Last week, I questioned whether No. 8 Boston College, clearly one of the most talented squads in the country, was playing like a top-10 team. The Eagles responded with their best week of the season in a Wednesday-Saturday home-and-home series with archrival Boston University. BC blew out the No. 3 Terriers, 7-1, to take the road half of the week. Saturday’s game was a wild see-saw affair that ended in a 5-5 tie. BU was without the services of Marie-Philip Poulin in the second game, something it became all too familiar with last season. However, this time it was because she had left to join Team Canada for the Four Nations Cup.
The series raises a red flag for each team. Brian Duroucher can’t be thrilled that his team allowed a dozen goals over the two games. Meanwhile, Katie Crowley’s squad surrendered five goals on just 21 shots on Saturday. That’s a pattern that surfaces time and again in the BC losses.
In a match up of Huskies versus Huskies, No. 7 Northeastern emerged as the top dogs, demolishing Connecticut 9-1. Last week, I also said that someone besides Kendall Coyne for NU needed to step up as a scoring threat, and Casey Pickett did so in a big way, scoring four goals and mixing in a pair of assists. Coyne also had a six-point game, with a goal and five helpers.
Home at last
No. 10 Ohio State had its hands full on the road against a scrappy St. Cloud State team that was likely happy just to be back home, in both hockey and overall. Due to renovations being performed at the National Hockey Center, SCSU’s home opener wasn’t scheduled until November. Hurricane Sandy arrived before the team could fly home from Providence the previous weekend, so the Huskies’ return to St. Cloud was delayed until Wednesday.
SCSU battled back to tie on Friday before Tina Hollowell scored in the third period to give the Buckeyes a 3-2 win. On Saturday, the Huskies demonstrated that they were used to dealing with adversity by scoring a pair of short-handed goals to carry a 2-1 lead into the second intermission. However, the third period was all OSU, as Paige Semenza tied the game, Danielle Gagne gave her team its first lead, and Hollowell finished off the 4-2 win into an empty net.
Could something big be brewing in Providence? Not a hurricane this time, but the Friars, who swept Maine over the weekend to improve to 6-3-1 on the season. A scoring-by-committee approach seems to be working for Bob Deraney, as nobody on his team has more than 10 points, but 10 players have at least four and five others have recorded multiple points.
A scarcity of Catamounts
Vermont took to the ice three times on the week, and lost to RPI, 5-1, Robert Morris, 6-2, and the Colonials again, 3-2 in overtime. The good news for the Catamounts was that they were up to 16 skaters by the weekend, after only having 11 for the Wednesday clash with the Engineers.
How the rest of the top 10 fared
In a key series matching a couple of NCAA hopefuls, No. 4 Clarkson headed west to do battle with No. 9 North Dakota, and if the penalty minutes are indicative of the action, battle is quite accurate. On Friday, a checking-from-behind penalty on UND senior Monique Lamoureux swung the game in the Golden Knights’ favor. Danielle Skirrow scored the game-winner during the five-minute power play, and the hosts didn’t have the services of Lamoureux in attempting to mount a comeback. Clarkson got an insurance goal from Jamie Lee Rattray and won, 3-1. The teams combined for 22 minor penalties in the second game. North Dakota capitalized on two third period power plays to overcome a deficit and salvage a split with a 3-2 triumph. Jocelyne Lamoureux scored twice and freshman Meghan Dufault completed the rally.
No. 5 Mercyhurst didn’t enjoy quite the laughs at Lindenwood’s expense that it did a season ago, but with 6-1 and 6-0 wins, the Lakers demonstrated that the Lions still have plenty of ground to close.
In recent years, No. 2 Cornell had to deal with the loss of starting goaltender Amanda Mazzotta to injury on multiple occasions. It was more of the same as her successor, Lauren Slebodnick, was knocked out of the 4-0 win over Princeton on Friday. Stefannie Moak got the call in net on Saturday, and she didn’t last 60 minutes either, but the culprit this time was the Quinnipiac top line of Kelly Babstock, Nicole Kosta, and Nicole Connery. They got to Moak for three goals in just over six minutes of play in the second period. Katelyn Pippy finished up and didn’t allow further damage as Cornell rallied for a 4-3 win behind third-period goals from Cassandra Poudrier and Alyssa Gagliardi.
All indications are that the Big Red can expect a challenge for the ECAC crown, as No. 6 Harvard didn’t allow a goal on the weekend in upping its record to 4-0. Brown and Yale were dispatched by 3-0 and 4-0 scores, respectively.
No. 1 Minnesota improved to 12-0, the best start in the program’s history, with a sweep at Minnesota-Duluth by scores of 4-1 and 4-0. The Gophers winning streak dating back to last season has now stretched to 20 games. The previous two times that Minnesota arrived at the Four Nations Cup week with perfect records were in 2003 and 2004. The Gophers went on to claim NCAA titles in each of those seasons.