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Women’s D-I picks: March 7

Well, I didn’t get off to that great a start in my postseason picks. The ECAC really messed with my percentages, but overall, I did well, and correctly picked all but two series. I went 18-9 (.666).

Let’s see how I can do this weekend. If my semifinal picks are wrong, I will update this page.

Friday, March 7

Syracuse at Mercyhurst
This should be a close one, but I expect the Lakers to come out on top. Mercyhurst 3-2

RIT vs. Robert Morris
I’m seriously tempted to go with the Tigers for the upset, but I think RMU will come through. Robert Morris 3-2

Minnesota-Duluth vs. Minnesota
The Gophers are still the tournament favorites until proven otherwise. Minnesota 4-1

North Dakota vs. Wisconsin
The Badgers have generally been kryptonite to UND. Despite their misstep last weekend against Minnesota State, I think they will win a close defensive battle. Wisconsin 2-1

Saturday, March 8

Quinnipiac at Clarkson
The Bobcats won this battle a couple of weeks ago, which might help Clarkson, as it will know to avoid the letdown. Clarkson 2-1

Cornell vs. Harvard
Which wins, offense or defense? Generally, I’d say defense, except Harvard’s has been porous of late. Cornell 4-2

Vermont vs. Boston College
The Catamounts played the Eagles tough the last time these two faced each other, but I don’t think they can contain BC’s high-flying offense. Boston College 4-1

Northeastern vs. Boston University
Both looked shaky last weekend, so I’ll go with the Huskies as my upset special. Northeastern 3-2

Robert Morris vs. Mercyhurst
These two split their season series, and RMU won over the Lakers in the tournament two years ago, but I think home ice gives Mercyhurst the edge. Mercyhurst 3-2

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota
The Badgers couldn’t put a dent in the Gophers all season long, and I don’t think they will here either. Minnesota 3-1

Sunday, March 9

Cornell at Clarkson
A game that should see a little bit of everything. Clarkson is at home, and Cornell has looked shaky defensively, so I’ll go with Clarkson. Clarkson 4-2

Northeastern vs. Boston College
A rematch of the Beanpot final won’t produce a different result. Boston College 3-1

Women’s D-I wrap: March 2

Underdogs denied as conference playoffs commence
There were a few tense moments along the way, but in the end, the higher-seeded, home teams advanced from all 14 quarterfinal pairings across the four conferences. Five games went to overtime, and three series required a deciding third game.

Hockey East follows form
The playoff structure used in Hockey East, with single-game quarterfinals rather than best-of-three series, would figure to make upsets more likely. However, the top four seeds all advanced. Three of those teams did surrender the first goal, and the one that did not had to toil for over 117 minutes in order to punch its ticket to Hyannis.

New Hampshire’s 8-1 loss to top-seeded Boston College could represent its season in microcosm: a promising start followed by one disaster after another. Sara Carlson gave the Wildcats a lead 71 seconds into the game, but Dana Trivigno’s response at 4:56 started an avalanche of eight BC goals in less than 40 minutes. Haley Skarupa had two of them and added three assists; Kristyn Capizzano scored twice with a pair of helpers.

Northeastern and Connecticut squared off in a far different contest that was scoreless into the third period before Northeastern rallied late for a 2-1 win. Elaine Chuli stymied Northeastern with 34 saves, and Sarah MacDonnell’s second-chance goal 6:08 into the final stanza looked like it might be enough to spring the upset. Kayla Campero had a chance to provide some insurance on a breakaway with seven and a half minutes remaining, but Chloe Desjardins forced her to shoot wide. That enabled Sonia St. Martin to tie the game seven seconds into a power play with 2:24 left in regulation. St. Martin moved across the high slot and feathered a shot inside the left post for the second goal of her senior season. At the 18:59 mark, Brittany Esposito picked up the puck along the side boards and skated to the front of the net, where she picked the top corner on Chuli’s glove side. Connecticut pressured with a six-on-four advantage in the final seconds, but could not find an equalizer.

Boston University turned to leading scorers Sarah Lefort and Louise Warren to supply the offense. Warren responded with a pair of goals, including a third-period game-winner, Lefort tallied once, and that was a enough for a 3-2 victory for the Terriers. The duo has now combined for 56 of BU’s 106 goals on the season. Kerrin Sperry made 37 saves to earn the win. Beth Hanrahan gave Providence a lead in the opening minute of the second period, and Lexi Romanchuk tied the game after BU took its first lead. However, the Friars saw the repeat of an all-too-familiar theme, losing a game despite outshooting an opponent, 39-22 in this case. For the first time, Providence will not be part of the field for Hockey East’s semifinals.

Vermont hosted a postseason game for the first time in the Division-I history of the program, and the Catamounts like the experience so much that they didn’t want it to end. They took a 2-0 lead over Maine in the first period. Victoria Andreakos followed her own shot to open the scoring, and Rachael Ade converted another rebound for her first goal of the season. The lead held up until the 10:56 mark of the third period when Emilie Brigham grabbed a loose puck and wristed a shot by Roxanne Douville to pull the Black Bears within one. Hailey Browne deflected in a shot with 3:16 remaining in the period, and the teams went to overtime tied at 2-2. Goalies Douville and Meghann Treacy matched save for save until Amanda Pelkey attacked parallel to the goal line and Brittany Zuback crashed down the slot and scored upstairs to give Vermont a 3-2 win. The game ended at 17:12 in the third overtime, the longest game in the history of both programs. The Catamounts advance to their first league semifinal.

Top four advance in the CHA
Mercyhurst and Robert Morris had first-round byes, and RIT and Syracuse moved on with series sweeps.

The Tigers swept their series from Penn State, but they needed an overtime winner from Celeste Brown 10:15 into the extra session in game one to take a 3-2 decision. Shannon Yoxheimer had tallied twice for the Nittany Lions, and RIT offset that with goals from Jess Paton and Caitlin Wallace, the latter being her first collegiate goal. Nicole Paniccia made 44 stops to keep PSU in the game, and Ali Binnington registered 34 saves and earned the win. On Saturday, Binnington kept a clean sheet, thwarting all 31 PSU shots and posting her sixth shutout on the year, 3-0. Melissa Bromley opened the scoring late in the second period, and Erin Zach and Emilee Bulleid added insurance goals. RIT advances to the semifinals for the second straight year.

Syracuse posted relatively easy 4-1 and 6-0 triumphs over Lindenwood. Heather Schwarz opened the scoring late in the second period for the Orange, and Allie LaCombe, Nicole Renault, and Jessica Sibley added insurance goals in the third period before Caitlyn Post scored late to deny Jenesica Drinkwater a shutout. Julie Knerr got Syracuse on the board 61 seconds into Saturday’s game, and the Orange also got a pair of tallies from Melissa Piacenti, and one each from Margot Scharfe, Schwarz, and Cara Johnson. This time, Drinkwater did finish the shutout with 22 saves.

Seeds hold in ECAC Hockey
Second-seeded Harvard dropped the opening game of its series to Yale, but the home team prevailed in the league’s other eight quarterfinal games.

The first two games between the Bulldogs and Crimson went to double overtime. Janelle Ferrara scored the deciding goal after 97:33 played on Friday. Jaimie Leonoff made 55 saves as Yale won, 3-2. Jackie Raines had three points, including the first goal, and Jamie Haddad tallied as well for the Bulldogs. Hillary Crowe and Samantha Reber scored the Harvard goals. On Saturday, Miye D’Oench’s second goal of the game at 4:01 of the second OT was the game-winner in the Crimson’s 3-2 victory. Dylanne Crugnale had the tying goal with 4:02 left in regulation, and Brianna Laing got the call in net and made 32 saves to earn the win. Phoebe Staenz netted both goals for the Bulldogs, and Leonoff was called on to make 53 saves in defeat. Laing posted a 30-save shutout in the rubber match as Harvard won, 4-0. Crowe led the offense with two goals.

Top-seeded Clarkson took care of Dartmouth with twin 2-0 triumphs. Erica Howe needed 15 and 16 saves respectively for the two shutouts, tying her for the NCAA lead with 13 on the year. Jamie Lee Rattray scored both of the goals in the opener; Cayley Mercer and Christine Lambert tallied in the clincher.

Cornell came from behind Princeton to win on back-to-back days. Friday’s rally required three third-period goals, with Jessica Campbell scoring both the tying and winning goals for the 3-2 final. Jillian Saulnier had the first Big Red goal after Sally Butler and Hilary Lloyd staked the Tigers to a two-goal lead. Cornell wrapped up the series with a 5-3 win on Saturday, with Saulnier scoring twice and assisting on two goals.

Quinnipiac advanced on the strength of 5-0 and 2-1 wins over St. Lawrence. Shiann Darkangelo had a big series with three goals and two assists, and Chelsea Laden made 53 saves while yielding only the one goal.

Cinderella falls short in the WCHA
Minnesota State and Ohio State sprang upsets in the middle game of their series at Wisconsin and Minnesota-Duluth, respectively; Bemidji State forced OT before falling in game two. Beyond that, it was business as usual as the favorites advanced to the WCHA Final Face-Off to be held in Bemidji.

The Mavericks went quietly on Friday in Madison, as they had no answer for goals by Sarah Nurse, Madison Packer, Sydney McKibbon, and Katy Josephs. Alex Rigsby made 26 saves in backstopping the 4-0 shutout. Saturday was a different story; Danielle Butters proved invincible despite 51 shots fired by the Badgers, and Melissa Klippenstein, Kari Lundberg, and Kelsie Scott provided offensive support. Minnesota State couldn’t get anything going offensively on Sunday, as Rigsby kept them stuck on zero while Blayre Turnbull scored the winning goal in the second period and Courtney Burke added an insurance tally in the third.

UMD opened its series with a 1-0 shutout of Ohio State on Friday. Jamie Kenyon scored the game’s only goal in the second period and Kayla Black made all 26 saves asked of her. In game two, Ally Tarr and Kari Schmitt scored to turn a 2-1, third-period deficit into a 3-2 win for the Buckeyes. On Sunday, Zoe Hickel scored twice, Sidney Morin potted the winning goal in the second period, and the Bulldogs added a couple of empty-net goals to advance with a 5-1 win.

Hannah Brandt had a six-point weekend as Minnesota took over in the second period in both games in sweeping St. Cloud State, 4-1 and 7-1. Maryanne Menefee and Meghan Lorence found the net in each game, while senior Julia Gilbert scored both tallies in her last weekend for the Huskies.

Women’s D-I picks: Feb. 28

Congrats to Arlan for beating me in our regular season picks contest and winning a six pack of microbrew from me. Last weekend, both Arlan and I went 17-7-2 (.692). I finished the regular season 272-91-42 (.723), while Arlan finished the regular season 280-83-42 (.743).

Arlan usually doesn’t pick the playoffs, so I’ll bid him adieu with a pledge to take the picks crown back from him next season. In the meantime, here is my outlook on the first round playoff matchups.

Friday, Feb. 28

New Hampshire at Boston College
The Wildcats own one win against the Eagles this season, but have looked underwhelming over the last few months, while BC has been on a roll. I think Katie King Crowley will prevent any letdown. Boston College 4-2

Connecticut at Northeastern
The battle of the Huskies. Connecticut played better in spurts this year, but Northeastern has been on a tear, and swept two games two weeks ago against UConn without giving up a goal. Northeastern 4-1

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 28-March 1

Penn State at RIT
RIT impressed last weekend by sweeping Syracuse in a home-and-home, and Penn State is still building its program. RIT 4-2, 4-1

Lindenwood at Syracuse
This is an interesting series, because Lions goalie Nicole Hensley is capable of stealing a game for the visitors, and Lindenwood did beat Syracuse once back in December in Syracuse, but when they faced off again back a couple of weeks ago, Syracuse swept, so I’ll go with the Orange in two. Syracuse 2-1, 3-1

Dartmouth at Clarkson
The Big Green are having a down year, and while they usually play better against the top teams, it won’t be enough. Clarkson 3-2, 4-1

Princeton at Cornell
A rematch of a game from last weekend won by the Tigers. Cornell has been reeling of late and has goaltending issues, and Princeton played the Big Red tough in two contests in the regular season, but I just don’t see Princeton taking two games in Ithaca. Cornell 3-2, Princeton 4-3, Cornell 5-3

Yale at Harvard
This one could be a major upset. Yale had great success against the Crimson this year, almost winning both games before Harvard rallied to tie on Saturday. The Bulldogs were one of the few teams that demonstrated scoring ability against Crimson netminder Emerance Maschmeyer. Yale will also have Phoebe Staenz back from the Olympics. I’ll go with the upset in three. Harvard 2-1, Yale 2-1, 3-2

St. Lawrence at Quinnipiac
Another case of a lower seed that won the season series against the higher seed. There’s also the rematch factor, as St. Lawrence beat Quinnipiac in three games last year in the ECAC tournament. I think Quinnipiac reverses that result, but it will take three games. Quinnipiac 2-1, St. Lawrence 3-2, Quinnipiac 3-2

St. Cloud State at Minnesota
If I could only bet on one series all weekend, I’d take the Gophers in a sweep. Minnesota 4-2, 4-1

Minnesota State at Wisconsin
These two faced off last weekend in Madison, and the Badgers swept. They will again. Wisconsin 2-1, 4-2

Bemidji State at North Dakota
North Dakota finally has its full roster again, and is hoping that can lift them out of their four-game losing streak. I’ll go with a UND sweep, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Bemidji takes this to three. North Dakota 3-2, 4-2

Ohio State at Minnesota-Duluth
This is the series I would be least likely to bet on, because I think you could flip a coin 100 times and have better odds of predicting it correctly. The Buckeyes played very well in the second half and had two ties against the Bulldogs in Duluth back in January. Overtime in all three of these games would not surprise me. OSU swept this series on the road last year. Ohio State 2-1, Minnesota-Duluth 3-2, Ohio State 3-1

Saturday, March 1

Providence at Boston University
The Friars never really got untracked, and the Terriers seem to have fixed whatever was ailing them in January. Boston University 4-2

Maine at Vermont
Possibly an upset special, as the Black Bears played the Catamounts tough a couple of weeks ago in Burlington, losing 2-1, but I’ll go with home ice. Vermont 2-1

Women’s D-I wrap: Feb. 24

Clarkson emerges on top of roller-coaster finish in ECAC Hockey
There are times when hockey may be more enjoyable for those who don’t have a team in the race but are interested observers. Sure, Clarkson fans are ecstatic now that the Golden Knights have earned their first league championship. But when a three-team, see-saw battle comes down to the final day with only a single point of separation between the leader and two pursuers, that causes many a tense moment.

Friday’s action proved pivotal in the ECAC. Trailing Cornell by a point and tied with Harvard, Clarkson needed assistance and Quinnipiac and Yale delivered.

Jessica Campbell put Cornell up, 1-0, 10:46 into the game versus the Bobcats, and through two periods, it looked as though that may be enough, as Paula Voorheis saved 16 shots flawlessly. But Emma Woods scored a couple of minutes into the final frame, and Kelly Babstock, who had an assist on the Woods goal, tallied unassisted at the 9:15 mark. Quinnipiac and goaltender Chelsea Laden, who finished with 27 stops, were able to close out a 2-1 win as the Big Red watched control of the title slip away.

Elizabeth Parker got the Crimson off and running less than four minutes into their game at Yale. However, the Bulldogs responded with goals by Taylor Marchin, Jackie Raines, and Krista Yip-Chuck to take a 3-1 lead. Miye D’Oench pulled Harvard within one, and Sydney Daniels tied it with just over a minute to go, but the Crimson had to settle for a 3-3 tie and one point in the standings rather than two.

Clarkson made the third period a formality in its game versus Rensselaer, taking a five-goal lead early in the second period and coasting to a 6-0 win. Vanessa Gagnon found the net twice, and both Jamie Lee Rattray and Erin Ambrose added a goal and two assists. Erica Howe needed just nine saves to post her 11th shutout of the year, the 26th of her career.

The Golden Knights needed only a win over last-place Union in their final league game to clinch the crown. That proved to be anything but trivial. Erin Ambrose scored for Clarkson 13 seconds into the second period, but Christine Valente drew the Dutchwomen even on a power play with five minutes gone in the third. Shenae Lundberg stopped the other 30 shots she faced in regulation, so the two teams went to overtime tied at 1-1. Harvard had won, 3-1, at Brown, so Clarkson needed to score in the five minutes of overtime for an outright title. A minute into the extra session, Olivia Howe struck, giving Clarkson a 2-1 win and its first ECAC trophy.

Dartmouth claims last ECAC playoff spot
Three teams were in contention for the eighth and final playoff spot heading into the weekend: RPI, Dartmouth, and Colgate. The bottom two of those, Dartmouth and Colgate, recorded wins on Friday to keep all three alive heading into Saturday. The Big Green got goals from Lindsey Allen, Devon Moir, and Kennedy Ottenbreit, plus a 26-save shutout by Lindsay Holdcroft, to subdue Brown, 3-0. Ashlynne Rando made 20 stops and freshman defenseman Hannah Rastrick scored her first goal to lift Colgate over Princeton, 1-0. The situation mirrored that found in the race for first; here, Dartmouth led, and Colgate and RPI were a point behind.

Ultimately, Dartmouth won on Saturday, 2-1 over Yale, while its closest pursuers fell short, and the Big Green took eighth place by three points. Ottenbreit and Moir scored the goals, and Holdcroft made 17 saves. Rensselaer lost at St. Lawrence, 3-2, and Colgate couldn’t get any transaction in getting throttled by Quinnipiac, 3-0.

Amanda Colin, Shiann Darkangelo, and Cydney Roesler tallied, and Chelsea Laden rejected 12 shots in the shutout for the Bobcats as they wrapped up fourth place and home ice for the quarterfinals.

ECAC playoff foes
The quarterfinal round features best-of-three series hosted by the four highest seeds. Clarkson hosts Dartmouth. Yale travels to Harvard, an opponent against whom the Bulldogs had success this season. Princeton finished the regular season with a 4-3 win at Cornell; the Tigers head back to Ithaca for the postseason. Quinnipiac will be at home versus St. Lawrence, and the Saints took three of four points from the season series.

North Dakota famine continues
Michelle Karvinen was back with her NCAA team on Friday in Columbus, but North Dakota’s suffering continued as Ohio State won, 2-0. Kari Schmitt and Sara Schmitt scored the goals, and Lisa Steffes saved 32 shots. Both teams changed goaltenders to start Saturday’s rematch. Amy Menke scored first for UND midway through the opening period, but Ally Tarr tied the game five minutes later. Kendall Curtis and Danielle Gagne tallied for the Buckeyes in the final period and Chelsea Knapp made 30 saves to earn Ohio State a 3-1 victory. The defeats increased UND’s losing streak to four. North Dakota played at a 1-6-1 pace in the last month while trying to compensate for Olympic absences, and barring a miracle, needs to win the WCHA tournament to return to the NCAAs for a third straight year.

Pairings set in the WCHA
The quarterfinal slate in the WCHA is the same as it was in 2012: Minnesota hosts St. Cloud State, Wisconsin welcomes Minnesota-State on the heels of the Badgers sweeping the Mavericks in Mankato over the weekend, Bemidji State visits North Dakota, and Ohio State ventures to Minnesota-Duluth. This is the third consecutive year for the Buckeyes and Bulldogs facing off in Duluth, and they exchanged sweeps, with Ohio State coming out on top last year.

Two quarterfinals on tap in CHA
Robert Morris headed into a bye week with a sweep of Penn State, 5-2 and 4-0, the Colonials first sweep since taking two from St. Lawrence to open 2014.

Mercyhurst also gets a bye into the semifinals; the Lakers will host the final two rounds of the CHA playoffs. They had to settle for a 2-2 tie with Lindenwood in their last game after opening the series with a 4-1 triumph thanks to a Christine Bestland hat trick. Nicole Hensley made 41 saves in the tie for the Lions, and Mercyhurst’s Jenna Dingeldein scored the tying goal.

RIT swept both ends of a home-and-home series with Syracuse to garner the third seed. On home ice, the Tigers got goals from Erin Zach and Kolbee McCrea to break a 1-1 tie. When the action moved to Syracuse, Melissa Bromley netted the game-winning goal 2:31 into overtime in a 2-1 win for RIT in which Ali Binnington recorded 37 saves. Kourtney Kunichika scored in each game.

The results mean that RIT will host Penn State in a quarterfinal series, while Lindenwood ventures to Syracuse.

Hockey East quarterfinal games
Maine opened the weekend in last place, but thanks to 4-1 and 5-2 wins at Connecticut, the Black Bears moved up to fifth in the standings. They scored the final five goals in the second game to claw back from an early hole, aided by a hat trick by Audra Richards. That series shuffled the deck for the quarterfinals, where the four higher seeds will host a single game versus a team from the lower division.

It seems like a long time ago that New Hampshire got off to a strong start and led the league in the early going. The Wildcats put up a good fight but proved unable to stop a revived Northeastern. The Huskies swept a weekend series, coming back to win, 5-4, on home ice and taking over in the second period for a 4-2 victory in Durham. Brittany Esposito scored twice in the first game and improved that to a hat trick in the second. As a result, New Hampshire has the unenviable task of facing Boston College in the quarterfinal round, while Northeastern hosts Connecticut.

BC enjoyed a sweep of its own at Boston University’s expense. Lexi Bender and Andie Anastos scored in the third period, the latter with five seconds left, to give the Eagles a come-from-behind 3-2 win. Anastos had three more points on Sunday in a 5-1 triumph, giving her five points on the weekend.

BU hosts Providence. The Friars losing streak reached seven as they were swept out of Vermont. Roxanne Douville made 40 saves in a 2-1 win on Friday, and had an easier time in a 3-1 victory the next day as Amanda Pelkey had a hand in all three goals. The Catamounts next host Maine.

Golden Olympics
Once Americans get over the devastation of the tournament’s final result, and the Swedes and Finns look past the disappointment of coming home without a medal, I believe that most would concede that this was about as entertaining an Olympic competition as it would be possible to stage with these eight teams. Japan wouldn’t be able to defeat the Canadians once if the two squads squared off every day for a year, so luckily, the format used spared us watching the Japanese make a futile attempt at doing so. The rosters in the bottom tier featured far better skaters than we’ve seen in Olympics past, so although teams may have faced a disadvantage in skill, strength, and stamina, at least there were far fewer reasons to feel pity for an athlete. That emotion was reserved for those having to put up with the overmatched officiating.

Women’s D-I picks: Feb. 21

Whelp, I concede. After winning the picks race the last two years, Arlan spanked me this year, and as such wins the six-pack wager we place at the start of every year. Last week, I went 16-7 (.695) to move to 255-84-40 (.725) on the year, while Arlan went 17-6 (.739) to move to 263-76-40 (.746) on the year.

Congrats to Arlan on his win. Come back next week, as I start anew and pick the playoff races. Arlan doesn’t usually join me in those prognostications, though he is welcome to.

Friday, Feb. 21

Dartmouth at Brown
Candace: Brown wants to play spoiler, but the Big Green are shooting for the playoffs. Dartmouth 3-2
Arlan: Brown is improving but dug too deep of a hole in going winless in its first 10 ECAC games. Dartmouth 2-1

Rensselaer at Clarkson
Candace: RPI has troubled top teams this year, but won’t be able to make a dent on the Golden Knights. Clarkson 3-1
Arlan: Ultimately, it will be a case of one tie too many for the Golden Knights. Clarkson 4-0

Princeton at Colgate
Candace: Princeton has been a very uneven squad, and could be ripe for an upset. How many games behind can I finish? Nah, I’ll go with the Tigers. Princeton 3-2
Arlan: I’ll pick the favorite, even though I get the sense that Colgate is playing better and could surprise. Princeton 3-2

Quinnipiac at Cornell
Candace: This will be a close contest, but I’ll go with home ice. Cornell 4-2
Arlan: I have doubts about Cornell’s goaltending and Quinnipiac’s ability to exploit it. Cornell 3-2

Union at St. Lawrence
Candace: Union has really fallen off, and the Saints are playing for home ice in the first round. St. Lawrence 3-1
Arlan: A Union win at SLU doesn’t appear imminent, but then it didn’t look poised to win at Yale either. St. Lawrence 3-0

Harvard at Yale
Candace: Harvard won’t come out with anything but its best, which should be enough for the win. Harvard 3-1
Arlan: I don’t expect Harvard to allow the Bulldogs to sweep the season series. Harvard 2-0

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 21-22

Syracuse home-and-home with RIT
Candace: RIT has been one of my trouble teams this year, but I can’t pick an Orange sweep. Actually, sure I can. Syracuse 3-2, 3-2
Arlan: The Tigers have but one win in this series, but each held serve on home ice this year, so I’ll go with that. RIT 3-2, Syracuse 1-0

Providence at Vermont
Candace: Providence just never quite got it going this season. Vermont 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: The Friars have had a tough schedule in February, and they struggled with it. Vermont 3-2, 4-2

Wisconsin at Minnesota State
Candace: I don’t expect the Mavericks to be able to pull off a second straight major upset. Wisconsin 3-1, 3-1
Arlan: This series will likely be reprised in Madison in a week. Wisconsin 3-0, 3-1

North Dakota at Ohio State
Candace: North Dakota has been in disarray. This is likely a split. Ohio State 3-2, North Dakota 3-2
Arlan: These games carry more weight for UND than for its opponent, but that was true last week as well. North Dakota 2-1, 4-3

Bemidji State at St. Cloud State
Candace: St. Cloud hasn’t won since early January. Coincidentally, that win was against Bemidji. Bemidji State 3-1, St. Cloud 3-2
Arlan: The series has playoff implications only for the Beavers, but many teams seem to play better with nothing at stake. Bemidji State 1-0, 2-1

Minnesota-Duluth at Minnesota
Candace: The Gophers won’t take one of their major rivals lightly, even if the Bulldogs are having a down year. Minnesota 4-1, 4-1
Arlan: If these teams have ever met with less on the line, I don’t remember when it happened. Minnesota 3-1, 3-2

Saturday, Feb. 22

Quinnipiac at Colgate
Candace: Quinnipiac should be able to close the season on a good note. Quinnipiac 3-1
Arlan: The Bobcats are playing at a 4-3-4 pace in 2014, but for some reason, it feels like they’ve stumbled even more. Quinnipiac 3-2

Princeton at Cornell
Candace: I don’t expect as wild as contest as back in November, when Princeton scored four goals after falling behind 5-0, but you never know. Cornell 5-3
Arlan: The Big Red look to lock down their fifth-straight ECAC crown. Cornell 5-3

Rensselaer at St. Lawrence
Candace: Does this game end the Engineers’ season? Possibly. St. Lawrence 3-2
Arlan: SLU fights for home ice; RPI battles to continue playing. St. Lawrence 3-1

Dartmouth at Yale
Candace: Dartmouth looks to qualify for the playoffs. Dartmouth 3-2
Arlan: The season just never quite clicked for the Big Green. Yale 3-2

Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 22-23

Boston University home-and-home with Boston College
Candace: I don’t know if either team has ever swept the season series, but it might happen after this weekend. Boston College 3-2, 4-2
Arlan: The Terriers lack the depth to stay with the best teams. Boston College 5-2, 3-1

New Hampshire home-and-home with Northeastern
Candace: New Hampshire has never quite recovered after the blowup in December. Northeastern 3-1, 3-2
Arlan: Do the Wildcats have a last hurrah in them? Don’t know, I’m just happy to be done picking Hockey East for another year. Northeastern 4-1, 2-1

Women’s D-I wrap: Feb. 17

Three of four regular-season titles decided
Heading into the final week of play, the season championship has been mathematically clinched in three of the four leagues, and in each case the decisive win came on the road. By virtue of its victory at Wisconsin on Friday night, Minnesota claimed the WCHA crown. Mercyhurst captured another CHA trophy when it won on Sunday at Penn State. Boston College earned its first Hockey East season title with a win over Maine on Sunday.

Three teams remain in contention for the top rung in ECAC Hockey. Cornell holds the inside track, leading both Clarkson and Harvard by a point, thanks in large part to the Golden Knights’ win over the Crimson on Friday. Maintaining the lead in the ECAC in recent weeks has often proven precarious, so it remains to be seen whether the Big Red can close the deal when they host Quinnipiac and Princeton.

Back from the dead
At certain points of the season, No. 8 Mercyhurst’s hope off adding to its string of consecutive CHA titles looked to be fading, but the Lakers made it a dozen straight years atop the CHA. They took care of business at Penn State by scores of 4-0 and 4-1 to eliminate Robert Morris.

Amanda Makela earned both wins, including her sixth shutout. In the first game, Christie Cicero, Kaleigh Chippy, Emily Janiga, and Christine Bestland each had a goal and an assist. Bestland repeated that feat on Sunday, joined this time by Jenna Dingeldein and Molly Byrne, while Janiga contributed three helpers.

With each passing week, a possible Mercyhurst return to the NCAA tournament for a 10th straight year appears more probable as well. Lakers … Lazarus. I think there’s a similarity there if you say it fast enough.

Double the fun
The Hockey East title may have been a first for No. 7 Boston College, but it wasn’t its first championship of the week. BC claimed the Beanpot Tuesday with a 3-0 blanking of Northeastern. Corinne Boyles registered 25 saves while Taylor Wasylk, Meagan Mangene, and Melissa Bizzari lit the lamp.

BC posted twin 4-1 wins at Orono over the weekend. Haley Skarupa was one of four Eagles to score in the first game, and then she exploded for a hat trick in the third period on Sunday.

Spoiling all the fun
No. 1 Minnesota defended its WCHA title, as it took the league for the eighth time, and in the process put a damper on the festivities in Madison. The No. 2 Badgers paid honor to their senior class before Friday night’s game, and drew first blood on a power-play goal by Brittany Ammerman. That proved to be their only lead of the weekend. Dani Cameranesi ultimately scored the game-winning goal in the third period in Friday’s 3-2 Minnesota win.

On Saturday, Wisconsin was energized by an NCAA record crowd of 13,573 fans in the Kohl Center, but Amanda Leveille stopped all 24 shots by the Badgers to subdue the partisans. Kelly Terry scored the first goal and assisted on another to help the Gophers to a 4-0 triumph. The one concern for Minnesota was the loss of Hannah Brandt to injury in the final period.

Are the Olympics almost over?
For the fourth straight week, No. 4 North Dakota was unable to record a sweep while missing players due to the Olympics. This result was the most painful, as UND was swept on home ice by Minnesota State, 4-2 and 2-1. North Dakota struck first in each contest and Meghan Dufault scored in both games for the hosts, but Danielle Butters made 45 stops in the first game and another 40 in the second as the Mavericks rallied. Lauren Barnes led the charge in the opener with a goal and two assists, as Katie Johnson, Shelby Moteyunas, and Nicole Germain also tallied. Outside of Butters, the Mavericks didn’t wake until the third period on Sunday. Once they did, Kari Lundberg one-timed a pass from Barnes on a power play to tie the game. With 3:30 remaining, Nicole Germain cleaned up a rebound after Tracy McCann drove the net and depleted the defenses to stun North Dakota.

Phoebe who?
Yale did a better job of coping this weekend in the absence of Swiss Olympian Phoebe Staenz. The Bulldogs went on the road and claimed three points. Versus No. 10 Quinnipiac, Krista Yip-Chuck, Kate Martini, and Hanna Åström scored in response to earlier tallies by Bobcats Shiann Darkangelo and Nicole Connery. Quinnipiac needed a goal from Kelly Babstock with 65 seconds to play to salvage the 3-3 tie.

Princeton wasn’t as fortunate. After taking a 3-1 lead on a goal by Hilary Lloyd and two by Fiona McKenna, the Tigers had a great view of the Jackie Raines show. Raines scored four times for Yale, and Yip-Chuck added another and assisted twice as Yale won, 5-3.

The haves and the have-nots
Some separation occurred in Hockey East as the top four teams enjoyed sweeps over those in the bottom half. In addition to BC over Maine, Boston University swept Providence, Northeastern did the same to Connecticut, and Vermont took a pair from New Hampshire.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
The struggles of No. 9 Robert Morris continued. Rebecca Vint scored short-handed in the third period on Friday to give the Colonials a 2-1 win at RIT, but Ali Binnington made 22 saves to shut them out on Saturday. Celeste Brown scored the game’s only goal on a first-period power play.

No. 5 Clarkson swept on the road at No. 6 Harvard, 2-1, and Dartmouth, 6-1. Erin Ambrose scored with just over five minutes left to defeat the Crimson. Genevieve Bannon led the way with two goals and two assists in the thumping of the Big Green.

Despite the setback at the hands of the Golden Knights, Harvard enjoyed a winning week. Samantha Reber scored with 10 seconds left in overtime to defeat BU in the Beanpot consolation game, 3-2. Reber had three points to key a 5-2 win over St. Lawrence.

No. 3 Cornell survived more than it flourished in defeating Union, 2-0, and Rensselaer, 6-5. Jessica Campbell and Jillian Saulnier scored unassisted goals against the Dutchwomen in support of Paula Voorheis’ 18-save shutout. Saulnier and Hanna Bunton netted a pair apiece on Saturday. Bunton’s second tally came in overtime after Ali Svoboda scored for the Engineers with 25 seconds remaining in regulation to extend the game.

Women’s D-I picks: Feb. 14

Well, I gained back two more games on Arlan, so perhaps I’ll make my loss in the season picks race respectable after all. last week, I went 14-3-6 to move to 239-77-40 on the year, while Arlan went 12-5-6 to 246-70-40 on the year.

Perhaps I can shoot for only a four-game deficit by the end of the year. We’re picking most of the games this week too, so who knows.

Friday, Feb. 14

St. Lawrence at Dartmouth
Candace: St. Lawrence is looking to gain some ground in the ECAC race, and keep momentum after the win over Quinnipiac. Dartmouth has improved, but not enough. St. Lawrence 3-2
Arlan: Dartmouth is getting better; SLU is getting better. Guess that means the Saints are a slight favorite. St. Lawrence 3-2

Clarkson at Harvard
Candace: I think I could flip a coin and pick this game with more accuracy. The Crimson held Clarkson’s high-flying offense in check back in November; can they do it again? I need to gain ground, however, so since Arlan picked Harvard, Clarkson it is. Clarkson 3-2
Arlan: The favorite in this game changes just about every week. Harvard 2-1

Yale at Quinnipiac
Candace: Quinnipiac blew it last week after tying Clarkson. They’ll be at home, and need the win. Quinnipiac 3-1
Arlan: Vital points for both the Bulldogs and the Bobcats, but the latter are at home. Quinnipiac 2-0

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 14-15

Robert Morris at RIT
Candace: Robert Morris swept the Tigers in two close games back in December. However, RMU hasn’t won in February, so I’ll give the Tigers the benefit of the doubt in the Friday game. RIT 3-2, Robert Morris 3-2
Arlan: RMU is only one game better than RIT in 2014. Probably a split, so I’ll let Candace guess at the order. Robert Morris 2-1, 4-3

Ohio State at Bemidji State
Candace: Bemidji got a win and a tie in Ohio back in the first half, but hasn’t won since Jan. 11. Coincidentally, that date was when OSU turned around its season by tying and winning a shootout against Minnesota. Ohio State 3-1, 3-2
Arlan: I predict there will be zero bench-clearing brawls. Ohio State 4-2, 2-1

Minnesota at Wisconsin
Candace: It doesn’t pay to pick against Minnesota, but I’ll give Wisconsin the win in the Fill the Bowl game Saturday. Minnesota 3-2, Wisconsin 2-1
Arlan: The Badgers likely take something, but the last two seasons have shown there is no percentage in predicting a Gophers’ loss. Minnesota 2-1, 1-0

Saturday, Feb. 14

Clarkson at Dartmouth
Candace: Dartmouth isn’t a gimme, but the Golden Knights should come through. Clarkson 4-2
Arlan: No matter the result of their Friday game at Harvard, the Golden Knights will have to refocus quickly. Clarkson 4-1

St. Lawrence at Harvard
Candace: I see no road to an upset in this one. Harvard 2-1
Arlan: The Crimson are 14-2-1 versus the Saints over the last seven seasons. Harvard 3-1

Yale at Princeton
Candace: Princeton looked awfully good last weekend. Princeton 3-1
Arlan: Yale is battling, but this will be a tough road game. Princeton 3-2

Cornell at Rensselaer
Candace: The Big Red will keep pace in the ECAC. Cornell 4-2
Arlan: If the Big Red get help from Clarkson or SLU, they could claim a fifth straight ECAC title despite losing to both Harvard and Clarkson last month. Cornell 3-1

Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 14-15

Providence home-and-home with Boston University
Candace: Boston University looked good against Harvard, but made a big mistake that cost them in OT. I think the Terriers, playing at home, should come through. Boston University 4-2, 4-1
Arlan: For much of the season, Providence had defensive issues. Now the Friars are struggling to score. Boston University 5-1, 3-2

Boston College at Maine
Candace: The Eagles had a Beanpot hangover last weekend against Connecticut, so I think they’ll be extra on guard against that this weekend. Boston College 3-1, 4-1
Arlan: The Eagles should survive both the bus trip and the Black Bears. Boston College 2-1, 6-2

Connecticut at Northeastern
Candace: Northeastern has been one of the hotter teams in the country of late. Northeastern 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: A Beanpot hangover is possible, and Connecticut is .500 over its last 10 games, but I’ll stick with the percentages. Northeastern 3-2, 2-1

Vermont at New Hampshire
Candace: I’ve done dreadfully in picking New Hampshire games, so I’ll agree with Arlan’s picks so I don’t lose any more ground. Vermont 3-1, 3-2
Arlan: After a three-game winning streak at home, UNH has now lost six straight overall. Vermont 2-1, 4-2

Minnesota State at North Dakota
Candace: North Dakota is really missing some of its players who are in Sochi, but should come through. North Dakota 3-1, 2-1
Arlan: This series is not the slam dunk it might seem. North Dakota 1-0, 3-1

Women’s D-I wrap: Feb. 10

Losing control

A couple of ranked teams were unable to take care of business on home ice, and in the process, lost control of their conference races.

No. 3 Clarkson surrendered third-period goals to Amanda Colin and Shiann Darkangelo of Quinnipiac and had to settle for a 3-3 tie. Carly Mercer had scored twice in the middle stanza to give the Golden Knights the upper hand. Saturday’s contest followed a similar script with a different opponent. Brittany Styner scored twice in the second period to give Clarkson a lead; Kelsey Koelzer and Fiona McKenna struck in the third to earn a 2-2 tie for Princeton. The two points lost leave the Golden Knights in third place and unable to catch Cornell if the Big Red win their remaining four games.

No. 9 Robert Morris continued its slump, losing a third-period lead of its own to Syracuse in a 3-3 tie, before falling to the Orange, 3-1. In the opener, Brittany Howard had scored twice in combination with a Katie Fergus goal to give the Colonials the lead. Syracuse got an equalizer from Brittney Krebs at 11:28 of the third period; Melissa Piacentini tallied the other two markers, and Margot Scharfe and Allie LaCombe assisted on all three. Game two was all Orange, as Julie Knerr scored twice in the second period and Jessica Sibley assisted on both after opening the scoring 26 seconds into the game. Jenesica Drinkwater saved 37 of 38 shots in the Syracuse net. RMU is now three points down in the CHA race.

Beanpot rematch

Northeastern and No. 7 Boston College won Beanpot semifinals over Harvard and Boston University respectively to set up a rematch of last year’s championship game.

Kelly Wallace scored twice as the Huskies took a 4-1 lead through two periods and held on for a 4-3 win over the Crimson, who got a two-goal effort from Mary Parker.

BC led 3-0 after a period in the second semi and BU was unable to challenge beyond a Sara Lefort goal. Haley Skarupa had a pair of tallies after earlier strikes from Taylor Wasylk and Emily Field for the Eagles in their 4-1 victory.

Too little, too late?

Brown attempted to get back into the race for an ECAC playoff spot with its first sweep of the season, taking down Rensselaer, 3-0, and Union, 2-1. The Bears patched together some offense to topple RPI: Kaitlyn Keon scored on the power play, Sarah Robson converted a penalty shot and Maddie Woo hit an empty net. Aubree Moore needed 51 saves to protect her shutout. On Saturday, Moore outdueled Shenae Lundberg as the Bears came back to win behind goals from Jessica Hoyle and Monica Masucci, her first of the year.

Fans of February

A season ago, Lindenwood celebrated the arrival of February with a seven-game unbeaten streak. This February has produced a three-game winning streak for a Lions team that was 2-21-2 entering the month.

This week’s wins came on the road at Penn State by scores of 2-1 and 4-3. On Saturday, Alyssa West and Caitlyn Post scored first-period goals for Lindenwood, and Jenna Welch pulled Penn State within a goal. That’s where the scoring stopped, as Nicole Hensley made 45 saves, including 21 in a final period dominated by PSU.

Sunday’s game required an overtime goal by Kendra Broad to earn Lindenwood’s win. Broad and linemates Jocelyn Slattery and Lyndsay Kirkham all had at least a goal and an assist, with Kirkham contributing an extra assist. Penn State’s line of Amy Peterson, Laura Bowman and Hannah Hoenshell countered with two-point games each. Hensley recorded another 44 stops.

How the rest of the top 10 fared

Cornell, tied for No. 5, swept a home-and-home series from Colgate, but the Big Red struggled a bit with the road game. Cassandra Poudrier scored with just over three minutes to play to force overtime; Jillian Saulnier netted a game-winning goal with just 19 seconds left in the extra session to give Cornell a 4-3 win. Caroline DeBruin scored on a penalty shot and Emily Fulton had three points to overcome a two-goal game from the Raiders’ Taylor Volpe. Back on home ice, Alyssa Gagliardi broke a 1-1 tie in the second period and Hayleigh Cudmore provided the insurance goal in a 3-1 Cornell win.

The other No. 5, Harvard, got a 4-1 ECAC win at Dartmouth to go with its Beanpot loss. Miye D’Oench and Hillary Crowe each scored twice.

No. 2 Wisconsin got a sweep at Ohio State, 3-0 and 3-2. Brittany Ammerman scored three goals and Alex Rigsby backstopped both games.

No. 1 Minnesota recorded a home sweep over Bemidji State, 10-0 and 5-3, with Hannah Brandt scoring twice in each game.

Meghan Dufault returned to the lineup for No. 4 North Dakota and her three assists helped her team rally from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Minnesota-Duluth, 4-3. Josefine Jakobsen had two goals and an assist, while Jamie Kenyon netted a pair for the Bulldogs. UMD staged the rally on Sunday from two goals down to a 2-2 overtime tie and a shootout win after Hannah Bramm tipped in the tying goal with four minutes to play in regulation.

Connecticut got goals from Kayla Campero and Stephanie Raithby, and Elaine Chuli was up to the task on all 45 shots she faced from No. 7 Boston College in a 2-0 triumph for the Huskies.

No. 8 Quinnipiac followed up its tie at Clarkson by falling 3-0 at St. Lawrence. The Bobcats were unable to best Carmen MacDonald in 24 shots. Kailee Heidersbach netted two goals early and Mel Desrochers added the third.

Only series with Penn State and Lindenwood stand between No. 10 Mercyhurst and yet another CHA crown after the Lakers swept RIT, 5-1 and 5-2. Jenna Dingeldein and Christine Bestland produced a goal and two helpers in the opener. Dingeldein, Christie Cicero, and Kaleigh Chippy had a goal and an assist in the second win.

Women’s D-I picks: Feb. 7

Every time I even try to pick games that might allow me to gain ground on Arlan, I blow it. Last week, I went 20-4 (.833), while Arlan went 21-3 (.875). On the year, I am 225-74-34 (.726), while Arlan is 234-65-34 (.753).

Looks like I am dead to rights with only four weeks left.

Friday, Feb. 7

Quinnipiac at Clarkson
Candace: I’d like to try for the upset pick, but Clarkson has looked really good, and is home. Clarkson 4-1
Arlan: Arlan: I expect that the Golden Knights want to make a statement here. Clarkson 4-1

Harvard at Dartmouth
Candace: I thought Dartmouth might be over its malaise, but the Big Green’s results last week proved me wrong. Harvard 4-2
Arlan: Harvard looks a little more vulnerable with each passing week, and I’m sure the Big Green would love to exploit that. Harvard 3-1

Princeton at St. Lawrence
Candace: I picked against the Tigers last week and it cost me. Princeton 2-1
Arlan: This is a vote for home ice; beyond that, it looks even. St. Lawrence 2-1

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 7-8

RIT at Mercyhurst
Candace: The Lakers already lost once to RIT; it won’t happen again. Mercyhurst 4-2, 4-1
Arlan: All those banners hang in Erie because the Lakers figure out a way to win these games. Mercyhurst 4-3, 3-1

Syracuse at Robert Morris
Candace: The Colonials need to bounce back after losing to Lindenwood. Home ice should help in two close games. Robert Morris 2-1, 2-1
Arlan: Arlan: Which direction do the Colonials go after the crushing loss to Lindenwood? They still control a share of the CHA title. Robert Morris 1-0, 2-1

St. Cloud State at Minnesota State
Candace: This is a total split, and since I need to try to make my defeat by Arlan respectable, I’ll pick the opposite. Minnesota State 2-1, St. Cloud 3-1
Arlan: The fight to escape the WCHA cellar. Ever see “Inglorious Basterds?” I can hear Brad Pitt saying, “You know, fighting in a basement offers a lot of difficulties. Number one being, you’re fighting in a basement!” St. Cloud State 1-0, Minnesota State 2-1

Wisconsin at Ohio State
Candace: Ohio State has been hot the second half, but Wisconsin has the Buckeyes’ number. Wisconsin 3-1, 3-2
Arlan: The Badgers have more riding on this series, because the Buckeyes likely finish fifth no matter if they get points or not. Wisconsin 2-1, 4-0

Bemidji State at Minnesota
Candace: I’m sure at least one of these games will be really close, but it won’t prevent a Gophers’ sweep. Minnesota 4-1, 4-0
Arlan: It’s been awhile since a scrappy effort from BSU has produced points versus the Gophers. Minnesota 5-1, 3-0

Saturday, Feb. 8

Princeton at Clarkson
Candace: Clarkson continues to roll. Clarkson 3-1
Arlan: The Golden Knights can’t afford to look ahead a week to Harvard. Clarkson 4-1

Quinnipiac at St. Lawrence
Candace: I’d like to pick the Saints, but the last time I did, I was wrong. Quinnipiac 3-2
Arlan: Probably a tie, but I can’t pick a tie. Quinnipiac 2-1

Rensselaer at Yale
Candace: I was really surprised Yale came out flat last weekend. Hopefully, home ice helps. Yale 3-2
Arlan: The winner of this game likely makes the ECAC tournament, but the loser’s odds are probably about even.  Rensselaer 2-1

New Hampshire at Boston University
Candace: New Hampshire seems to be fading fast. Boston University 3-1
Arlan: BU had a rough January, but UNH hasn’t had a winning month since October. Boston University 4-1

Northeastern at Providence
Candace: I picked Providence last week and got burnt. Northeastern 3-1
Arlan: One is hot, and the other is not. Northeastern 4-3

Boston College at Connecticut
Candace: The Eagles move one game closer to the Hockey East title. Boston College 3-1
Arlan: These are the type of games where the Eagles tend to be a tad flat, but they should win anyway. Boston College 2-0

Maine at Vermont
Candace: Maine will make this close, but I’m going with home ice. Vermont 2-1
Arlan: Maine was winless in its first 11 league games, but has won three of its last five. Vermont 3-1

Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 8-9

North Dakota at Minnesota-Duluth
Candace: OT will happen in at least once, and a tie wouldn’t surprise me, since they had one last fall.  North Dakota 3-1, 3-0
Arlan: Series between these teams usually result in splits and overtime. I don’t think UND can sweep if Meghan Dufault is still out. North Dakota 3-2, 2-1

Tuesday, Feb. 11

Northeastern at Boston College (Beanpot Championship)
Candace: Northeastern has been one of the hottest teams in the last month, but I think the Eagles recapture the title. Boston College 3-1
Arlan: I think that the Huskies defend their title with everything they have, but the Eagles have more. Chloe Desjardins will have to commit larceny to flip the result. Boston College 4-2

Harvard versus Boston University (Beanpot Consolation)
Candace: This one could be a coin flip, but I’m not completely convinced the Terriers are fully back. Harvard 2-1
Arlan: Neither team can afford to start as slowly as it did in its Beanpot semifinal loss. Harvard 3-1

Women’s D-I wrap: Feb. 2

It’s getting crowded in here
January saw a number of games attract larger than typical crowds, and the month’s final day continued the trend. North Dakota drew 5,835 as it hosted Minnesota on Friday night with a $1 ticket promotion to attempt to set a new program attendance record, which it did, nearly doubling the old mark of 3,200.

Attendance for Colgate’s game hosting Brown on Friday to promote Autism Awareness, in conjunction with the advocacy organization Autism Speaks, was 1,124. The teams provided the fans with extra entertainment when the Bears battled back on goals by Ariana Rucker and Vanessa Welten to force overtime, offsetting earlier Raiders tallies by Melissa Kueber and Megan Wickens. Colgate fans went home happy when Taylor Volpe wristed in the game-winner 4:15 into overtime.

Colgate completed its first weekend sweep of the season with a 2-1 win over Yale on Saturday. Wickens and Kueber scored again, and Ashlynne Rando made 21 saves in holding the Bulldogs scoreless until the latter minutes of the game.

Lindenwood, Hensley, and other Colonials bedevilments
Some upsets come out of nowhere, while others are foreshadowed when one looks in the right place. A week after No. 8 Robert Morris got the split it needed with Mercyhurst to retain control of the CHA, the Colonials made a road trip to Lindenwood.

The weekend started well enough for RMU. Rebecca Vint posted her second consecutive hat trick to propel the Colonials to a 6-1 win on Friday night, with Katie Fergus and Brittany Howard also having three-point games.

On Saturday, the plan was to give Jessica Dodds a day off in net, but instead, it wound up as an off day for all of the Colonials. Lindenwood jumped on Courtney Vinet with two goals from its seven first-period shots, and Dodds was back between the pipes for the final two frames, not faring much better. Dodds was eventually saddled with the 4-2 loss when the Lions beat her twice in 11 shots. Lyndsay Kirkham and Kendra Broad scored twice apiece and assisted on the other goals, while Jocelyn Slattery added three helpers. Thea Imbrogno struck twice for RMU on the power play. Nicole Hensley continued tormenting the Colonials, making 26 of her 55 saves in the final 20 minutes.

Three of Hensley’s seven wins last year as a Lindenwood rookie came at the Colonials’ expense. She also set a record with 90 saves in a CHA Tournament game RMU eventually won in the third OT.

As players leave, others return
More players departed for Olympic stints, but others returned from injury to bolster lineups. Northeastern’s Claire Santostefano had two assists in her first game back, and just as importantly, gave the Huskies 14 skaters in their 4-2 win over Vermont. Katie MacSorley scored twice, Kelly Wallace added a goal and a helper, and Chloe Desjardins made 30 stops as the Huskies got their season record back to the .500 mark.

No. 7 Boston College welcomed back leading scorer Haley Skarupa after a four-game absence. She didn’t miss a beat, scoring twice in support of Corinne Boyles’ 23-save, 5-0 shutout. Junior Emily Field also had a goal, giving her 100 points as an Eagle.

Lauren Slebodnick was back in net for No. 6 Cornell, at least part of the time. Slebodnick came on in relief to start the third period on Friday night versus Yale with the game knotted at 3-3. She made seven saves in a perfect 20 minutes, picking up the 6-3 win. Six different players scored and five had two-point efforts for the Big Red. Slebodnick made the start on Saturday against Brown and left the game at 3:01 of the third period once her team took a 4-0 lead, and that’s how the game ended. Jillian Saulnier and Alyssa Gagliardi each had a goal and an assist, giving them four-point weekends.

Terriers regroup
Boston University rebounded from four straight losses that knocked it out of the rankings and the Hockey East lead by sweeping Connecticut, 2-1 and 5-2. Goals from Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga and Taylor Holze, a pair of Kaleigh Fratkin helpers, and a 20-save performance by Kerrin Sperry proved to be just enough in the opener in Storrs. Back in Boston, the top line took over as BU scored the game’s final three goals. Louise Warren had a hat trick plus a helper, and wings Samantha Sutherland and Sarah Lefort had three-point games, with Lefort netting the other two goals. Sarah MacDonnell and Michela Cava both had a goal plus an assist for the Huskies.

Buckeyes still ascending
Ohio State swept at St. Cloud State to improve to 6-1-3 in 2014. Goalie Lisa Steffes got plenty of support in the 4-1 and 6-1 wins; Claudia Kepler and Julia McKinnon had multi-point games in each. The victories and Minnesota-Duluth’s sweep of Bemidji State enabled the Buckeyes to move ahead of the Beavers and into fifth place in the WCHA.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 10 Mercyhurst celebrated a return to the rankings with a road sweep of Syracuse, 3-2 and 2-1. Sophomore Hannah Bale scored in each game, her first goals as a Laker. Amanda Makela totaled 57 saves in backing both victories. Coupled with the Robert Morris loss, the points moved the Lakers into a tie atop the CHA.

It was close but no cigar for Princeton versus No. 5 Harvard. Cassidy Tucker scored a rare power-play goal off of the Crimson penalty kill early in the third period to knot the score at 2-2. The Tigers committed only three penalties of their own in the game, but two came back-to-back midway in the frame, and Mary Parker capitalized to give Harvard a 3-2 win. Parker scored another third-period goal on Saturday to gain the Crimson a 2-2 tie at No. 9 Quinnipiac. Miye D’Oench had the other Harvard tally, while Shiann Darkangelo and Emma Woods lit the lamp for the Bobcats.

The Bobcats opened the weekend with a 3-1 triumph over Dartmouth, giving Rick Seeley his 100th win as Quinnipiac coach. After Emma Korbs opened the scoring for Dartmouth in the second period, Emma Woods drew Quinnipiac even in the stanza’s final minute and Morgan Fritz-Ward and Nicole Connery found paydirt for the Bobcats in the third period.

No. 4 Clarkson continued to look like a team on a mission, trouncing Union, 5-0, and Rensselaer, 5-1. Jamie Lee Rattray, the country’s leading scorer, scored a goal in each game and added four assists on Friday. Erica Howe’s shutout of the Dutchwomen gives her 10 on the season, a national best. Shannon MacAulay potted a pair of goals versus the Engineers.

A short-handed No. 3 North Dakota proved to be no match for No. 1 Minnesota, in more ways than one. Playing without three top scorers and a top defenseman due to international team absences and an injury to Meghan Dufault, UND scored the first and last goal of the weekend, but the Gophers scored eight straight in sweeping, 5-1 and 3-1. Minnesota’s power play converted on its first five chances to decide the series. Rookies Kate Schipper and Dani Cameranesi had two-goal games, while Meghan Lorence extended her personal streak to six straight games with a goal.

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