senior forward Kelly Wallace: “When we’re out there in the third period and we’re tired, [Mahoney’s] going to be the one that pushes us through because of her strength and her determination and her courage.” Story from Boston.com.
- UWBadgers.com has a really nice story on junior forward Brittany Ammerman becoming an advocate for women’s health. Ammerman is double majoring in biology and women’s studies while being a generally awesome player on the ice as well.
- A nice feature from USAHockey.com on women’s national team forward Alex Carpenter, who’s vying for a spot on the Olympic team.
- And another feature from USAHockey.com on 16-year-old defenseman Jincy Dunne, who’s also vying for a roster spot; if she makes the cut, she’ll be the youngest player ever to suit up for the United States.
- A piece from the Boston Globe on Boston University’s Kerrin Sperry, a senior goaltender for the Terriers who finished her undergraduate degree a year early and is also in the Army ROTC program.
- The New England Hockey Journal’s Kat Hasenauer Cornetta has a good story on Vermont goalie Roxanne Douville, second-year head coach Jim Plumer, and where the Catamounts’ program as a whole stands right now.
- The U.S. and Canadian women faced off in an exhibition game on Saturday night in Burlington, Vt. Canada won 3-2, but things got a little heated after Team USA’s Monique Lamoureux clipped Canadian netminder Shannon Szabados as she drove hard to the net.
- This past weekend was the third annual World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend, and IIHF.com had plenty of coverage of events in 31 different countries.
- Wisconsin senior forward Madison Packer recaps the Badgers’ weekend at Minnesota in her blog, “Packer’s Perspective”.
- When her aggressive play isn’t starting line brawls, U.S. national team forward Monique Lamoureux is busy filming episodes of “We Are USA”, which is a great inside look at the team. The latest episode is a music video performed by members of Team USA.
- Just in case you lost count, Minnesota’s NCAA record win streak is now at 53 games, which really just defies logic at this point.
Three Stars of the Week
1. Carly Mercer, Senior, Forward, Clarkson: The Golden Knights’ captain has been excellent so far this season, and scored three goals and five points in the team’s home-and-home series against Syracuse.
2. Lara Stalder, Freshman, Defense, Minnesota-Duluth: The first-year defenseman from the Swiss national team was heavily involved at both ends of the rink for the Bulldogs, scoring a goal and adding four assists while playing top-pairing minutes.
3. Sarah Bryant, Sophomore, Goaltender, Providence: She rebounded from a bad performance on Saturday to stop 47 of 49 pucks on Sunday and help the Friars to a big win over Mercyhurst. They’re going to need above-average play from her if they want to be competitive this season.
Play of the Week
Minnesota defenseman Milica McMillen’s game-winner on Friday night:
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).