Familiar look atop league standings
Just the tip of the iceberg has been revealed in the conference schedules, but the teams jumping ahead in the standings are no strangers to leading.
ECAC Hockey action got underway for two thirds of the circuit’s 12 teams with Cornell and Harvard, squads that have combined to take home the last six titles, sharing first place.
Only five games total have been played in Hockey East, but the early leader, New Hampshire, is one of the most storied programs in the game’s history, and has earned the trophy in six of the league’s 11 years, although not in the last four.
Minnesota has claimed at least a share of the regular season crown in half of the WCHA’s 14 seasons, and the Gophers cashed in their games in hand over Wisconsin and took over sole possession of the conference lead.
CHA play doesn’t commence until Thursday when Robert Morris squares off with Penn State, so nobody can yet claim supremacy. Perhaps nobody will welcome the onset of conference action more than Lindenwood; the Lions have faced WCHA competition exclusively and are winless in 10 games.
New goalie wins record at Cornell
Lauren Slebodnick became the winningest goaltender in Big Red history on Friday when No. 3 Cornell defeated Clarkson, 6-3. She upped her career wins total to 55 with a 6-4 win over St. Lawrence on Saturday. Slebodnick bests the mark that Amanda Mazzotta established two years ago.
Offensively, Cornell got huge performances from its top line of senior Jessica Campbell and juniors Emily Fulton and Jillian Saulnier. The trio combined for seven goals, 12 assists, and 19 points on the weekend, highlighted by Fulton’s goal and eight assists. With 12 points in four games, Fulton is the nation’s leader in points per game.
Versus Clarkson, Cornell took an early 4-1 lead, and then pulled away after the Golden Knights had climbed within a goal. Against the Saints, the Big Red steadily built a four-goal lead by midway in the final period.
Eagles slow on takeoff
For the second straight week, the offense for No. 4 Boston College took a while to get going and the Eagles found themselves in a hole to an unranked opponent. BC spotted Syracuse three goals before Kate Leary produced a shot that Kallie Billadeau couldn’t stop, and Sadie St. Germain answered for the Orange within a minute. Billadeau saved the other 43 BC shots, and host Syracuse enjoyed a 4-1 win. Jessica Sibley, Allie LaCombe, and Margo Scharfe had the other Orange goals, while defensemen Danielle Leslie and Nicole Renault each contributed a pair of assists.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, that loss was their only outing of the week. Syracuse followed the win up with a 5-2 victory over Union to even its record at 4-4.
Those pesky Beavers
No. 1 Minnesota extended its winning streak to 57 games at Bemidji State with 4-0 and 4-3 triumphs. Saturday’s game was only the fifth time over that stretch that an opponent came within a goal of the Gophers, and BSU has managed to do so twice. Hannah Brandt’s second goal of the game proved decisive after Hanna Moher had gained a third-period tie for the hosts. Amanda Leveille’s third shutout on Friday has her tied with Quinnipiac’s Chelsea Laden and Amanda Makela of Mercyhurst for the national lead in that category.
How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 2 Wisconsin polished off Lindenwood by 5-1 and 4-1 scores. Courtney Burke and freshmen Sarah Nurse and Sydney McKibbon all had three-point games. Rookie defenseman Mellissa Channell scored in each contest, her first goals as a Badger. Nicole Hensley made 87 saves on the weekend for the Lions, giving her a national high of 371. Meghann Treacy of Maine is next in saves with 229.
In addition to falling to Cornell, Erica Howe and No. 5 Clarkson shutout Colgate, 2-0, with Jamie Lee Rattray and Shannon MacAulay earning the goals. Junior Brittney Brooks made 44 saves in her first game of the year for the Raiders.
No. 6 North Dakota ventured on the road for the first time and gained 2-1 and 6-1 wins at St. Cloud State. Michelle Karvinen scored both UND goals in the opener, with the game-winner breaking a tie with just over five minutes left. She scored twice more on Saturday when North Dakota broke the game open with four second-period goals.
Dylanne Crugnale had two goals and Sarah Edney added a goal and an assist for No. 7 Harvard in its debut, a 4-2 win over previously unbeaten and No. 9 ranked Quinnipiac. Two goals and a helper from Hillary Crowe plus 44 stops by Emerance Maschmeyer keyed a 4-0 shutout by the Crimson over Princeton on Saturday. The Bobcats bounced back with a 4-2 victory at Dartmouth; Kelly Babstock and Morgan Fritz-Ward had three-point weekends.
No. 8 Mercyhurst got five points from Christine Bestland, including the game-winning goal in Friday’s 2-1 win, in sweeping Maine.
A once-promising season continued to spiral downward for Rensselaer as the Engineers were swept at Connecticut.
St. Lawrence and Princeton were able to win at the unranked halves of their travel pairings, Colgate and Dartmouth respectively.
Providence and Northeastern had better fortunes on the road half of their home-and-home series.
Brown and RIT split with each team winning by a 2-1 score.
Visiting Vermont found itself playing from behind with little success in getting swept at Robert Morris.
Minnesota State scored the first goal both days only to have Minnesota-Duluth battle back to win.
Yale lost its second game similar to how the Bulldogs fell in the first — on a third-period goal to a Boston school, Boston University in this case.
UNH liked its first trip to Penn State’s new rink, winning a scoring contest on Saturday and a more conservative affair on Sunday.