Not even hindsight is 20/20 in wake of inexplicable results
Each week when I sit down to do my game predictions, I think this would be easier if the outcomes were more predictable. Sometimes there are games or series that make one say, “Yes, I should have seen that,” after the results are in the books. This year, it’s been more like, “Did I really see that?”
People who like to conclude that Team A beat Team B and Team B beat Team C and so on, until the conclusion that Team A must be better than Team X is reached, can have a field day. For example, Sacred Heart split against Penn State. The Nittany Lions also split with Vermont. The Catamounts defeated New Hampshire. The Wildcats won one and lost one versus Boston College, so apparently Sacred Heart is at least the equal of BC, the preseason pick to take Hockey East. Or not.
Some of the curious happenings took place in Syracuse, where the Orange hosted Quinnipiac. The Bobcats claimed a narrow 3-2 victory on Friday on the strength of Erica Uden Johansson’s second goal of the game in the final seconds of overtime. The winning goal came on a power play that resulted from a rare holding call on Syracuse goaltender Jenesica Drinkwater. So what did Quinnipiac do with the momentum from that nail-biting victory? Promptly went out and lost 4-0 the next day, as Syracuse goalie Kallie Billadeau made 29 saves, and if she held anyone, it went undetected by the striped shirts.
Congratulations to Rochester Institute of Technology on notching its first win of the season over a full-time D-I opponent. RIT bested Yale, 3-0, a day after coming up a goal short in a 2-1 loss to Princeton. The two Ivies also visited Robert Morris on the weekend, and in each case, RIT posted a better margin versus the visitors than did the Colonials, as RMU beat Yale, 2-0, and fell to Princeton, 6-3. One might have expected a stronger showing from the 2012 CHA Tournament champions.
With its perfect weekend, Princeton is one of two remaining unbeaten teams. Brown, Dartmouth, and Harvard will kick off their seasons on Friday.
Minnesota-Duluth, coming off its sweep of Wisconsin, took that momentum to Mankato to face Minnesota State for the first time since an on-ice incident in Duluth resulted in the suspension of Mavericks coach Eric Means for the first couple series of this season. The Bulldogs built a 3-0 lead on Friday, but were unable to hold it through the final 10 minutes, as Kathleen Rogan scored an extra-attacker goal at 19:49 of the third period. The game remained deadlocked through overtime, and the Mavericks made the unusual move of changing to backup goaltender Erin Krichiver for the shootout, which they won to gain the extra league point.
Danielle Butters was back in the MSU net on Saturday, she saved all 28 shots, and teammate Tracy McCann scored the game’s only goal in the third period to give the hosts five of a possible six points from the series.
How the top 10 fared
It was a rough week for many of the top teams, as eight tasted defeat. A big reason for this was many of the ranked teams played opponents that were ranked as well.
The marquee pairing of the weekend was likely No. 2 Cornell traveling to No. 3 Boston University. On Saturday, the Big Red came from behind, scoring twice while short-handed to win, 5-2. Sunday saw Cornell get on the board first, but BU scored five unanswered goals to exact some revenge. For the series, Marie-Philip Poulin and Isabel Menard each chipped in four points for the Terriers, while a dozen different players got on the scoresheet for the Big Red.
Earlier in the week, BU visited No. 8 Northeastern and hung a 4-1 defeat on the Huskies. The Terriers broke a scoreless tie in the final minute of the second period with a Kayla Tutino power-play goal and pulled away.
No. 5 Clarkson traveled to Erie to face No. 7 Mercyhurst. The Golden Knights had the best of the proceedings on Friday, as Erica Howe pitched a 36-save shutout in a 3-0 win. The Lakers came back with a 4-3 victory the next day, getting goals from four different sources and a three-assist effort from Christine Bestland. Junior Jamie Lee Rattray scored four goals on the weekend for Clarkson.
No. 6 Ohio State made a trip to Minneapolis to duel No. 1 Minnesota and didn’t fare any better than the Gophers’ previous opponents, falling 7-2 and 8-0. The hosts winning streak grew to 16, dating back to last season.
No. 4 Boston College couldn’t hold a two-goal lead at New Hampshire and lost to the Wildcats, 4-3. The Eagles proved better with a lead at home on Sunday and vanquished UNH, 5-2. Newcomers Alexis Crossley of UNH and BC’s Dana Trivigno and Haley Skarupa all had two-goal games.
No. 10 North Dakota had its hands full with St. Cloud State. Jocelyne Lamoureux scored three of her team’s four goals as UND recorded 3-1 and 1-0 wins. On the season, Lamoureux has eight tallies, while the rest of her teammates combined have but seven. Jorid Dagfinrud saved 34 of 35 shots. She wasn’t UND’s primary goaltender to start the season, but she now leads the nation in goals-against-average at 0.30 and save percentage at 0.981. Dagfinrud will put those numbers to the test when Minnesota’s top-ranked offense invades Grand Forks next weekend.
In the most historic action of the week, No. 9 Wisconsin opened the doors to its new home, LaBahn Arena, but the building’s tenants got off to a shaky start. The Badgers dropped a 1-0 decision to Bemidji State in the opener, as Kristin Huber became the answer to a trivia question by scoring the arena’s first goal and Abby Ryplanski made 27 saves for the shutout. The Beavers scored first the next day as well. After watching her team go 10 periods without a goal, captain Brianna Decker finally broke the drought just as I was about to start calling her team “Wiscnsin”, thinking there no longer was any ‘O’ in Wisconsin. The teams traded goals until BSU’s Sadie Lundquist tied it at 3-3 in the final minute. The Badgers won a shootout to salvage two points.