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.

Women’s D-I picks: Jan. 31

I gained one whole game on Arlan last week, going 18-5-3 while Arlan went 17-6-2. On the year, I am 205-70-34, while Arlan is 213-62-34. He’s still rocking it, and I’m still trying to come back.

Friday, Jan. 31

Yale at Cornell
Candace: Yes, I like Yale, and no, the Bulldogs can’t beat Cornell on the road. Cornell 5-1
Arlan: Some frustration has likely built up for the Big Red. Cornell 6-1

Harvard at Princeton
Candace: This will be closer than it should be, but Harvard should pull through. Harvard 3-2
Arlan: Picking the Crimson is likely walking through a minefield; one step will prove costly, but it’s hard to predict when. Harvard 2-1

Dartmouth at Quinnipiac
Candace: I’d like to give Dartmouth the benefit of the doubt, but can’t. Quinnipiac 2-1
Arlan: The Bobcats are rested, but they can’t look past Dartmouth in anticipation of Harvard. Quinnipiac 4-2

St. Lawrence at Rensselaer
Candace: Can the Saints get momentum off the Cornell tie? Something tells me yes. St. Lawrence 3-1
Arlan: RPI’s 13 losses are by a total of 22 goals, and it scored 18 times in those defeats. Reminds me of a John Greenleaf Whittier quotation my mom used to say, “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been.’” St. Lawrence 2-1

Mercyhurst at Syracuse
Candace: Syracuse has fallen off a bit since some big early season wins. Mercyhurst 3-2, 4-2
Arlan: Possible letdown for the Lakers after the RMU series, plus a quick Saturday turnaround; however, Syracuse never beats them. Mercyhurst 4-2, 2-1

Boston University home-and-home with Connecticut
Candace: Last week did not go as anticipated. I’ll guess home team for each. Connecticut 3-2, Boston University 4-2
Arlan: Will BU’s troubles end as January does? Sure, why not. Connecticut 4-3, Boston University 3-2

Minnesota-Duluth at Bemidji State
Candace: This could be a preview of the first round WCHA series. I think at least one game goes to overtime. Minnesota-Duluth 3-2, 2-1
Arlan: Better UMD teams than this one have had struggles in Bemidji. Minnesota-Duluth 4-0, Bemidji State 2-0

Ohio State at St. Cloud State
Candace: OSU is getting better, and should just hold off the Huskies. Ohio State 2-1, 2-1
Arlan: What’s the safer pick, hotter team or home ice? I’ll go with the former. Ohio State 1-0, 3-1

Minnesota at North Dakota
Candace: This will be a dogfight, even with the players UND is missing, but the Gophers should sweep. Minnesota 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: The Gophers are more used to playing in front of the big crowd they may see Friday than they are facing a ranked opponent; it’s been more than 10 weeks since the latter. Minnesota 3-2, 2-1

Saturday, Feb. 1

Yale at Colgate
Candace: Yale will need to bounce back after Saturday’s loss. Yale 3-2
Arlan: The role of spoiler is all that Colgate has left, and Yale looks ripe for the picking, but it’s hard to pick a team with two league wins. Yale 4-3

Dartmouth at Princeton
Candace: Do I dare pick the Big Green? Why not? Dartmouth 3-2
Arlan: How much improved is Dartmouth? Princeton 4-3

Harvard at Quinnipiac
Candace: This will be an interesting game, but I think Harvard will be on guard against a letdown that loses them the ECAC crown. Harvard 2-1
Arlan: The Bobcats must really want a win over Harvard, but the Crimson only lose to unranked teams. Harvard 1-0

Clarkson at Rensselaer
Candace: Again, this should probably be a close game, considering that RPI plays well when facing top teams, but I think the Engineers fall short. Clarkson 2-1
Arlan: I really feel like the Engineers are going to win this one for some reason, but Candace won’t give me odds or points or nothing. Clarkson 3-2

Providence at Boston College
Candace: BC takes another step toward its first Hockey East regular season title. Boston College 6-4
Arlan: It seems like I’m always predicting the same scores. Boston College 8-3

Vermont at Northeastern
Candace: This could go to OT, but ultimately I have to go with the home team. Northeastern 2-1
Arlan: The Huskies display renewed purpose. Northeastern 4-1

Sunday, Feb. 2

Vermont at Providence
Candace: Home ice seems to make a big difference for Providence. Providence 4-2
Arlan: Every time I pick Providence, the Friars lose, and I think Candace knows that, so I won’t pick them. Vermont 5-3

Tuesday, Feb. 4

St. Lawrence at Syracuse
Candace: St. Lawrence is 0-for-4 against CHA teams this season. Syracuse 2-1
Arlan: The Orange have as many wins as Cornell does. Syracuse 2-1

Boston University at Boston College (Beanpot)
Candace: I think BU will get up for this game in a big way, but fall short. Boston College 3-2
Arlan: If the Terriers aren’t out of their funk, then this could get ugly fast. Boston College 6-2

Northeastern at Harvard (Beanpot)
Candace: Again a squeaker, but Emerance Maschmeyer outduels Chloe Desjardins. Harvard 3-2
Arlan: It’ll come down to a Harvard bounce — or maybe even a shootout. Harvard 2-1

Women’s D-I wrap: Jan. 27

Olympic absences, overtimes, and other significant results
We’ve reached that point of an Olympic year where players start to disappear off of their college rosters as they join their national teams for camps leading up to the Sochi Games. That can impact conference races or national positioning.

Six of Friday’s games went beyond 60 minutes. In general, it appears that the field has become more tightly bunched as the season has progressed. Most of the squads that struggled initially are proving to be more competitive as they gain experience.

Showdowns in the CHA and ECAC provided more insight as to how those races will unfold, and Boston College continues to pull away in Hockey East.

Yale and Brown play historic series
The Bulldogs and the Bears played a noteworthy home-and-home series. Friday’s match in New Haven drew a program-record crowd of 1,124 fans to watch a 2-2 tie in the White Out for Mandi. That bettered the attendance mark set at the White Out for Mandi of 1,066 on Nov. 12, 2010 versus Rensselaer. Early estimates of the donations to the Mandi Schwartz Foundation from the contest were at least $29,000.

In the game, Phoebe Staenz gave Yale a first-period lead when she picked off a pass at neutral ice, flew up the rink and split the defense, and finished by zipping a shot to the top corner. Catherine LeBoeuf tied the score on a second-period power play, but Jamie Haddad put the Bulldogs back on top midway through the third period. With under three minutes to play, Jessica Hoyle pulled Brown even, and that’s how the game ended. Two of the circuit’s top goalies battled to a stalemate, with Aubree Moore making 31 saves for the Bears and Yale’s Jaimie Leonoff responding with 29 saves of her own.

On home ice in Providence on Saturday, Brown celebrated 50 years of the program. Brittany Moorehead staked the Bears to a lead halfway through the first period, and that held up until Krista Yip-Chuck struck short-handed for the visitors to ignite a third-period rally. The Bulldogs added two additional goals at six-minute intervals by Haddad and Tara Tomimoto to earn a 3-1 victory. Yale is now unbeaten in its last five games, a feat it last accomplished in early 2007.

Robert Morris finally falls
No. 8 Robert Morris saw a lengthy unbeaten streak of its own come to an end on Saturday. The Colonials hadn’t been bested in their previous 14 skates before losing at Mercyhurst, 5-3, as each team was whistled for a dozen penalties. The Lakers charged out of the gate, taking a 2-0 lead as they outshot the visitors, 17-0, in the opening 20 minutes. In defeat, Rebecca Vint had the type of hat trick Gordie Howe would approve, scoring all three RMU goals on power plays and adding a trio of minors. Thea Imbrogno assisted on all three. Mercyhurst got three power-play goals of its own, but added a couple more while the teams were at full strength. Shelby Bram, Christine Bestland, and Molly Byrne all had three-point games for the Lakers and Kaleigh Chippy tallied twice. Rookie Jessica Dodds took her first loss of the year, having stayed undefeated through her first 19 decisions.

In spite of losing the battle, the Colonials may have done enough to win the CHA war. They dominated the second period on Friday, owning a 13-1 advantage in shots and scoring three times. Mackenzie Johnston found the net twice and Vint struck while on a penalty kill. All that the Lakers could muster was a late goal by Byrne on a power play with an extra attacker on the ice as they lost, 3-1.

The results keep RMU atop the CHA standings by a game, so Mercyhurst will need help to extend its streak of league titles.

Clarkson jumps back into ECAC picture
No. 6 Clarkson thrust itself back into the race in ECAC Hockey by winning twice, most notably upending No. 4 Cornell, 3-1. Jamie Lee Rattray, the country’s leading scorer, assisted on Vanessa Gagnon’s goal in the first period and scored an insurance goal in the second stanza. Carly Mercer had the game’s first tally for the Golden Knights, while Brittany Styner and Erin Ambrose each had a pair of helpers. Clarkson opened the weekend by dumping Colgate, 5-2; Rattray netted a hat trick plus an assist, Ambrose assisted four times, and Mercer had three points.

The Big Red managed only a single point from their North Country trip, as they had to settle for a frustrating 1-1 tie at St. Lawrence on Friday. Carmen MacDonald stymied Cornell, turning aside 51 shots. Jenna Marks gave the Saints a lead 12 minutes in, and it took more than two periods before Hanna Bunton was able to score the equalizer. Paula Voorheis played both games in the Big Red net.

North Dakota wobbles but survives
No. 3 North Dakota was playing without three of its top four scorers, but managed at 3-3 tie and a 2-1 win as it hosted Bemidji State. Meghan Dufault was injured and Michelle Karvinen and Susanna Tapani had left to join the Finnish Olympic team, but team points leader Josefine Jakobsen stepped up with two goals and an assist on the weekend. After Jakobsen put UND ahead with less than two minutes to play in the opener, Kaitlyn Tougas scored in the final minute with her team short-handed and its goalie off for an extra attacker to forge the tie. Tanja Eisenschmid scored the decisive goal on Saturday, but an Olympic sabbatical looms for her as well.

Boston University malaise worsens
January continues to be unkind to No. 10 Boston University. The Terriers slumped to 2-5 in the month as they were swept out of Vermont, 4-2 and 5-1. Roxanne Douville made 56 saves on the weekend, and the Catamounts featured a balanced attack with goals by eight different players, including one in each game from Delia McNally. Gina Repaci supplied a pair of helpers from the blue line in each contest. BU has lost its last four games.

Northeastern short on bodies, not resolve
Northeastern extended its winning streak to four games, despite having only 13 skaters available for all of those contests. The Huskies swept Maine in Boston. Brittany Esposito scored with 5:29 left in regulation to force overtime, and then assisted on Kelly Wallace’s game-winner at 2:54 in the extra session. Esposito and Heather Mottau had three-point games. Saturday’s 8-2 triumph was more convincing. Esposito and Wallace tallied twice with an assist, and Hayley Masters had three helpers.

Buckeyes battling
Ohio State went to overtime for the fourth straight game on Friday, and this time, emerged a 3-2 winner without the need of a shootout. Julia McKinnon scored 38 seconds into OT after Minnesota State had staged a third-period rally on goals by Nicole Germaine and Shelby Moteyunas. The Buckeyes won, 4-2, on Saturday to extend their unbeaten streak to five. Claudia Kepler scored twice, part of a five-point weekend for the freshman.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 2 Wisconsin swept rival Minnesota-Duluth, 3-1 and 2-0. Alex Rigsby needed just 37 saves to earn both wins. Brittany Ammerman and Blayre Turnbull had a goal and an assist in the first game; Sarah Nurse matched that in the second contest.

No. 1 Minnesota had similar success versus St. Cloud State, winning 3-0 and 3-1. Meghan Lorence scored three goals, giving her tallies in four straight games. Kate Schipper and Rachel Ramsey had three assists in the series.

No. 5 Harvard has the country’s second-best winning percentage after claiming wins over Union, 2-1, and Rensselaer, 3-1. Brianna Laing shut out the Dutchwomen with 15 stops. Hillary Crowe had three goals on the weekend, including two in the victory over the Engineers where Emerance Maschmeyer recorded 30 saves.

No Haley Skarupa, no problem, for No. 7 Boston College. It swept both ends of a home-and-home series with New Hampshire and ran the nation’s second-longest unbeaten streak to nine games. Taylor Wasylk provided three goals and two assists in 5-3 and 3-2 triumphs. Dana Trivigno had five points as well, including four in the first game in Boston.

Women’s D-I picks: Jan. 24

So much for making a comeback. Arlan put more distance between me and him last weekend. It could be all over but for the fat lady to sing. Last weekend, I went 15-6-5 to move to 187-65-31 on the year, while Arlan went 17-4-5 to move to 196-56-31 on the year.

I’m still trying to catch him though.

Friday, Jan. 24

Rensselaer at Dartmouth
Candace: I have to make up ground somehow, and Dartmouth is at home. Dartmouth 2-1
Arlan: The Engineers were one of two teams Dartmouth beat in the first half, and it completed the sweep of Colgate. Rensselaer 2-1

Union at Harvard
Candace: This might be a closer game than expected, but the favorite should prevail. Harvard 3-1
Arlan: The answer seems obvious, so I’m not going to make this harder than it has to be. Harvard 4-0

Cornell at St. Lawrence
Candace: St. Lawrence is not back to form unfortunately. Cornell 4-1
Arlan: The Saints are trying but getting little to show for their efforts. Cornell 5-2

Friday-Saturday, Jan. 24-25

Robert Morris at Mercyhurst
Candace: Home ice should be good for at least one win for the Lakers. Mercyhurst 3-2, Robert Morris 3-2
Arlan: Many banners hang in Erie because the Lakers always get the better of these series; maybe not this time. Mercyhurst 2-1, Robert Morris 3-2

Brown home-and-home with Yale
Candace: Mandi Schwartz’s brother Jaden, who plays for the St. Louis Blues, will be at Friday’s celebration of his sister with all of his teammates. Yale may come out flat after that emotional game, but I think the Bulldogs sweep. Yale 3-1, 3-2
Arlan: The biggest risk for the Bulldogs is a letdown after Friday’s White Out for Mandi. Yale 4-0, 2-1

Maine at Northeastern
Candace: No, Candace can’t pick Maine, especially since Northeastern is looking dangerous again. Northeastern 3-1, 3-2
Arlan: The Black Bears are confident after a league win; can the Huskies’ thin roster hold up? Would Candace pick Maine? Northeastern 4-2, 2-1

Boston University at Vermont
Candace: As Arlan says, a split is entirely possible with the Terriers reeling, but I have no idea which night is which, so I’ll pick the Terriers. Boston University 2-1, 2-1
Arlan: Something is clearly wrong with the Terriers, but in what order might a split play out? Boston University 3-2, 2-0

Minnesota State at Ohio State
Candace: OSU posted impressive back-to-back results against Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth. I think the Buckeyes keep it going. Ohio State 3-2, 4-1
Arlan: With just three goals in their last five games, the puck just isn’t going in for the Mavericks right now. Ohio State 2-1, 3-1

St. Cloud State at Minnesota
Candace: To answer Arlan’s poser, no, the Huskies can’t. Minnesota 4-1, 5-1
Arlan: Ohio State ended a long losing skid to Minnesota this month; can the Huskies do the same? Minnesota 4-1, 3-1

Bemidji State at North Dakota
Candace: North Dakota really needs these games ahead of next weekend’s series with Minnesota. I’m sure they’ll be close though. North Dakota 3-1, 3-2
Arlan: I know that BSU will battle hard, but UND is just as desperate for points and more talented. North Dakota 4-1, 1-0

Saturday, Jan. 25

Cornell at Clarkson
Candace: Again, I need to gain ground on Arlan somehow. This will probably go to OT, and could be a preview of the ECAC Championship. Cornell 3-2
Arlan: Shannon Desrosiers said that home ice means a lot in this series, so I’ll go with that. Clarkson 2-1

Union at Dartmouth
Candace: Union really let me down last weekend against RPI in the picks race. Dartmouth 3-2
Arlan: The Big Green are making progress with three wins after Christmas, only two before then. Dartmouth 3-1

Rensselaer at Harvard
Candace: Harvard will be extra on guard against losing for a second time to RPI. Harvard 3-1
Arlan: I don’t expect lightning to strike twice in the same place and the same season. Harvard 2-0

Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 25-26

New Hampshire home-and-home with Boston College
Candace: BC already had its one loss to New Hampshire. After pulling away more from BU last weekend, the Eagles won’t want to give ground back. Boston College 4-1, 4-2
Arlan: The Eagles may not be as superior as first thought, but they’re still the favorite versus any Hockey East opponent. Boston College 3-2, 4-1

Providence home-and-home with Connecticut
Candace: Providence still hasn’t established consistency, so I’ll go with home ice in each. Connecticut 2-1, Providence 3-2
Arlan: The only saving grace is that series like this have to be just as unfathomable for Candace. Providence 5-4, 3-1

Minnesota-Duluth at Wisconsin
Candace: Duluth’s offense struggles, which is Bad News Bears against the best goaltending duo in the country. Wisconsin 3-1, 2-1
Arlan: The Bulldogs always seem to get a win from UW at some point, but this season, they’re still looking. Wisconsin 2-1, 3-0

Women’s D-I wrap: Jan. 20

Terriers finally trip
When No. 9 Boston University lost to Boston College on Jan. 8, that broke a streak of 23 straight conference wins for the Terriers. Because none of those 23 victories came over the Eagles, it was largely a case of BU beating those teams over which it was a favorite.

That string also came to an end on Friday at Providence after 24 victories over Hockey East teams other than BC. The Friars came from two down and scored the game’s final three goals to win, 4-3. Cassidy Carels tied the game in the second period and scored the game-winner in the third, both on the power play, with Haley Frade and Molly Illikainen assisting. Carels earlier had helpers on the goals by Beth Hanrahan and Rebecca Morse, allowing Providence to overcome a two-goal effort by Maddie Elia of the Terriers.

Things didn’t get any better for BU on Sunday, as it was upended by Northeastern, 4-2. Sarah Lefort scored for the Terriers to give her 19 goals on the season, tied for tops in the country. However, the Huskies got two goals from Brittany Esposito, and a goal and a pair of assists by Paige Savage, to win despite having only 13 skaters available. Northeastern also triumphed on Wednesday at Connecticut, 3-1, while being similarly short of bodies.

Colonials not going away
In most seasons, the fresh new face from the first half of the season begins to cool off as January lengthens. No. 8 Robert Morris faced its biggest test of the season to date, on the road at No. 10 Quinnipiac, and while RMU didn’t quite ace the test, it did pass convincingly.

The Colonials battled back to earn a 1-1 tie on Friday. Cydney Roesler’s goal 18 seconds into the third period had the Bobcats poised for a big win, but Anneline Lauziere scored on a late power play to even the score, and 36 saves by Jessica Dodds allowed the visitors to overcome a territorial disadvantage.

On Saturday, RMU took advantage of specialty situations in the second period to score four unanswered goals and went on to win, 5-1. Rebecca Vint scored both short-handed and on the power play, Rikki Meilleur tallied four-on-four, and Lauziere added another power-play marker. Thea Imbrogno connected on a third-period breakaway to offset an earlier score by Shelby Wignall for the Bobcats. Vint finished with four points and Dodds made 26 saves in staying undefeated through her first 18 starts.

Crimson improve prospects for crown
No. 6 Harvard’s 5-4 win at Colgate on Friday was less than emphatic. Melissa Kueber put the Raiders up, 4-2, in the third, but Miye D’Oench, Elizabeth Parker, and Hillary Crowe produced goals in a spirited rally over a 3:26 stretch over the back half of the third period. D’Oench finished with three points, and Crowe tallied twice.

The Crimson responded on Saturday with what is likely their best game of the season in a 3-1 victory at No. 3 Cornell. D’Oench opened the scoring and Marissa Gedman got the lead back after Anna Zorn had tied it up. Mary Parker finished the scoring into an empty net. Samantha Reber had a pair of helpers and Emmerance Maschmeyer was back in form with 30 saves. As seems to be their custom, the Crimson were outshot in both wins.

The Big Red opened the weekend with a 3-0 victory over Dartmouth when Taylor Woods scored twice and Paula Voorheis posted a 30-save shutout. Thanks to a game in hand on Harvard, Cornell still controls its own destiny for the ECAC title after losing the head-to-head with the Crimson and being down by a point in the standings.

Bulldogs fit to be tied
The Bulldogs were unable to win, but then, they didn’t lose either. Which Bulldogs? Pick one.

Host Yale got the weekend started with a 3-3 tie with No. 5 Clarkson. The Bulldogs’ Jamie Haddad opened the scoring while short-handed late in the first period, only to have Erin Ambrose respond for the Golden Knights on the same power play. Jamie Lee Rattray gave Clarkson its first lead with the only goal of the second period. Gretchen Tarrant tied the score, but it took only 67 seconds for Brittany Styner to give the visitors another lead. Three minutes later, Phoebe Staenz completed the scoring. Jaimie Leonoff needed 52 saves in the Yale net to earn her squad a point.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs got another game-tying goal, this time at 13 minutes of the third period from Taylor Marchin, for a 1-1 final versus St. Lawrence. Rylee Smith had given the Saints the lead back in the first frame. The ice was far less tilted in this contest, as Leonoff made 30 saves to 33 for Carmen MacDonald.

Farther west, the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs played to 0-0 and 2-2 ties with Ohio State. Nobody could figure out UMD’s Kayla Black all day as she made 21 saves during regular play and stopped all three Buckeyes in the shootout. Lisa Steffes was just as strong in the OSU net, making 34 stops. Katerina Marazova, the newest Bulldog, finally broke through in the shootout to gain UMD the extra WCHA point.

On Sunday, Ally Tarr scored her second game-tying goal in as many weeks at 15:17 of the third period. Until then, UMD looked to be positioned for the win, thanks to goals by Ashleigh Brykaliuk and Zoe Hickel sandwiched around one by Claudia Kepler. Once in the shootout, Steffes denied two shooters and both Annie Svedin and Kepler converted for the Buckeyes. The three points earned on the weekend allow Ohio State to move ahead of both Minnesota State and St. Cloud State into sixth in the WCHA.

Wisconsin wins record and status quo in rest of WCHA
The bottom four teams in the WCHA standings played series against the top half of the league, and the Buckeyes were the only lower-division team to gain points, as the top three enjoyed sweeps.

Minnesota State’s Danielle Butters had a busy weekend in facing 101 shots from No. 1 Minnesota. Whether it was outside in a chilly TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis or in All-Seasons Arena in Mankato, the games followed a similar script. The Gophers scored early in the first, held that lead until the latter stages of the second period, then blew the game open with a surge. Sarah Davis had three points outside in a 4-0 win, Kelly Terry scored twice and Rachel Ramsey contributed three assists in a 5-0 victory on the road, and Meghan Lorence and Rachael Bona scored in both games. The two shutouts give Amanda Leveille eight on the season, second to Clarkson’s Erica Howe with nine.

No. 2 Wisconsin took host Bemidji State down by 6-0 and 3-1 scores. Ann-Renée Desbiens turned in the 19-save shutout and was backed by three-point games by Blayre Turnbull, Brittany Ammerman, and Kaitlyn Harding, with the line of the latter pair including two goals. The news from the second game was Alex Rigsby’s return to the Badgers’ net. The senior picked up career win 92 to move ahead of Jessie Vetter for most in Wisconsin history. Her team took a lead in the second period on a power-play goal by Katy Josephs and Ammerman short-handed. Alex Citrowske moved BSU within a goal in the third period, but Karley Sylvester provided the coup de grâce into an empty net.

Results were similar in Grand Forks, where North Dakota triumphed over St. Cloud State, 4-0 and 3-1. Goals from Josefine Jakobsen, Gracen Hirschy, Andrea Dalen, and Layla Marvin were added to the 16 saves from Lexie Shaw in a comfortable win. On Saturday, Hanna Brodt broke the ice with the Huskies’ only tally of the weekend, but Michelle Karvinen struck twice to reverse the advantage. When Jakobsen hit an empty net, everyone on her line with Karvinen and Amy Menke finished with two points.

Engineers gain key sweep
Rensselaer was able to move up to sixth in the ECAC by sweeping Union, 4-1 and 3-0. The RPI defense was stout in front of Kelly O’Brien, holding the Dutchwomen to 11 and 18 shots. Ali Svoboda scored twice in the first game, as did Lauren Wash in the second. Jordan Smelker had two points in each in her return from an injury.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 7 Boston College quelled any drama while playing without star Haley Skarupa in sweeping Vermont, 5-2 and 2-0. Melissa Bizzari and Haley McLean led the way in the opener by each scoring and adding a couple of helpers. Corinne Boyles’ 34 saves ensured that tallies by Emily Pfalzer and Andie Anastos would be enough in game two.

In the aftermath of the tie with Yale, Clarkson responded with an onslaught against Brown. It had a 32-4 advantage in shots on goal by the time the Golden Knights’ lead grew to 3-0 at 7:30 of the second period on goals by Genevieve Bannon, Olivia Howe, and Carly Mercer. Clarkson was able to coast to a 4-1 win.

2014 Hockey Humanitarian Award nominees announced
The BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation announced 18 nominees for this year’s award, and they include:

  • Amanda Colin, Quinnipiac;
  • Alyssa Gagliardi, Cornell;
  • Ashley Johnston, Union;
  • Brandi Pollock, Robert Morris;
  • Danielle Rancourt, Vermont;
  • Jocelyn Simpson, Colgate; and
  • Kelly Wallace, Northeastern.

All seven are seniors. The foundation will announce the finalists in February and recognize the recipient of the award on April 11 in Philadelphia at the Men’s Frozen Four.

Women’s D-I picks: Jan. 17

When Candace won our contest last week, why did I immediately have thoughts of the Colts’ comeback from 28 points down to defeat the Chiefs in the first round of the NFL playoffs? Last week, Candace went 17-5-5 to move to 172-59-26 on the year, while I went 15-7-5 to move to 179-52-26 on the year.

Will she make up ground this weekend, or will I rebuild the lead?

Friday, Jan. 17

RIT at Syracuse
Candace: Oh boy. I really want to pick RIT, but I think home ice pushes the Orange over the top. Syracuse 2-1
Arlan: The Tigers got their first win over the Orange last week; can they make it two straight? Syracuse 3-2

St. Lawrence at Brown
Candace: St. Lawrence just suffered a season sweep by Clarkson for the first time ever; the Saints will want to make up for that. St. Lawrence 3-1
Arlan: After six losses and playing seven of the last eight on the road, the Saints are traveling again. St. Lawrence 2-0

Dartmouth at Cornell
Candace: Dartmouth always troubles Cornell, and will do so again, but fall short. Cornell 4-2
Arlan: Dartmouth’s offense seems revived after the break and the Big Red’s defense was a tad leaky last week, but Cornell is No. 3 in the country for a reason. Cornell 5-3

Clarkson at Yale
Candace: Yale beating Harvard means the Golden Knights will be on their guard. Clarkson 3-1
Arlan: Can Yale surprise another ranked team this weekend? Probably not, but I don’t expect the Bulldogs to lose by seven this time. Clarkson 3-1

Boston University at Providence
Candace: Providence is getting better, but I’ll probably pick BU against anyone in Hockey East except BC until proven otherwise. Boston University 3-1
Arlan: The Friars have won five of their last nine, so why do they still seem so cold to me? Boston University 4-3

Friday-Saturday, Jan. 17-18

Union home-and-home with Rensselaer
Candace: Union has surprised me on more than one occasion this year. I’ll give them a win at home. Rensselaer 3-1, Union 2-1
Arlan: In a tie for seventh, the Engineers are only three points up on Union, so these are key points. The Dutchwomen have done better in the first game of the weekend, but they are winless on the road in the ECAC. Rensselaer 3-1, 1-0

Vermont at Boston College
Candace: BC struggled against Northeastern last week, but probably remembers that Vermont cost them big time last year. Boston College 4-1, 4-2
Arlan: The Eagles came through a stretch of four straight versus ranked teams at 2-1-1, but then looked uninspiring against Northeastern. Boston College 4-2, 6-1

Wisconsin at Bemidji State
Candace: I’ll probably take Wisconsin over anyone except Minnesota. Wisconsin 3-1, 4-2
Arlan: I agree with whatever Candace just said. Wisconsin 2-1, 4-0

Minnesota State home-and-home with Minnesota
Candace: Ohio State threw a monkey wrench at Minnesota last week, so the Gophers will want to take that out on anyone they can. Minnesota 4-1, 4-1
Arlan: Forecast high for Friday’s outdoor game is 10 above, but it should miss the snow on either side and the worst of the wind. Minnesota 4-1, 2-1

St. Cloud State at North Dakota
Candace: St. Cloud is getting better, but North Dakota really needs these games. North Dakota 3-1, 4-1
Arlan: The Huskies came close in the teams’ first meeting, but I get the sense that UND is pulling away. North Dakota 3-1, 5-1

Robert Morris at Quinnipiac
Candace: Quinnipiac will probably get at least a point out of this somewhere, but I’ll go out on a limb and pick a Colonials sweep. Robert Morris 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: The series of the week and an important one for PairWise implications. Quinnipiac 2-1, Robert Morris 2-1

Saturday, Jan. 18

Dartmouth at Colgate
Candace: Dartmouth gets another one in the W column. Dartmouth 4-1
Arlan: The Big Green show greater signs of improvement. Dartmouth 3-1

Harvard at Cornell
Candace: I might have been tempted to pick Harvard if this game had happened before Yale beat the Crimson. Cornell 3-1
Arlan: The league’s best offense and best defense overall collide, so which style game will we see? Cornell 2-1

St. Lawrence at Yale
Candace: This game seems like a huge trap, but St. Lawrence beat Yale earlier in the year, so… St. Lawrence 2-1
Arlan: Here’s where having a strong travel partner pays dividends for the Saints. St. Lawrence 3-2

Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 18-19

New Hampshire home-and-home with Connecticut
Candace: Connecticut got a surprise win against Vermont on the road last weekend, but before that hadn’t won since November. UNH has off-ice issues that could be a distraction. I was going to pick a UNH sweep, until I remembered UNH has bedeviled me most of the year. Connecticut 2-1, New Hampshire 4-2
Arlan: Each team can see a long losing streak in its rear-view mirror. My gut says tie, tie, but I lack the conviction to make that my final answer. Connecticut 2-1, New Hampshire 3-2

Ohio State at Minnesota-Duluth
Candace: OSU is getting better, but I have trouble picking against the Bulldogs on home ice. Minnesota-Duluth 4-2, 3-2
Arlan: Both teams have to be optimistic about 2014 thus far, but it’s likely only one will still feel that way on Sunday night. I’m going with home cooking, although the road team has won the last eight in these teams’ meetings. Minnesota-Duluth 4-3, 2-1

Sunday, Jan. 19

Northeastern at Boston University
Candace: Northeastern will make this a battle, but fall short. Boston University 3-2
Arlan: Against unranked teams, the Terriers keep finding ways to win. Boston University 4-2

Providence at Maine
Candace: Something tells me the Friars are back to a better form. Providence 3-2
Arlan: The Black Bears seem overdue for their first league win. Maine 4-3

Women’s D-I wrap: Jan. 13

Ragged week for ranked teams
A number of the teams ranked in the top 10 experienced struggles, including some disappointing results versus unranked teams.

The only ranked team to sweep was No. 6 Clarkson. The Golden Knights handled St. Lawrence twice, 6-0 in Canton and 3-0 on home ice. Erica Howe needed to only make 36 saves to earn two shutouts and push her national-best total to nine on the season. Jamie Lee Rattray scored twice and added an assist in the first win, while Olivia Howe netted a pair in the second.

No. 9 Robert Morris shrewdly took the week off, and the other eight top teams were either beaten or tied at some point.

Top-four split
No. 2 Wisconsin’s 16-game unbeaten streak came to an end on Saturday courtesy of No. 4 North Dakota. Michelle Karvinen scored UND’s first goal and assisted on the game-winner in her team’s 4-1 triumph. Lexie Shaw saved 20 shots to get the win.

Shelby Amsley-Benzie took over in the North Dakota net on Sunday and was touched for three goals in the second period as Wisconsin seized control in a 4-1 victory of its own. Alex Rigsby remained on the Badgers’ bench for both games, Ann-Renée Desbiens was between the pipes, and she shook off her first collegiate loss to make 29 saves in winning her ninth game. Blayre Turnbull netted a pair of goals.

Worst stops first
Neither Wisconsin nor North Dakota lost much ground to No. 1 Minnesota in the WCHA standings thanks to Ohio State’s shootout win over the Gophers on Saturday. Ally Tarr took advantage of a Minnesota defensive miscue to score on a breakaway at 18:19 of the third period to tie the game at 2-2, and Kendall Curtis was the only shooter to find the net in a nine-round shootout. Despite earning two points on the weekend, the Buckeyes still occupy the WCHA basement, two points behind Minnesota State and St. Cloud State. The Gophers took the Friday night game, 6-0, as Amanda Leveille made 28 saves, Hannah Brandt netted a hat trick, and Dani Cameranesi added two goals and an assist.

Harvard head scratcher
No. 5 Harvard lost its second ECAC game of the season, 2-0. Yale took down the Crimson, whose earlier loss was to Rensselaer, the team tied with the Bulldogs for seventh in the conference. The loss leaves Harvard 4-2 against the bottom half of the league, compared to 4-0-1 versus the top. Jackie Raines and Kate Martini scored for Yale, and Jaimie Leonoff out-dueled Emerance Maschmeyer.

Maschmeyer and the Crimson had a better result on Friday, taking care of Brown, 3-0. Gina McDonald scored and assisted.

Beanpot warmups
No. 7 Boston College started the week impressively on Wednesday, thumping No. 8 Boston University, 4-1. The Eagles took a three-goal lead six minutes into the second period and cruised, keyed by a goal and two assists from Kate Leary.

The Eagles unexpectedly found the going tougher against Northeastern. The two squads deadlocked on Saturday, 1-1. Hayley Scamura gave the Huskies a first-period lead, and Haley Skarupa answered a minute and a half later. From that point, the game belonged to NU’s Chloe Desjardins (40 saves) and BC’s Corinne Boyles (39 saves). The Huskies took a 2-0 lead on Sunday, but BC was able to rally. Emily Pfalzer capitalized on a five-on-three power play to halve the deficit. A second-period injury to Claire Santostefano left Northeastern with just eight forwards and two centers, and the Eagles were able to exploit the tiring Huskies and score third-period goals by Kristyn Capizzano and Meagan Mangene and win, 3-2.

BU played a single game on the weekend at Maine, and came home with a 5-3 win despite generating only 14 shots. Louise Warren scored twice and Sarah Lefort had three points.

Big Red outgun Lakers
In the most prolific offensive display of the weekend, No. 3 Cornell came home from Mercyhurst with a 4-4 tie and a 6-4 win. Cornell took three separate one-goal leads on Friday, only to have the Lakers answer. Shelby Bram gave the hosts their only lead of the weekend midway through the third period, but Jessica Campbell completed the scoring with five minutes left in regulation on a power play. Eight different players scored in the game; Cornell’s Alyssa Gagliardi was tops in points with three.

The Big Red chased Amanda Makela with five goals in less that 32 minutes on Saturday. Jillian Saulnier and Jess Brown each struck for two goals and a helper. J’nai Mahadeo had three assists in defeat.

Another RPI upset
Host Rensselaer grabbed a second-period lead on No. 10 Quinnipiac on a goal by Lauren Wash and two by Alexa Gruschow. A pair of tallies by Shiann Darkangelo left the Bobcats a goal short in a 3-2 win for RPI.

Quinnipiac was able to salvage four points from the week thanks to a late goal from Amanda Colin in a 1-0 win over Union on Saturday. The Bobcats started the week with a 3-1 win over Princeton that featured a Kelly Babstock hat trick.

Meanwhile, Rensselaer added a 4-4 tie with Princeton, overcoming a hat trick by the Tigers’ Denna Laing. Heidi Huhtamaki’s power-play goal in the third period drew the Engineers even and completed the scoring.

Union enjoying record season
Union got the best of Princeton for the first time in the head-to-head history of the two teams. The 2-1 victory for the Dutchwomen gave them eight wins on the season, including three in ECAC play, both new highs for the program. Stefanie Thomson and Kathryn Tomaselli struck 100 seconds apart early in the second period to provide the offense. Thanks to Shenae Lundberg’s 28 saves, that was enough.

Stalemate in classic rivalry
New Hampshire and Providence clashed twice in a series that now includes 139 all-time meetings. Each team took a 4-1 verdict on its own ice. Jessica Hitchcock had three goals among her four points on the weekend for the Wildcats, and Nicole Gifford chipped in with three points. Allison Micheletti scored twice for the Friars, and by assisting twice, senior Corinne Buie reached the century mark in points for her career.

Other results
In the only CHA game, RIT defeated Syracuse, 3-2.

In other ECAC action, Lindsey Allen scored twice in Dartmouth’s 5-4 win over Yale. Janice Yang tallied the second of her two goals to earn Brown a 3-3 tie with Dartmouth.

Hockey East play saw Connecticut and Vermont exchange shutout wins. The Catamounts took the opener, 3-0, and the Huskies came back to triumph on Saturday, 2-0.

Zoe Hickel had three goals and five points as Minnesota-Duluth swept a WCHA series from Minnesota State. Abby Ness had a pair of goals in St. Cloud State’s 3-1 win at Bemidji State, but the Beavers came back with a 2-1 win on Saturday on late goals by Rachael Kelly and Stephanie Anderson.

In nonconference action, Colgate and Penn State traded overtime wins, with Taylor Volpe and Hannah Hoenshell netting game winners.

Women’s D-I picks: Jan. 10

For the last few years, I have won the picks race, usually edging Arlan out by a couple of games. The way things are shaping up right now, Arlan is winning in a walk. Last week, I went a respectable 17-4-1 (.795) to move to 155-54-21 (.719). Arlan however, went 19-2-1 (.886) to move to 164-45-21 (.758). Maybe I should invoke the mercy rule.

I’m going to try to chip back at this just to make my humiliation more acceptable.

Friday, Jan. 10

Yale at Dartmouth
Candace: Can the game against Boston University be a turnaround for Dartmouth? Dartmouth 3-2
Arlan: I’m assuming Phoebe Staenz will be back with the Bulldogs after playing for her country last weekend. Yale 4-3

Brown at Harvard
Candace: I’m assuming that like against Cornell, Brown will keep it close. Harvard 3-1
Arlan: After falling to struggling Colgate on home ice, the second half looks bleak for Brown. Harvard 3-0

Quinnipiac at Rensselaer
Candace: Rensselaer is an enigma, but Quinnipiac has usually won when it should. Quinnipiac 3-0
Arlan: These are the type of road games that the Bobcats have lost in past years. Quinnipiac 2-0

Princeton at Union
Candace: Union has been better than last year, but it’s not enough. Princeton 3-1
Arlan: The Dutchwomen are improving, but their gains are more evident out of conference. Princeton 3-1

Syracuse at RIT
Candace: I’ll go with home ice and hope RIT doesn’t disappoint. RIT 2-1
Arlan: RIT went winless versus the Orange last year with a tie and three one-goal losses. Syracuse 2-1

Friday-Saturday, Jan. 10-11

Clarkson home-and-home with St. Lawrence
Candace: Last year, Clarkson lost its chance at a season sweep in the final game between the two. I don’t see it happening this year. Clarkson 3-1, 3-2
Arlan: It’s never over; the Saints have scored five extra-attacker goals this season. Clarkson 2-1, 3-0

Connecticut at Vermont
Candace: Connecticut has been better this year, but home ice should be worth a sweep. Vermont 3-2, 2-1
Arlan: Catamounts have played eight straight decided by a goal or less; Huskies have lost their last seven. I sense overtime — each team has six OT games this season. Vermont 4-3, 1-0

Providence home-and-home with New Hampshire
Candace: Providence may have gotten over its dreadful November. New Hampshire 3-1, Providence 3-1
Arlan: After losing seven, winning three, and losing three, PC won on Sunday. UNH’s win on 12/8 broke a six-game skid. New Hampshire 3-1, 4-3

Minnesota State at Minnesota-Duluth
Candace: Minnesota State has the misfortune of playing in the WCHA. In other conferences, I think their record would be better. Minnesota-Duluth 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: The Mavericks should be able to hold the score down, but their offense has been struggling to post big numbers. Minnesota-Duluth 2-1, 3-1

Ohio State at Minnesota
Candace: The Gopher train starts 2014 off golden. Minnesota 4-1, 4-0
Arlan: Look for the Buckeyes to score more often and commit fewer penalties in 2014. Minnesota 3-2, 4-1

Cornell at Mercyhurst
Candace: Mercyhurst really needs one of these games. Cornell 3-1, Mercyhurst 3-2
Arlan: The Lakers play possum so convincingly that even though I know they are going to win, I still can’t pick them. Cornell 4-3, 3-0

Saturday, Jan. 11

Brown at Dartmouth
Candace: Brown has trouble scoring. So does Dartmouth. Dartmouth 2-1
Arlan: Six weeks ago, I’d have gone with Brown. Dartmouth 2-1

Yale at Harvard
Candace: I’ll take Emerance. Harvard 3-1
Arlan: Harvard’s power play will be a factor in this one. Harvard 3-1

Princeton at Rensselaer
Candace: Can home ice pull RPI through? I’ve picked against Princeton at my peril this year. Princeton 3-1
Arlan: On home ice, RPI should come closer than the first meeting, although likely not close enough. Princeton 2-1

Quinnipiac at Union
Candace: The Bobcats keep the pressure on the conference leaders. Quinnipiac 3-1
Arlan: The Bobcats have let a few ECAC points slip away, so they’ll need to secure these two. Quinnipiac 2-0

Boston University at Maine
Candace: Hockey East’s worst team should give BU a chance to get back to its winning ways. Boston University 3-1
Arlan: If the Terriers’ skaters don’t make more of an effort to defend their own net than they made at home versus BC, then they’ll lose at Maine as well. Boston University 3-2

Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 11-12

Northeastern home and home with Boston College
Candace: The Eagles look awfully good on Wednesday against BU. They need to continue that level of play. One of these will be close. Boston College 4-1, 3-2
Arlan: It’s been a few years since Northeastern defeated BC outside of tournament play. Boston College 4-1, 5-3

North Dakota at Wisconsin
Candace: I’d like to pick North Dakota in one of these, but history says I’d be wrong, especially in Madison. Wisconsin 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: Can UND stop an unbeaten streak that is almost three months old? Even if they are without Alex Rigsby for another week, it’s tough to score on the Badgers. Wisconsin 3-2, 2-0

Wednesday, Jan. 15

Northeastern at Connecticut
Candace: The Huskies will win. Oh, you want me to pick one? Northeastern 3-1
Arlan: Games played in 2014 are adding up quickly for UConn. Northeastern 4-3

Women’s D-I wrap: Jan. 5

Return to the rink
After everyone took some time off for the Christmas break, competition resumed over the last six days. Of the 34 teams in D-I conferences, 25 have returned to action.

No team was busier than Minnesota State over the last week. The Mavericks played four times in six days, and their defense was stout throughout, allowing only three goals and no more than one in any contest. That led to three straight wins, 3-0 and 3-1 over Lindenwood and squeaking by Bemidji State, 2-1. Melissa Klippenstein and Tracy McCann enjoyed two-goal games against the Lions, and McCann and Kari Lundberg came up with goals to topple the Beavers. But on Sunday, BSU earned a 1-0 win at Mankato as Brittni Mowat made 33 stops and Kristine Grenier scored the game’s only tally on a third-period power play.

Colonials looking legitimate
For the third straight season, Paul Colontino guided No. 10 Robert Morris into Christmas with three losses or less. The problem in the two previous campaigns was that the Colonials stumbled out of the break, going a cumulative 4-12-1 from the time action resumed until January ended to dash their national hopes.

January looks much more promising this year, as RMU got it started by sweeping visiting St. Lawrence, 4-2 and 3-0. Freshman Jessica Dodds notched both victories between the pipes, staying unbeaten as a collegian as she upped her personal mark to 15-0-1 and earned her fourth shutout.

For the weekend, the line of Rebecca Vint (2-1-3) between Thea Imbrogno (1-2-3) and Brittany Howard (0-3-3) sparked the offense. Kristen Richards and defenseman Anneline Lauziere each had a goal and a helper in the opener.

The victories extended the unbeaten streak for Robert Morris to 11 games and moved it up to a solid sixth in the PairWise Rankings. The Colonials now get a week off to prepare for what look to be the two biggest series in their season. Both occur on the road, where they are unbeaten at 6-0-1, although the trips to face No. 9 Quinnipiac in the final nonconference test and a CHA showdown at Mercyhurst figure to present the toughest road challenges to date.

The weather outside is frightful …
The anticipated outdoor meeting of Northeastern and No. 5 Harvard on Thursday as part of Frozen Fenway was vetoed by Mother Nature, so the pair faced off inside on Saturday at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. The Crimson took care of business on their home ice, but the 3-2 win didn’t come easily.

Both tallies by the Huskies were quickly matched by Harvard. NU struck first on a well-executed power play in the opening frame with Heather Mottau providing the finish. Mary Parker’s answer came 57 seconds later. The Crimson went up for the first time in the second period when Gina McDonald pounced on a turnover while short-handed, skated in alone, and slipped a backhand around Chloe Desjardins’ pad. Hayley Scamurra’s backhand shot fooled Emerance Maschmeyer to forge a tie with five minutes remaining. Sydney Daniels touched in the game-winner 3:15 later. Brittany Esposito nearly provided an immediate response for the Huskies, but her shot kissed the crossbar and stayed out.

Dutchwomen squeeze out series win
In a battle of two New York squads, host Union came out on top of RIT by the slimmest of margins. Celeste Brown scored the series’ first goal for the Tigers midway through the third period, but Stefanie Thomson tied Friday’s game at 1-1 five minutes later on a rush where the Dutchwomen never seemed to have control of the puck heading up the ice but got it into the net anyway. Kathryn Tomaselli walked out front and scored 3:51 into overtime to gain Union a 2-1 win.

The Dutchwomen looked positioned to sweep on Saturday, holding a 1-0 lead on the strength of a first-period goal from Jessica Kaminsky. However, Marissa Magueri drew RIT even at 10:12 of the third period. Although each team had power-play opportunities to net a winner — Union on a five-on-three and RIT in overtime — the game ended tied, 1-1. Union had to settle for the tie despite 48 saves from Maddy Dahl in her first start of the season.

New year, new result
So far, Ohio State likes 2014 much better than most of the 2013 portion of the schedule. The Buckeyes throttled Penn State, 8-0 and 4-0. Lisa Steffes was perfect on the 37 shots she faced, and she received a lot of support. In the opener, Claudia Kepler scored twice and Kari Schmitt, Taylor Kuehl, and Danielle Gagne had identical production with a goal and two helpers. Kuehl and Ally Tarr matched those three point efforts on Saturday, while Gagne had a hand in all four goals.

Orange take two
Syracuse snuck out of Vermont with a pair of one-goal decisions, 4-3 and 3-2. Akane Hosoyamada’s second goal of the game on a power play with eight seconds left won Saturday’s game in spite of a three-point game by the Catamounts Amanda Pelkey. After Vermont battled back from a two-goal deficit with third-period goals by Sarah Kelly and Pelkey on Sunday, Larissa Martyniuk tallied a couple minutes later to thwart the rally.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
Half of the ranked teams were idle, but No. 2 Wisconsin provided little drama in sweeping St. Cloud State by scores of 3-1 and 4-0. Julia Gilbert’s third-period goal did tie the opener at 1-1 early in the third period, but Rachel Jones got the lead back for the Badgers four minutes later. On Saturday, Sarah Nurse gave UW the only goal it needed before the game was two minutes old. Ann-Renée Desbiens contributed 50 saves on the weekend with Alex Rigsby still out with a knee injury. Brittany Ammerman and Katy Josephs scored in both games.

No. 3 Cornell had very similar results on the road. With Lauren Slebodnick returning to the net after an injury suffered on Nov. 30, the Big Red toppled Brown, 3-1. Goals by Jillian Saulnier and Janice Yang offset over the first two stanzas. Hanna Bunton and Emily Field helped Cornell pull away in the third. Versus Yale on Saturday, Alyssa Gagliardi provided an early lead and goals late in the middle period by Hayleigh Cudmore and Jessica Campbell put the 3-0 win out of reach. Paula Voorheis stopped all 16 shots from the Bulldogs to collect her first collegiate shutout.

Dartmouth provided plenty of resistance against No. 8 Boston University, but Sarah Lefort’s goal allowed the Terriers to post a 3-2 win. BU rookie Maddie Elia scored and added an assist.

Women’s D-I picks: Jan. 2

Well, I have a lot of ground to make up on Arlan after the first half. I’m going to try to chip away at his lead gradually. In our last weekend of picks, we both went 6-1 (.857). On the year, I am 138-50-20 (.711), while Arlan is 145-43-20 (.745).

Thursday-Friday, Jan. 2-3

Connecticut at Princeton
Candace: I’d like to pick a split here, but I’m not sure which night Connecticut might win. Princeton 3-1, 3-2
Arlan: The Tigers have done well against teams they are expected to beat. Princeton 3-2, 4-3

Friday, Jan. 3

Cornell at Brown
Candace: I’m more sure of this pick than any other. Cornell 4-1
Arlan: The Bears will likely keep the score respectable, but I don’t think they have enough firepower to seriously threaten. Cornell 3-0

Colgate at Yale
Candace: Yale is in contention for the playoffs. Yale 3-2
Arlan: The Raiders haven’t played in over a month and haven’t won in nearly two months. Yale 3-1

Friday-Saturday, Jan. 3-4

Wisconsin at St. Cloud State
Candace: I’m pretty close to my always pick Wisconsin mantra of a few seasons ago. Wisconsin 4-1, 4-2
Arlan: Jeff Giesen called the Huskies’ series in Madison his team’s worst of the season. Wisconsin 3-1, 4-0

Penn State at Ohio State
Candace: Ohio State has to break out of its funk at some point, right? Ohio State 3-2, 2-1
Arlan: The Buckeyes have only one win on home ice and are scoring less than twice a game, so upsets are definitely possible. Ohio State 2-1, 4-3

RIT at Union
Candace: I’ll go against Arlan here and hope Rochester comes out strong this half. RIT 4-3, 3-2
Arlan: The Dutchwomen have been very prone to split. Union 3-2, RIT 2-1

Saturday, Jan. 4

Northeastern vs. Harvard
Candace: Got moved to indoors on Saturday because of the snow. I’ve underestimated the Crimson to my peril this year. Harvard 3-1
Arlan: No Green Monster or Pesky’s Pole will come into play, but it is Fenway, so you never know. Harvard 3-1

Cornell at Yale
Candace: I’m almost as certain of this pick as the Brown game on Friday. Cornell 4-2
Arlan: The Bulldogs may be able to score against the Big Red, but stopping their offense will be tougher. Cornell 5-3

Dartmouth at Boston University
Candace: The few times I’ve picked Dartmouth, Arlan has gained ground on me. Not happening against the Terriers. Boston University 4-2
Arlan: The Big Green had scored only two goals through 15 periods and a couple of OTs before a three-goal third period carried them over Providence. Boston University 4-1

Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 4-5

Bemidji State at Minnesota State
Candace: Bemidji swept the Mavericks in the first half on home ice. Can Minnesota State return the favor? Hmmm. Bemidji State 2-1, 3-2
Arlan: Will Brittni Mowat be healthy enough to return to the BSU net? Will the Beavers be rusty? Are the Mavericks tired after playing a midweek series? Just three more questions for which I lack answers. Minnesota State 3-1, 2-1

Rensselaer at Providence
Candace: It’s almost hard to remember that before a seven-game losing streak, Providence was at .500 and had beaten Mercyhurst and Syracuse. Providence 2-1, Rensselaer 3-2
Arlan: The Friars scoring defense ranks near the bottom and the Engineers have trouble scoring. Something has to give. Rensselaer 4-3, 3-2

St. Lawrence at Robert Morris
Candace: Robert Morris really needs to start out strong after a great first half so it doesn’t lose momentum. These games should be close, and OT wouldn’t surprise me. Robert Morris 4-2, 3-2
Arlan: The Saints have six one-goal losses, so despite the difference in records, there is little separation between these two. Robert Morris 2-1, 2-1

Syracuse at Vermont
Candace: Vermont’s last four games have gone to OT; they won two and tied two in that stretch. It wouldn’t surprise me if both of these go to OT. Verrmont 2-1, Syracuse 2-1
Arlan: After a slow start, the Catamounts have only one loss in their last nine games. Vermont 3-2, Syracuse 2-1

Tuesday, Jan. 7

Princeton at Quinnipiac
Candace: This should be a great contest to watch. The Bobcats have a one-point lead on the Tigers in the ECAC standings. I’ll go with home ice. Quinnipiac 3-2
Arlan: After a winless streak where they scored twice in three games, the Bobcats had 18 goals in winning four straight. Quinnipiac 3-2

Harvard at Connecticut
Candace: Unlike Arlan, I don’t think Harvard will play poorly. Harvard 4-1
Arlan: This looks like a game where the Crimson may play poorly but win anyway. Harvard 2-1

Wednesday, Jan. 8

Boston College at Boston University
Candace: The Eagles haven’t done well in this rivalry of late, but they really need to win these games against the Terriers for PairWise positioning. Boston College 2-1
Arlan: Normally an intense rivalry, but the Eagles and Terriers haven’t played in so long that they may have forgotten that the other exists. I have no idea, so I’ll force Candace to depart from her usual preference if she wants to gain a game. Boston College 2-1

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