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Women’s D-I picks: Oct. 24

Despite the fact that we picked five games differently last week, both Arlan and I went 14-5-2 (.714) to move to 43-9-10 (.774). This week, we’re picking almost every game, so let’s see how we can do.

Friday, Oct. 24

Quinnipiac at New Hampshire
Candace: This will be a tight game. Quinnipiac has struggled to score, not a good characteristic against New Hampshire, but the Bobcats should prevail. Quinnipiac 2-0
Arlan: UNH becomes the second team to score against the Bobcats. Quinnipiac 3-1

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 24-25

Boston University at Maine
Candace: The Terriers looked terrific last week in sweeping Clarkson. Boston University 5-1, 4-1
Arlan: Maine has only scored in one of its last five games. Boston University 4-1, 3-0

Wisconsin at Bemidji State
Candace: Both teams were perfect entering last weekend, and both got swept. Wisconsin should get back on a roll. Wisconsin 5-1, 4-1
Arlan: The Badgers were perfect in the Sanford Center until losing to North Dakota in the WCHA Final Face-Off. Wisconsin 6-1, 4-0

North Dakota at Minnesota
Candace: After last weekend, where I picked a Wisconsin sweep, I’m never betting against Minnesota again. Minnesota 4-2, 4-1
Arlan: UND plays the Gophers as well as anyone, but picking them to lose is as risky as predicting a tie. Minnesota 4-1, 2-1

Cornell at Boston College
Candace: If this wasn’t the Big Red’s first series of the year, I’d be more tempted to pick a split. I think the scoreboard operator will be kept busy. Boston College 5-3, 6-4
Arlan: These look to be high-scoring affairs, which means they’ll probably wind up 2-1. Boston College 6-4, 4-3

RIT at Brown
Candace: RIT has had a difficult time with offense, but I have to think the Tigers will sweep. RIT 2-1, 2-1
Arlan: The Bears struggled to score last year, but they did split in Rochester. RIT 2-0, 2-1

Syracuse vs. Clarkson (home and home)
Candace: Clarkson fell back to Earth last week. Can they get on a roll again? Clarkson 3-1, 3-2
Arlan: With Halloween approaching, Orange ties are all the rage, but that trend will end in Potsdam. Clarkson 3-1, 3-2

Minnesota State at Mercyhurst
Candace: The Lakers showed a brief chink last week, but I don’t think the Mavericks have enough to crack it open wider. Mercyhurst 4-1, 4-2
Arlan: The Mavericks are just too young to back up their upset of last year. Mercyhurst 5-1, 2-0

Yale vs. Providence (home and home)
Candace: Providence will keep scoring, but I think the Friars first wins are a few weeks off. Yale 3-1, 3-2
Arlan: The Friars didn’t win last week, but they did finally score a few times. Yale 2-1, 4-0

Northeastern at Robert Morris
Candace: RMU’s spiral continues, even though the Colonials are at home. Northeastern 3-1, 4-2
Arlan: The Colonials have been more consistent than the Huskies this year, but not in a good way. Northeastern 5-2, 3-1

Union at Vermont
Candace: Vermont hasn’t been able to string together two wins yet, but I think it finally happens this week. Vermont 3-1, 3-2
Arlan: Vermont has had trouble playing two strong games on a weekend. Vermont 4-1, 1-0

Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 25-26

Connecticut at Rensselaer
Candace: A tie in one of these wouldn’t surprise me, but I’m going for a Huskies sweep. Connecticut 3-1, 2-1
Arlan: Dating to last season, the Engineers haven’t won in their last 15 games. Connecticut 2-1, 2-1

Sunday, Oct. 26

New Hampshire at Dartmouth
Candace: I’m throwing darts in this game, so I’ll pick the school that begins with the same four letters. Dartmouth 3-2
Arlan: Dartmouth’s exhibition result versus McGill was encouraging, but this is its first NCAA game. New Hampshire 2-1

Sunday-Monday, Oct. 26-27

Princeton at Penn State
Candace: Penn State surprised me last week against Union, but I think Princeton is at a higher level. Princeton 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: I think one of these games will be a tie, which is not pickable. Princeton 3-2, 4-2

Tuesday, Oct. 28

St. Lawrence at Clarkson
Candace: I got burned picking a Clarkson sweep in the first weekend of the year, but I’m going with home ice and hoping for the best. Clarkson 2-1
Arlan: If results versus Boston teams are indicative, then the Saints have improved more since opening weekend. St. Lawrence 3-2

Northeastern at Boston University
Candace: A big game for both squads. I’m picking home ice. Boston University 4-2
Arlan: Northeastern has enjoyed Tuesday night success versus the Terriers, but only in Beanpots. Boston University 5-3

Women’s D-I wrap: Oct. 19

Gophers continue to vex Badgers
No. 2 Minnesota found itself in the unfamiliar role of underdog as it traveled to Madison to meet No. 1 Wisconsin. The rest of the weekend followed recent tradition: the Gophers came home with vastly different victories, 4-1 and 2-1.

On Friday, the Badgers received a reminder of the intensity that a top-ranked team can expect from its opponent. Hannah Brandt set the tone early on the penalty kill, capitalizing on a Wisconsin fumble at the point and scoring low to the glove side on the resulting breakaway. Karley Sylvester tied the game at one just after that power play ended, but Dani Cameranesi wrested control back for the visitors 70 seconds later, taking advantage of an ill-timed line change and picking a corner high on the glove side. Cameranesi netted the rebound of her own power-play deflection in the last second of the opening period, and she completed the scoring and her pure hat trick with 40 seconds to go in the middle frame by steering a cross-crease feed behind the goalie.

Wisconsin took its only lead of the series when Sarah Nurse buried a rebound during a second-period power play on Saturday. Ann-Renée Desbiens did her best to make that lead stand up, finishing with 33 saves, but Rachael Bona sniped the top corner on Desbiens’ blocker side on a power play with 88 seconds left in regulation. The Badgers nearly overcame the heroics of Amanda Leveille, who made 40 stops for the Gophers, when Sydney McKibbon hit a pipe in overtime, but Rachel Ramsey picked off a Wisconsin pass at neutral ice and finished off a three-way effort with Brandt and Cameranesi.

Terriers sweep Golden Knights
In another top-10 battle, No. 6 Boston University swept defending champion and No. 7 Clarkson, 3-1 and 5-2, in Potsdam. The Terriers got goals from Dakota Woodworth, Marie-Philip Poulin, and Sarah Lefort, while only Erin Ambrose could counter for the hosts on Friday. Victoria Hanson got the win by making 19 saves.

In Saturday’s rematch, Poulin scored 50 seconds in, Rebecca Leslie doubled the lead three minutes later, and Victoria Bach made it 3-0 by intermission. The Golden Knights could only trade goals the rest of the way, with Poulin’s second of the day into an empty net sealing the win.

End of perfection
Bemidji State, along with Wisconsin, entered the weekend with perfect records, but the Beavers also found themselves on the wrong end of a sweep. Summer Thibodeau scored the first goal of the series halfway through the first period at Ohio State, but BSU’s offense disappeared thereafter. Julia McKinnon had a hat trick and Kendall Curtis netted a pair of goals for the Buckeyes in a 5-1 victory on Friday. Danielle Gagne scored the game’s only goal on Saturday, and that was all OSU needed thanks to a 15-save shutout from Kassidy Sauve.

Strange streak
It’s common in sports to say that a team can beat anybody, or conversely, can’t beat anyone. Syracuse is out to prove that it can tie anyone. The Orange made it four straight ties versus four different Hockey East opponents.

On Saturday, they skated to a 3-3 tie with Providence. Like serves in a tennis tiebreaker, the visiting Friars scored once, the Orange responded with two goals, Providence netted two, and Syracuse got the equalizer. The top line for the Orange carried the scoring load; Melissa Piacentini scored twice, Allie LaCombe scored and assisted, and Jessica Sibley helped on all three. Cassidy Carels, Lexi Romanchuk, and Beth Hanrahan became the first Friars to find the net on the season.

Syracuse scored the first and last goals in a 2-2 tie with Connecticut on Sunday that delivered a little more drama. The Orange outshot UConn, 14-1, in the third stanza as they sought the tying goal, which finally came from Sibley with an extra attacker on the ice and one second left. They continued to dominate that shot chart in OT at a five-to-zero clip, but they couldn’t get a third puck by Annie Belanger, who finished with 37 saves.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 8 Mercyhurst salvaged a split with visiting Northeastern. Three points by Kendall Coyne, a goal and an assist for freshman defenseman Ainsley MacMillan, as well as goals from Lauren Kelly and Paige Savage supported a 26-save shutout for Chloé Desjardins in Friday’s 4-0 victory for the Huskies. On Saturday, the Lakers twice took leads only to have Northeastern answer, but when Jaclyn Arbour put Mercyhurst ahead, 3-2, with under five minutes to go, the Huskies could not respond. Emily Janiga added an empty-net goal for the final 4-2 margin. Kelly scored her second goal in as many days for the guests.

Offense was at a premium as No. 10 North Dakota hosted Minnesota-Duluth. The Bulldogs scored the first goal both days. UND goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie came far out of her net to play the puck in Friday’s second period and was wiped out by an attacker; Jenna McParland took advantage and hit the open goal. Samantha Hanson evened the score in the third period, and with the teams skating four on four in OT, Sam LaShomb won a battle for position in front of the net and banged in a centering feed by Becca Kohler for a 2-1 win. Meghan Huertas’ power-play goal with seven minutes remaining was the only tally in the Bulldogs’ 1-0 triumph on Saturday. Beyond that, the goaltenders had the best of it. Amsley-Benzie made 56 saves in the series, and UMD’s Kayla Black had 47, including 16 in her shutout.

Alex Carpenter and Lexi Bender each had a goal and an assist, and Katie Burt made 21 saves to record her first shutout as No. 4 Boston College blanked New Hampshire, 4-0.

No. 9 Quinnipiac dominated Maine territorially, if not on the scoreboard, in sweeping the Black Bears, 4-0 and 2-0. Chelsea Laden has four starts, all shutouts, but has only needed to make 39 saves total for the season and just seven on Saturday. Rookie Taylar Cianfarano had a three-goal weekend.

No. 5 Cornell is poised to kick off its season Friday at BC, while outside of an exhibition game, No. 4 Harvard is waiting for Halloween.

Other results
RIT split a couple of low-scoring affairs at Vermont, dropping a 2-1 decision on Saturday, and then bouncing back with a 2-0 win as Ali Binnington made 27 saves.

Colgate split a pair of 2-1 verdicts, falling to Connecticut before defeating Providence. Emily Snodgrass had both goals in the Huskies’ win and totaled three tallies for the weekend.

St. Lawrence added to the woes of Robert Morris, beating the Colonials by 8-2 and 3-1 margins. Six Saints had multi-point games in the opener, led by Jenna Marks with three points, and Kirsten Padalis had a three-point effort of her own in game two.

Penn State got the best of a series at Union, winning by a 4-1 count Friday and earning a 2-2 tie Saturday. Amy Petersen scored in both games for the Nittany Lions.

Two points from Haley Breedlove helped New Hampshire to a 2-1 victory over Rensselaer.

St. Cloud State took the road half of a home-and-home series from Minnesota State, 5-1, and followed it with a shootout win after a 1-1 tie. Audrey Hanmer scored twice in a 54-shot barrage in the opener, and short-handed markers by Natalie Stoltz of the Mavericks and Molly Illikainen offset in the tie.

Women’s D-I picks: Oct. 17

Well, thanks to a tie between New Hampshire and Syracuse, Arlan and I both went 12-2-8 (.727), moving to 29-4-8 (.804) on the year. There are some big series this weekend, especially out west, so let’s see how we can do.

Friday, Oct. 17

Rensselaer at New Hampshire
Candace: RPI hasn’t won yet, but New Hampshire isn’t exactly lighting things up either. New Hampshire 2-1
Arlan: Was the tie at Vermont a sign of progress for RPI, or just as good as it is going to get? New Hampshire 2-1

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 17-18

Minnesota-Duluth at North Dakota
Candace: I’ll pick a split and hope I’m right. North Dakota 3-1, Minnesota-Duluth 3-2
Arlan: I expect a split; I’ll leave it to Candace to figure out the order. North Dakota 4-3, 2-1

Bemidji State at Ohio State
Candace: Are the Beavers for real? This is likely a split, but I’m not sure which night. Bemidji State 2-1, 3-1
Arlan: The home team? The hotter team? A little of each? Ohio State 3-1, Bemidji State 4-2

Minnesota at Wisconsin
Candace: Just to be contrary, and because I’m not sure which night Wisconsin will win, I’ll pick the Badgers to sweep. Wisconsin 2-1, 3-2
Arlan: The only Wisconsin coach to ever sweep the Gophers in Madison? You guessed it — Tracey DeKeyser. Wisconsin 3-1, Minnesota 2-1

Boston University at Clarkson
Candace: Both teams have shown they can score, though Clarkson has been better defensively. Can the Golden Knights keep Poulin and Lefort in check? Boston University 3-2, 3-2
Arlan: Another split, but I have zero idea about the order. Boston University 3-2, 4-2

Northeastern at Mercyhurst
Candace: I think the Huskies should win at least one of these, though who knows which. Mercyhurst 2-1, 2-1
Arlan: A month ago, I’d have leaned the other way. Mercyhurst 2-1, 3-2

Maine at Quinnipiac
Candace: Can the Bobcats score on Maine’s stingy defense? Probably just enough. Quinnipiac 2-0, 2-1
Arlan: Two ties wouldn’t shock me. Quinnipiac 1-0, 2-1

Robert Morris at St. Lawrence
Candace: If this was at the beginning of the year, I’d pick differently. St. Lawrence 2-1, 3-2
Arlan: Robert Morris could be playing anyone from Team Canada to some popsicles, and I still wouldn’t feel sure about my pick no matter which way I went. St. Lawrence 3-1, 1-0

Penn State at Union
Candace: So far, if Penn State scores, it is undefeated. Union 2-0, 1-0
Arlan: I’m not convinced that Union can score enough to sweep a series. Union 2-1, Penn State 2-0

Saturday, Oct. 18

Connecticut at Colgate
Candace: This is the first home game for the Raiders, but I think the Huskies will prevail. Connecticut 3-2
Arlan: So far, the Huskies either score four goals or none. Colgate 2-0

Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 18-19

RIT at Vermont
Candace: I think a split is very likely. Vermont 3-2, RIT 2-1
Arlan: Vermont’s early results don’t follow any logical theories. Vermont 2-1, RIT 2-1

Sunday, Oct. 19

Boston College at New Hampshire
Candace: UNH can’t win this came three years in a row, can it? Boston College 4-1
Arlan: The big ice would seem to help the Eagles more than the hosts. Boston College 4-2

Connecticut at Syracuse
Candace: I think Syracuse will edge a road-weary Huskies squad. Syracuse 2-1
Arlan: Among nonconference opponents last year, the Orange only lost to Clarkson and Cornell at home. Syracuse 2-1

Weekend wrap: 10/12

Competition tightens up
The 28 teams that don’t belong to the Ivy League have played between two and six games apiece, and only two of them still have perfect records. One of those teams, No. 2 Wisconsin looks destined for the top spot in the poll after throttling Ohio State by a 9-0 composite in two games to improve to 6-0-0.

The Badgers got two goals from Brittany Ammerman and three points by Blayre Turnbull and Annie Pankowski in winning on Friday, 6-0. Ammerman added two more tallies in Sunday’s 3-0 whitewashing, and Ann-Renée Desbiens made 47 saves on the weekend to notch both shutouts.

OT solves nothing
Eight games were tied after regulation, and in each case, the deadlock remained after the five-minute overtime. Four ties involved an unranked team salvaging something from a home series with a ranked opponent that had defeated it the previous day.

Minnesota-Duluth took a two-goal lead on No. 1 Minnesota when freshman Michelle Löwenhielm scored early in the third period on Saturday, but the Gophers came back to tie with five minutes to go in regulation on Hannah Brandt’s fourth goal of the series. The Bulldogs won the WCHA shootout to gain an extra standings point. Dani Cameranesi had a point on each Minnesota goal in Friday’s 3-0 victory, and Amanda Leveille made 26 saves.

St. Lawrence slowed down the high-flying Eagles enough to tie No. 3 Boston College, 2-2, on senior Amanda Boulier’s goal with 4:08 left in the third period. Haley Skarupa and Andie Anastos had scored in the second period to put BC ahead after the Saints’ Kayla Raniwsky opened the scoring 10:57 into the game. Carmen MacDonald made 32 saves for SLU, after she stopped 41 shots in the Eagles’ 2-1 win on Friday. Alex Carpenter had a goal and an assist to lead the BC triumph.

Maine got a 39-save effort from Mariah Fujimagari to tie No. 7 Mercyhurst, 2-2. The Lakers needed a goal by Emily Janiga, her second of the game, with under five minutes in regulation to halve the contest. Jennifer More and Audra Richards scored for the Black Bears. On Friday, 41 saves by Maine goalie Meghann Treacy weren’t enough, as rookie Sarah Robello’s first goal as a Laker provided the 1-0 margin, and Amanda Makela turned in her third-straight shutout.

On Sunday, Penn State gained a 1-1 tie with No. 8 Quinnipiac on Amy Peterson’s third-period goal, answering an earlier short-handed effort by Shiann Darkangelo. The game matched the Bobcats’ Sydney Rossman and Hannah Ehresmann for the Nittany Lions, both former teammates of Peterson at Minnetonka (Minn.) High School; Ehresmann had the far-busier afternoon, called on for 45 saves. The tie was PSU’s best result versus a ranked team in its brief history. Quinnipiac had enjoyed an easier time in winning, 3-0, on Saturday. Taylar Cianfarano and Cydney Roesler had a goal plus an assist and Nicole Kosta contributed two helpers, while Chelsea Laden needed only 10 saves to earn the shutout.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 9 Clarkson and No. 10 North Dakota gained road sweeps, while No. 4 Harvard, No. 5 Cornell, and No. 6 Boston University were idle beyond an exhibition for the Terriers.

The Golden Knights blanked Providence twice, 5-0 and 3-0, with Shea Tiley stopping all 36 shots she faced. The Friars have yet to score in four defeats. Cayley Mercer and Geneviève Bannon had three-goal weekends.

Meghan Dufault’s hat trick and four assists from Becca Kohler highlighted UND’s 5-0 win at Minnesota State, as Shelby Amsley-Benzie made 15 saves. Elin Johansson gave the Mavericks a 1-0 lead on Saturday on one of only nine MSU shots in the contest. The 47 saves turned in by Brianna Quade at the other end were ultimately not enough, as North Dakota got power-play goals by Kohler, late in the second period, and Amy Menke, midway through the third, to take a 2-1 verdict.

Save the puck!
Three coaches claimed their first wins with their current teams. St. Cloud State’s Eric Rud and Lindenwood’s Scott Spencer did so at each other’s expense. Rud’s Huskies took the series opener, 2-0. Lexi Slattery and Payge Pena were the only players to beat the Lions’ Nicole Hensley in 47 shots, and Julie Friend made 27 stops to get the shutout. Spencer got even on Saturday, 5-3, with a balanced attack that included five different goal scorers and 10 players with at least a point. Amanda Arbogast scored twice in the losing effort.

Hilary Witt got win number one at New Hampshire over RIT, 1-0, with a short-hander by Jonna Curtis proving decisive thanks to 32 saves by Vilma Vaattovaara. Curtis scored the tying goal the next day at Syracuse against former teammate Jenn Gilligan. Gilligan stopped 30 shots for the Orange, who got goals from Nicole Renault and Stephanie Grossi, with Vaattovaara denying 38 shots in the 2-2 draw. Amy Boucher had the other marker for the Wildcats.

Haven’t won, haven’t lost
Northeastern debuted by visiting the same two cities and tied Syracuse, 1-1, and RIT, 2-2. Against the Orange, Kendall Coyne’s goal matched an earlier one by Alysha Burriss. In Rochester, Hayley Masters and McKenna Brand put the Huskies up by two, but Christa Vulgar pulled the Tigers within one and Darcy Henderson notched an extra-attacker goal with 33 seconds left.

Other action
Colgate took the first game at Robert Morris, 6-3, with Miriam Drubel and Megan Sullivan netting a pair. The Colonials bounced back with a 2-1 win, backed by a 37-save effort by Courtney Vinet.

Connecticut won the opener from Union, 4-2, but the Dutchwomen responded with a 33-save shutout by Shenae Lundberg to win, 1-0, as Christine Valente scored.

Vermont claimed a 4-2 decision from Rensselaer as Brittany Zuback and Amanda Pelkey accounted for the goals. Bridget Baker’s second goal of the day allowed the Catamounts to tie the Engineers, 2-2, in the series finale.

Women’s D-I picks: Oct. 10

Well, after one week, Arlan and I are tied. We both went 17-3 (.850), a pretty good start to the year, and no, we didn’t pick the games all the same. Let’s see how we can do this week.

Friday, Oct. 10

New Hampshire at RIT
Candace: I think RIT keeps up a good start and holds off a determined UNH squad. RIT 2-1
Arlan: Last season, the Tigers defeated the Wildcats, 3-2, in a game that feels like forever ago. RIT 1-0

Northeastern at Syracuse
Candace: The Orange got crushed last weekend against another Hockey East squad, and while the Huskies won’t score as many, they should win convincingly. Northeastern 5-2
Arlan: The Orange struggled versus speed last week, and now here comes Kendall Coyne. Northeastern 4-1

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 10-11

North Dakota at Minnesota State University-Mankato
Candace: North Dakota showed a little vulnerability last weekend, but I think they get off to a good start in conference play. North Dakota 3-2, 4-2
Arlan: Many of the Mavericks are as green as the UND jerseys. North Dakota 5-0, 3-1

Minnesota at Minnesota-Duluth
Candace: This is in Duluth, so at least one game will be close, but Minnesota continues its mastery. Minnesota 4-1, 3-2
Arlan: The Bulldogs stayed with the Gophers most of the way in the teams’ last meeting in the WCHA tourney. Minnesota 2-1, 4-2

Mercyhurst at Maine
Candace: Maine has played well so far, but hasn’t faced an opponent of the caliber of the Lakers. Mercyhurst 3-1, 4-2
Arlan: Maine could present a danger if the Lakers are peeking ahead to Northeastern. Mercyhurst 2-1, 3-1

Boston College at St. Lawrence
Candace: I don’t think BC will rack up quite as many goals as in its last outing, but I don’t see the Saints beating them either. Boston College 5-3, 6-3
Arlan: The Saints are willing to skate with most teams, but they may need to rein this one in a bit. Boston College 8-4, 3-1

Connecticut at Union
Candace: These should be low-scoring games. Union only scored one in its first two games, and Connecticut hasn’t scored since the tie with Minnesota-Duluth. I’d like to think home ice is worth something, but the Huskies prevail. Connecticut 2-1, 2-0
Arlan: These teams play very tight games, and Union has won each of the last two years. Connecticut 2-1, 1-0

Friday and Sunday, Oct. 10 and 12

Ohio State at Wisconsin
Candace: Wisconsin is going to be a tough out for anybody this season. Wisconsin 5-2, 5-1
Arlan: Tough road debut for the Buckeyes’ goaltenders. Wisconsin 6-1, 5-2

Saturday, Oct. 11

Northeastern at RIT
Candace: This is one I wish I could watch. I’m tempted to pick RIT, and if Kendall Coyne wasn’t on Northeastern, I would. Northeastern 3-2
Arlan: This has the potential to be one of the best games of the weekend. Northeastern 2-1

New Hampshire at Syracuse
Candace: The Wildcats have to win at some point, and I can’t pick every game the same as Arlan, though I’m tempted to. New Hampshire 2-1
Arlan: If this game was in Durham, I’d expect a different outcome. Syracuse 2-1

Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 11-12

Clarkson at Providence
Candace: Clarkson may have found a goaltender last weekend. Clarkson 3-1, 4-3
Arlan: Allie Morse allowing only two goals per game with a .918 save percentage at Mercyhurst was a positive sign for the Friars. Clarkson 2-1, 3-1

Quinnipiac at Penn State
Candace: Penn State got a good win last weekend against St. Cloud, but the Bobcats are a tougher team. Quinnipiac 3-1, 5-1
Arlan: The Bobcats are effective at limiting the offense of most teams. Quinnipiac 3-1, 4-1

Vermont home-and-home versus Rensselaer
Candace: Rensselaer looks to have trouble scoring goals. Vermont 3-1, 4-1
Arlan: Based on results in Bemidji, these teams are even, but the games in Grand Forks suggest they are not. Vermont 3-2, 4-1

Weekend wrap: Oct. 5

Contenders flex muscle
The scoreboard operators at Conte Forum better be ready this season, because No. 3 Boston College will require that constant changes be made. The Eagles made sure there would be no repeat of last year’s mystifying loss to Syracuse. After the teams traded goals on power plays in the opening minutes, BC scored the next five goals and breezed to a 10-2 romp. Senior defenseman Emily Pfalzer had six points, blue line partner Lexi Bender recorded a hat trick, while Alex Carpenter and Haley Skarupa netted a pair.

No. 10 Minnesota-Duluth’s Kayla Black held off No. 2 Wisconsin for 35 minutes, but Badgers’ rookie Emily Clark finally beat her twice and Brittany Ammerman and Courtney Burke added empty-net goals in a 4-1 win on the road. Wisconsin completed the sweep with a routine 6-2 win on Saturday. Zoe Hickel gave UMD a 1-0 lead, but the Badgers scored twice late in the first frame as part of a five-goal run. Sarah Nurse and Blayre Turnbull had two-goal games. Ann-Renée Desbiens earned her first two wins of the season.

Fortunes vary for new coaches
Four teams have new coaches this season, and so far, they’ve experienced either feast or famine.

For Jim Scanlan at Bemidji State, it has been all good news. After opening with a road sweep at Robert Morris, the Beavers took care of home ice at the expense of Rensselaer, 4-0, and Vermont, 4-0. It has been a team effort for Scanlan’s charges. Freshman Erin Deters and sophomore Brittni Mowat backstopped shutouts to improve their personal records to 2-0 on the year. Eight different Beavers scored on the weekend. For the season, 11 have found the net, led by three from Stephanie Anderson, and 17 have contributed points, where Megan Lushanko is tops with five.

Meanwhile, Scott Spencer at Lindenwood, Hilary Witt at New Hampshire, and Eric Rud at St. Cloud State are still looking for a first victory in their new jobs. Lindenwood was idle this weekend, but the other two teams suffered sweeps.

UNH took different routes to a pair of one-goal losses at Ohio State. Claudia Kepler’s goal at 5:06 of the second period, assisted by Kendall Curtis and Bryanna Neuwald, stood up for a 1-0 Buckeyes win. Freshman Kassidy Sauve made 24 stops to notch her first shutout. On Saturday, Danielle Gagne, Kayla Sullivan, and Alexa Ranahan scored as OSU cruised to a 3-0 lead. The Wildcats turned the game around when Cassandra Vilgrain and Jonna Curtis answered in the second period and Amy Boucher tied it up 7:10 into the third period. However, Kepler struck with 32 seconds remaining to lift the Buckeyes to a 4-3 triumph, her second game-winning goal in as many days.

Rud’s Huskies opened with a pair of neutral-site games in Minneapolis, dropping decisions to No. 6 Boston University, 5-2, and Penn State, 3-2. Although badly outplayed for much of Friday’s game, St. Cloud State drew even at 2-2 when Providence transfer Molly Illikainen stuffed in a wraparound goal 6:32 into the third period. That revived the Huskies, who skated with the Terriers for several minutes and nearly edged ahead when a shot kissed metal, but BU gained the advantage with just over five minutes to go. Rebecca Russo flew around the defense to score, SCSU sagged, and Marie-Philip Poulin and Victoria Bach added insurance. Payge Pena gave the Huskies a 2-1 lead halfway through their game with Penn State, but they immediately committed a penalty, and Shannon Yoxheimer tied the game a minute into the power play. Yoxheimer added the difference maker in the third period for the Nittany Lions to make a winner of Hannah Ehresmann in her NCAA debut.

NCAA rematch
No. 1 Minnesota eliminated Boston University in each of the last two NCAA tournaments, and on Saturday, the Gophers got the best of the Terriers once more, 5-2. BU got a couple of rebound goals from newcomer Rebecca Leslie. After her first tally tied the game, 1-1, early in the second period, Minnesota killed off 68 seconds of five-on-three, took the lead on a Hannah Brandt redirection, and capitalized on its own five-on-three advantage with two goals to seize control of the game. The Gophers opened their season with an 8-0 shutout of Penn State. For the weekend, Meghan Lorence and Milica McMillen had three goals, and freshman Cara Piazza scored in both contests.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 9 Mercyhurst didn’t surrender a goal in sweeping Providence, 3-0 and 2-0. Amanda Makela needed 37 saves to grab the early lead in shutouts. Juniors Emily Janiga and Jenna Dingeldein jumped to the team scoring lead with four and three points respectively.

No. 7 Clarkson split a home-and-home series with St. Lawrence. After the Golden Knights came from two down to tie the opener in Canton, Jessica Hon scored late in the third and Kailee Heidersbach hit an empty net to give the Saints a 5-3 win. Brooke Webster scored twice for SLU, and Shannon MacAulay did the same for Clarkson. The next night in Potsdam, Erin Ambrose decided the game with a later power-play goal after Amanda Titus and Webster had traded goals. Freshman Shea Tiley got her first college win in the Knights’ 2-1 victory.

No. 8 North Dakota handled Rensselaer comfortably, 7-1, thanks to a hat trick from junior Becca Kohler and the first two goals of sophomore Marissa Salo’s career. The going got tougher on Saturday when Vermont came to Grand Forks and claimed a 3-1 win that included two goals from Cassidy Campeau and 29 saves by Madison Litchfield.

No. 10 Quinnipiac stifled Connecticut, 3-0, outshooting the Huskies, 36-9. Chelsea Laden earned the win and Nicole Brown, Nicole Connery, and rookie Taylar Cianfarano supplied the offense.

Other action
Robert Morris dropped its third straight, falling at Maine, 3-2, on Victoria Hummel’s tally 1:11 into overtime. The Colonials finally got in the win column the next day courtesy of Courtney Vinet’s 18-save shutout and Rikki Meilleur’s third-period goal.

Ali Binnington bested Shenae Lundberg in RIT’s home sweep of Union by 2-1 and 2-0 scores. Four different Tigers scored the goals, and four had two-point weekends. The shutout was Binnington’s 15th for RIT.

Syracuse started the week’s action with a 2-1 win over Colgate. Goals by Eleanor Haines and Julie Knerr outweighed the first goal of Breanne Wilson-Bennett for the Raiders. UNH transfer Jenn Gilligan recorded her first win for the Orange.

Women’s D-I picks: Oct. 3

Well, after winning the first two years of our friendly wager on the picks contest, Arlan finally beat me out last year, getting the six pack of beer that goes along with it. He beat me pretty handily in the end too, so this year, it’s up to me to be a better prognosticator.

This is the first full weekend of games, with a lot of interesting nonconference matchups and many of the top teams in action. Let’s get to it!

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 3-4

Wisconsin at Minnesota-Duluth
Candace: The Bulldogs should be stronger this year, but they looked at little flat last weekend against Connecticut, and I have to favor Wisconsin. Wisconsin 3-1, 4-2
Arlan: I’m 50/50 on the first game with UMD at home, but I’ll say the Badgers’ incoming class has a little more impact. Wisconsin 3-2, 4-1

Robert Morris at Maine
Candace: Robert Morris didn’t get off to a good start last weekend, and I have to think they’ll come out with more fire this weekend. Robert Morris 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: The Colonials didn’t inspire a lot of confidence last weekend, or dating back to February. Robert Morris 2-1, Maine 3-2

Providence at Mercyhurst
Candace: The Friars are going to have a tough time this year getting to the top of their conference. The Lakers started slow last year, but I think home ice helps. Mercyhurst 4-1, 3-2
Arlan: Providence could use a quick start to get confidence back, but I don’t see it happening. Mercyhurst 4-2, 5-3

New Hampshire at Ohio State
Candace: The Wildcats are a team in turmoil with a new coach and few stars gone, and while I think new coach Hilary Witt will settle things down, I don’t see UNH winning. Ohio State 3-1, 3-1
Arlan: Signs last weekend that neither of these teams is quite ready to fire. Ohio State 3-2, 2-0

Union at RIT
Candace: The Tigers need to start strong if they have any hopes of challenging Mercyhurst for the CHA. RIT 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: The loss to a club team should have the Tigers’ attention. RIT 3-1, 2-0

Clarkson vs. St. Lawrence
Candace: I got burned picking St. Lawrence in this arch-rivalry last year, and while a lot of Clarkson’s top players are gone, I think the Golden Knights still have a bit too much for the Saints. Clarkson 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: A vote for home ice. St. Lawrence 2-1, Clarkson 4-1

Friday, Oct. 3

Vermont at Bemidji State
Candace: I’m tempted to go for the Catamounts here, but I think the long travel might take its toll. Bemidji State 3-2
Arlan: Vermont has done well under Jim Plumer, but it hasn’t started well. Bemidji State 4-2

Connecticut at Quinnipiac
Candace: Connecticut played very well against Minnesota-Duluth last weekend, and I think this game will be close, but I also think the Bobcats have too much firepower, plus a proven senior netminder in Chelsea Laden. Quinnipiac 2-1
Arlan: The Bobcats have a lot of confidence heading into this season. Quinnipiac 2-1

Boston University at St. Cloud State
Candace: I don’t think this one will be very close. Boston University 4-1
Arlan: Too much to tackle in Eric Rud’s first game coaching the Huskies. Boston University 5-1

Rensselaer at North Dakota
Candace: North Dakota isn’t going to be that down this year, especially with a senior netminder in Shelby Amsley-Benzie. North Dakota 4-1
Arlan: North Dakota is playing the sort of nonconference schedule that the Pairwise Rankings require a team to sweep. North Dakota 3-0

Saturday, Oct. 4

Syracuse at Boston College
Candace: The Eagles were upset on the road last year by the Orange, but I don’t see it happening again. Boston College 3-1
Arlan: I don’t expect the Eagles will underestimate the Orange again. Boston College 4-2

Boston University at Minnesota
Candace: Even with Amanda Kessel gone, the Gophers are one of the strongest teams in the country, and while the Terriers have Marie-Philip Poulin back, I don’t think she can carry her team to victory. Minnesota 4-2
Arlan: The Terriers have the advantage if firepower, but the hosts have the edge on the back end. Minnesota 3-2

Vermont at North Dakota
Candace: North Dakota gets off to great start. North Dakota 4-2
Arlan: I expect this will be a very entertaining game, but it would be better two months from now. North Dakota 4-3

Rensselaer at Bemidji State
Candace: Bemidji could be looking very good after this weekend. Bemidji State 3-1
Arlan: Sanford Center was a tough place to play in Zuzana Tomcikova’s day, and Jim Scanlan hopes to make it so again. Bemidji State 2-1

Weekend wrap: 09/28/14

Pucks have been dropped
A number of programs’ seasons are underway. Most teams are practicing, others have played exhibitions, and a few have started bona fide NCAA competition. Let’s look at the results of the latter.

Scanlan makes history at Bemidji State
Under new coach James Scanlan, Bemidji State opened its season with a road sweep at Robert Morris. The Beavers had never started with two wins in any of their previous 16 seasons.

The outcome is disappointing for the Colonials, who received votes in USCHO’s preseason poll and were ranked for much of last season until a late slump.

Both games were up for grabs in the third period. On Friday, BSU seized a 2-0 lead by the game’s midpoint on goals by Whitney Wivoda and Madison Hutchinson, only to see Rebecca Vint and Erin Staniewski score to forge a 2-2 tie with 8:08 gone in the final frame. Stephanie Anderson scored the eventual winning goal on a power play four minutes later, and Kaitlyn Tougas and Megan Lushanko added insurance goals in a 5-2 Bemidji State win.

Robert Morris struck first in Saturday’s rematch, with Staniewski converting on a power play with 15:41 elapsed. Freshman Erin Deters, making her first collegiate start for the Beavers, slammed the door the rest of the way and finished with 29 saves. Jenessa Philipczyk knotted the score a period later, and rookie Alexis Joyce put BSU ahead to stay 7:16 into the third period. Anderson salted that victory with an empty-net goal; she was one of five Beavers to turn in two-point weekends.

Black Bears earn first conference points
Only one league game was played on the weekend, and Maine became the first team to assume a conference lead with a 2-1 win over Hockey East foe New Hampshire. St. Lawrence transfer Margo Lund opened the scoring at 3:39 to give UNH its first lead of the Hilary Witt era, but Hailey Browne answered eight minutes later. Kelsey MacSorley’s second-period tally proved decisive. Meghann Treacy turned aside 25 shots to earn the victory.

Bulldogs better Huskies
No. 10 Minnesota-Duluth saw its season get off to a rocky start, falling into an early 3-0 hole at Connecticut, with Sarah MacDonnell scoring twice for the hosts. Starting goaltender Kayla Black was yanked from the game after allowing three goals on six shots in the opening 14:38. Karissa Grapp played the remainder of the period, and Black returned to the crease after intermission. Her team clawed its way back, scoring twice in the second and twice in the third, with sophomores Lara Stalder and Ashleigh Brykaliuk each netting a pair. Just 44 seconds after Brykaliuk put UMD ahead with a short-hander, Margaret Zimmer capitalized on the same power play for UConn. Neither team could find the net in the five-minute overtime, and each had to settle for a 4-4 verdict. The Huskies earned the tie in large part thanks to Elaine Chuli’s 54 saves.

Black had a far less turbulent outing on Saturday, stopping all 27 shots she faced. Power-play goals by Zoe Hickel and Tea Villali in the second period and an empty-net goal by freshman Michelle Lowenheilm boosted UMD to a 3-0 triumph.

Badgers survive absences
No. 2 Wisconsin gained a sweep at Lindenwood by scores of 5-1 and 6-0. Neither the absence of five Badgers who were attending a Hockey Canada camp in Calgary, Alberta, nor 91 saves by the Lions’ Nicole Hensley, could derail the visitors. Senior Karley Sylvester led the attack with six points, and classmate Katy Josephs scored three times and was one of three Badgers with a four-point series. UMD transfer Shara Jasper had the only marker for the hosts. Jorie Walters got the start in the second game and earned the shutout.

Women’s D-I picks: March 21

Well, last weekend I could only go 2-2 (.500), putting me at 26-17 in the playoffs so far. Let’s see if I can do any better this time around.

Friday, March 21

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota
Another classic battle between these rivals. Minnesota won all four games this season, though three were close. I think the Gophers advance to the title game again. Minnesota 3-2

Clarkson vs. Mercyhurst
This is a game I am really not sure about. I wish I had a better handle on Erin Ambrose’s health, because her play gives Clarkson better defensive capability, but I’ll go with the Golden Knights in a squeaker. Clarkson 3-2

First-time participant Clarkson highlights Frozen Four quartet

Entering the NCAA tournament, most thought that Boston College was the road team with the best chance of earning a win. Instead, the Eagles were the only team not to come within a goal at any point of the third period as Clarkson reached its first Frozen Four.

Leading into the game, the big questions were: would Erin Ambrose be able to play, and could Clarkson win if she didn’t? The answers were, “No,” and an emphatic, “Yes.”

In the absence of its talented sophomore blueliner, Clarkson got big efforts from its senior class in a 3-1 victory over BC. Patty Kazmaier Award top-three finalist Jamie Lee Rattray assisted on all three tallies. Vanessa Gagnon netted a pair, the game’s first goal on a deflection and a rebound opportunity to make it 3-0 early in the final period. Brittany Styner scored the ultimate game-winner and added an assist, and defenseman Vanessa Plante got into the act with a helper. All told, the senior class accounted for eight points while Erica Howe made 23 saves to ensure her resume would include a Frozen Four trip.

The Golden Knights improve to 29-5-5 on the season, surpassing the 28 wins from last year as the most in program history.

Mercyhurst derails Cornell for second straight season
When Mercyhurst dropped No. 2 seed Cornell in overtime last year, it was a surprise. This time, the Lakers didn’t need OT to end the Big Red’s season in Lynah Rink, outshooting the hosts in every period.

Cornell’s Emily Fulton opened the scoring with 7:39 gone and netted her second with 4:29 remaining, but in between, Christine Bestland assisted on one goal and scored two more; Mercyhurst held on for a 3-2 triumph. The three points give Bestland 226 for her career, moving her ahead of Jesse Scanzano into second place in program history. Kaleigh Chippy had the other tally, and Amanda Makela made 29 stops to advance Mercyhurst to its fourth Frozen Four in six years.

The Lakers will face Clarkson in the late semifinal on Friday.

Minnesota repeats win over Boston University in championship rematch
Senior Kelly Terry’s four-point game included a hat trick, her second of the year and the third of her career. Terry’s opening goal off a defender’s skate was quickly answered by Sarah Lefort’s 32nd goal of the season, tops in the country. Minnesota went back up on a second-period, five-on-three goal by Rachel Ramsey. Terry added two goals early in the third period and Maryanne Menefee completed the scoring, giving the Gophers a 5-1 win. Amanda Leveille recorded 28 saves as Minnesota reached the Frozen Four for the 10th time.

Wisconsin stops Harvard to reach seventh Frozen Four
Alex Rigsby got the best of Harvard’s Emerance Maschmeyer in a battle of two of the premier goaltenders in the country. Wisconsin won 2-1, as all three goals were scored with 16 minutes and change elapsed in a period. Blayre Turnbull started the scoring in the first period, and Katy Josephs doubled the Badgers’ advantage in the next frame. Maschmeyer made 42 saves to keep the Crimson in the game, and Dylanne Crugnale finally got them on the board with 3:23 remaining.

However, Rigsby made 23 saves, including a diving effort with her stick to knock down a puck headed for a wide-open net. The win gives her 100 in her career, tying her with Hillary Pattenden for second-most in NCAA history.

Wisconsin will meet Minnesota on Friday. The Badgers hold a 2-1 edge in the teams’ prior national tournament encounters.

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