Welcome to Division I!
After months and months of planning and preparation, Merrimack’s program is off the ground. The debut may not be the stuff of fairy tales, but it certainly wasn’t disastrous either.
The Warriors’ inaugural game drew an announced crowd of 1,781 as they hosted St. Cloud State. The home team provided plenty of thrills, scoring four straight power-play goals to turn a two-goal deficit into a two-goal advantage midway through the final period. It was not to be, as the Huskies responded with a four-goal burst of their own, including three power-play goals, to record a 6-4 victory. Katelyn Rae had the honor of scoring the first goal in Merrimack history. Paige Sorenson, Jackie Pieper, and Paige Voight also found the back of the net for the hosts. Defenseman Lexi Slattery led the attack for SCSU with two goals and a pair of assists.
The Huskies completed the sweep on Saturday. Merrimack’s Felila Manu scored on the game’s first shift, and Dominique Kremer later tied the game, 2-2, but that was it for good news for the Warriors. SCSU again scored the final four goals of the game and triumphed, 6-2. Six different Huskies scored, and Brittney Anderson and Molly Illikainen had a trio of assists. Both teams can work on their penalty kills, as each yielded five goals while short-handed on the weekend.
How the top 10 fared
It was a good week to be ranked. None of the top 10 teams lost, although there were some close calls.
No. 1 Minnesota got shutouts from both Amanda Leveille and Sidney Peters and swept Penn State, 2-0 and 5-0. Celine Whitlinger’s 41 saves weren’t enough for the hosts in the opener, as Milica McMillen’s power-play tally and Sarah Potomak’s first collegiate goal into an empty net made the Gophers victorious. Kelly Pannek and Hannah Brandt netted a pair apiece and Megan Wolfe chipped in a goal and an assist as Minnesota cruised in the second game.
No. 2 Boston College grabbed early leads both days and held the lead the rest of the way as it swept visiting Minnesota-Duluth, 4-1 and 4-2. Andie Anastos scored twice in the opener, and the Eagles got single goals from Dana Trivigno and Alex Carpenter. Down 4-0 by the second intermission, a tally from Lara Stalder was all UMD could must. Carpenter completed her hat trick into an empty net in a slightly more-competitive game two, after Megan Keller had opened the scoring. Michela Cava and Maria Lindh pulled the Bulldogs within one on separate occasions, but the visitors could get no closer. Katie Burt earned both wins.
Providence and No. 3 Wisconsin played their series in San Jose, Calif. Outside of Kate Friesen scoring the first goal of the weekend to put the Friars up, little went PC’s way. Annie Pankowski was the first of five Badgers to answer, and UW closed out the 5-1 win. Pankowski started the scoring on Saturday on a power play, and completed her hat trick with a pair of short-handed goals as Wisconsin romped, 8-1. Sarah Nurse scored twice, giving her three goals on the weekend.
No. 5 Clarkson took both ends of a nonconference, home-and-home series with St. Lawrence. In the opener at Cheel Arena, Olivia Howe put the hosts up in the first period, freshman Loren Gabel doubled the lead in the second, and Cayley Mercer took advantage of one of those trademark early-extra-attacker gambles by Chris Wells to give the Golden Knights a three-goal lead. Shea Tiley saved all 23 shots as Savannah Harmon finished of the scoring in a 4-0 win for Clarkson. Switching to Appleton Arena for the second game, SLU was the squad that scored in each of the first two periods, with freshman Kayla Nielsen and Hannah Miller doing the damage. Another freshman, goaltender Sonjia Shelly, was doing all she could to earn the Saints their first win of the season, stopping everything despite being peppered with 32 shots in the first 40 minutes, but the dam broke in the third. Harmon and Mercer scored to knot the score, and freshman Rhyen McGill won it for Clarkson with 3:15 remaining in regulation.
No. 6 North Dakota got a scare in its opener at Rensselaer. The Engineers had only four shots in the first period, but half of them found a way past Shelby Amsley-Benzie and the hosts were up, 2-0, thanks to goals by Alexa Gruschow and Laura Horwood. Sam LaShomb started a comeback, and Halli Krzyzaniak scored twice in the second period to give UND a lead. But RPI wasn’t done, as freshman Josefine Hansen tied the score in the final frame. Senior Becca Kohler scored at 18:01, and UND was able to close out the 4-3 victory. North Dakota had an easier time in the second game, taking a first-period lead on Layla Marvin’s short-handed goal. Meghan Dufault scored the eventual game-winner in the second period, and LaShomb and Kohler added goals in the third, the last into an empty net. Rookie Taylor Schwalbe’s goal was the only response RPI could generate as it fell, 4-1.
Mercyhurst avoided the sweep at No. 7 Quinnipiac. The Lakers came from behind twice in the opener to gain a 3-3 tie. Emma Woods and freshman Melissa Samoskevich gave the hosts a 2-0 lead, but Emily Janiga responded with two goals for Mercyhurst. Woods put the Bobcats back on top in the third period, but rookie Sarah Hine scored an extra-attacker goal with 24 seconds left to produce the stalemate. Taylar Cianfarano opened the scoring on Saturday for Quinnipiac, but the Lakers rallied yet again on the strength of a Jenna Dingeldein goal. However, Meghan Turner scored early in the second period, and the Bobcats made this lead stand up, thanks to Sydney Rossman’s 25 saves in earning the 2-1 win, the first for new coach Cassandra Turner.
No. 8 Boston University was another team that was pushed to the limit by an underdog. Senior Brittany Berisoff’s goal had Connecticut on top, 1-0, until freshman Sammy Davis responded for the Terriers with a third-period goal. Senior Rebecca Russo gave BU a 2-1 triumph when she found the net with a mere three tenths of a second before the final horn. Victoria Hanson made 20 stops to garner the win, and Elaine Chulie was denied despite turning aside 46 shots for UConn. The Terriers fashioned another comeback win versus Maine, 4-2. Down quickly on the road, 2-0, on goals by Audra Richards and Emilie Brigham, BU drew even on second-period strikes by Davis and Russo. The Black Bears committed four consecutive penalties in the third period, and Davis capitalized on the final one, burying a rebound. Rebecca Leslie sealed it with an empty-net goal while shorthanded.
No. 9 Bemidji State came home from Vermont victorious after sweeping the Catamounts, 2-1 and 3-0. Emma Terres and Madison Hutchinson gave the Beavers an early 2-0 lead on Friday. Bridget Baker halved the lead for UVM, Brittni Mowat needed only 11 saves to preserve the win, as 31 saves for Madison Litchfield weren’t enough. Mowat was the busier of the two on Saturday, but she controlled all 30 shots sent her way to post the shutout. BSU got a goal in each period, with credit going to Ciscely Nelson, Kristin Huber, and Hanna Moher. Hutchinson had a pair of assists and finished with four points for the series. Frustrations boiled over at the final buzzer, with the two teams combining for three major penalties, plus two misconducts and a game misconduct.
A winning record
Minnesota State endured a miserable 2014-15 season, winning only three times. After four games, the Mavericks sit on the good side of the .500 line in John Harrington’s first season behind the bench, after salvaging a split at RIT.
The Tigers took the opener, 2-1, in comeback fashion. Elin Johansson scored the game’s first goal at 5:50 of the third period. Scott McDonald called timeout, RIT regrouped, Cassie Clayton tied it up 83 seconds later, and Lindsey Stenason potted the game-winning goal with 21 ticks left. Brooke Stoddart recorded 26 saves in earning the win.
On Saturday, MSU jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on goals from freshman Emily Harris, Hannah Davidson, and Johansson. RIT closed to within one on the first collegiate goal for Mallory Rushton and a short-handed effort by Jess Paton. Freshman Jordan McLaughlin’s third-period goal boosted the lead back to 4-2, and Brianna Quade kept it right there, finishing with 33 saves.
A successful debut
Ohio State got a road sweep at Lindenwood in Jenny Potter’s first series behind the bench. Brittania Gillanders scored first for the Lions just 69 seconds into the weekend, but OSU rattled off five unanswered goals to win, 5-1. Five different Buckeyes hit the net, and Stacy Danczak made 31 saves with the single blemish.
Ohio State was able to hold off Lindenwood in the second game and won, 3-2. Kendall Curtis scored twice, giving her three goals on the weekend, and freshman Maddy Field tallied in each game. Shara Jasper and Rachel Weich converted for the Lions.
Another strong recruiting class may make a difference, as Colgate produced a convincing sweep of visiting Robert Morris, 5-3 and 6-0. Newcomer Shae Labbe had three goals and an assist on the weekend and Breanne Wilson-Bennett scored twice. Ashlynne Rando earned both wins, including the 31-save shutout.
A hat trick from Audra Richards helped Maine spoil New Hampshire’s home opener, 4-0. Brooke Stacey scored the other goal, and Meghann Treacy denied all 29 shots to get the shutout.
Union and host Connecticut skated to a 2-2 deadlock. Jacyn Reeves and Jamie Smith had the Dutchwomen up early, but the Huskies drew even on goals by Caitlin Hewes and Brittany Berisoff. Melissa Black made 35 saves for Union, and Annie Belanger turned away 26 attempts for UConn.