Old year nearly in the books
The action in 2012 may be winding down, but it is going out with a bang. A number of crucial games were played that figure to have implications regarding placement in conference races and national rankings.
Bobcats streak into 2013
Quinnipiac put the old year to bed in fine fashion, taking both ends of a home-and-home series with Princeton by 3-2 and 4-0 scores. The Bobcats have now won five straight games, and the four points earned over the weekend gives them the points lead in the ECAC race. At Princeton, goals from Brittany Lyons, Nicole Connery, and Kelly Babstock gave the Bobcats at three-goal lead 14 seconds into the second period. The Tigers mounted a comeback on tallies by Kelly Cooke and Brianna Leahy, but they were unable to complete the rally. Back on home ice, Victoria Vigilanti pitched her first shutout of the season, getting goal support from Nicole Brown, Erica Uden Johnansson, Babstock and Lyons.
Colonials inflict first ever CHA sweep on Lakers
No. 4 Mercyhurst finally has an inkling of how those conference foes have felt over the years. Robert Morris used strong goaltending by Kristen DiCiocco and some gritty goals to hand the visiting Lakers a pair of defeats by 3-1 and 2-1 margins. RMU held Mercyhurst to 20 shots on Friday, but even though MU more than doubled its attack on Saturday, DiCiocco turned aside 40 of them. The Colonials struck for a pair of power-play goals each day, and had five different goal scorers on the weekend. The Lakers still retain the conference lead by two points, but RMU has a couple of games in hand.
Buckeyes tame Tigers
For the third straight weekend, Ohio State went into a weekend in need of a sweep to remain in the thick of the national picture, and this time the Buckeyes were at home and got the job done with 3-1 and 6-2 victories over RIT. Hokey Langan led the way on Saturday with a goal and an assist while Chelsea Knapp was recording 25 saves. Sunday saw both Ally Tarr and Julia McKinnon find the twine twice. Casidhe and Kourtney Kunichika supplied the Tigers’ goals in game two, the latter coming on a penalty shot.
In the ECAC, Dutchwomen are still looking
Union came close to that elusive first conference win, yet couldn’t score enough to make it a reality. Friday saw it reach a 1-1 stalemate with Yale, Union’s third league draw. Yale’s Jamie Haddad and Union’s Alex Tancrell-Fontaine traded goals. The next day, Brown’s Aubree Moore bested Shenae Lundberg in goal as the Bears claimed a 1-0 win. Vanessa Welten scored unassisted for the game’s only tally.
A couple former champs aren’t dead yet
The first half of the season is usually too early to speak of must-win games. However, as the losses have mounted in Madison and Duluth, that’s the situation No. 9 Wisconsin and Minnesota-Duluth found themselves in as they entertained a couple of ranked teams.
No. 8 North Dakota visited the Badgers in search of a first win over UW outside of an Olympic year. UND will have to look elsewhere. It scored the first two goals of the series and the final one, but Wisconsin scored six times in between and came away with 3-2 and 3-1 wins. Madison Packer and Brianna Decker both had a goal plus an assist in each contest. Alex Rigsby made 59 saves in the series as the Badgers held the Lamoureux sisters to one point combined. That task was made easier when Jocelyne got the boot for a check from behind midway through the second game.
Meanwhile, UMD began a new rivalry, as the Bulldogs met No. 7 Boston University for the first time. Little was decided, as the games ended in 2-2 and 0-0 deadlocks. Kathryn Miller scored her first goal of the season to salvage a tie for the visiting Terriers after Zoe Hickel had given the Bulldogs the lead. On Sunday, only goalies Kerrin Sperry of BU and the Bulldogs’ Kayla Black got their names onto the score sheet in a laudable fashion.
How the rest of the top 10 fared
Vanessa Plante and Carly Mercer scored third-period goals for No. 2 Clarkson to allow the Golden Knights to come from behind on Friday and defeat Syracuse, 3-2, after Sadie St. Germain had scored short-handed to give the Orange a lead. On Saturday, Clarkson built a 5-2 lead and withstood a late Syracuse rally in a 5-4 win. Jamie Lee Rattray had a goal and three assists.
No. 5 Harvard had more than enough offense in spanking Providence, 8-1, thanks to four goals from Jillian Dempsey. The attack was far more sparse the next day in New Hampshire; Dempsey’s third-period goal allowed the Crimson to salvage a 2-2 tie. Nicole Gifford had a pair of assists for the Wildcats, who have now taken points from all four Boston teams.
No. 6 Boston College struggled earlier this season in Durham, but not on Wednesday. The Eagles scored three unanswered goals in the final period to defeat the Wildcats, 4-1, and wrap up 2012 on a 12-game unbeaten string.
Amanda Kessel supplied three assists one day, and a hat trick the next, to lead No. 1 Minnesota to its 10th straight sweep of the season. Bemidji had proven a tough location for the Gophers in the past, but not this time, as the visitors took 5-1 and 5-0 decisions. The shutout was Noora Räty’s eighth this season.
No. 10 Northeastern got two goals from Kendall Coyne, the second at 2:08 of overtime to topple Dartmouth, 3-2. The Big Green then swept Maine over the weekend to end a five-game winless stretch.