Weekend wrap: 1/3/

Bobcats maintain lead
ECAC leader and No. 4 Quinnipiac held its five-point advantage atop the conference by earning a pair of wins on home ice.

Freshman Melissa Samoskevich scored the game’s only goal 2:09 into the first period as the Bobcats held off Yale, 1-0. She elevated the rebound of Nicole Kosta’s shot over the leg pad of Bulldogs’ goalie Hanna Mandl, with Meghan Turner getting the second assist. Sydney Rossman made 29 saves to preserve the lead, while Mandl had some highlight reel saves among her 19 stops to keep Yale close. Both teams were without a key offensive contributor due to national team commitments. Yale’s Phoebe Staenz was playing for Switzerland at the Nations Cup, while Taylar Cianfarano was participating in USA Hockey’s winter training camp.

Cianfarano returned on Saturday with a goal and an assist in Quinnipiac’s 5-1 victory over Brown. The Bears took a lead into the first intermission on a power-play goal from Bridget Carey, but the Bobcats scored three times in the first 2:02 of the second period to reverse the advantage. Nicole Connery had a goal and two assists, Emma Woods contributed three helpers, and Samoskevich, Lindsey West, and Taryn Baumgardt also found the net as Quinnipiac enjoyed a 51-8 margin in shots.

Tigers keep pace
Princeton swept the same two opponents to remain five points behind Quinnipiac. Defenseman Kelsey Koelzer completed her first career hat trick with a wrist shot under the crossbar to wrap up a 6-1 defeat of Brown. The Tigers also got goals from Hilary Lloyd, Jaimie McDonell, and Cristin Shanahan, and three assists by Molly Contini. Sam Donovan had the lone tally for the Bears, her team-leading sixth of the campaign.

On Saturday, Princeton cruised by Yale, 5-1. Kimberly Newell made 23 saves, yielding only a Hanna Åström goal. Karlie Lund scored twice and added an assist as the Tigers’ power play converted on half of its six opportunities.

Short but dangerous
Kendall Coyne and Denisa Krížová scored short-handed goals on the same penalty kill to allow No. 8 Northeastern to seize control in a 5-2 win over Dartmouth. Each finished with three points, including combining on a give-and-go that Coyne tapped in from the goal mouth for the final margin. Kasidy Anderson and Shelby Herrington also tallied for the Huskies, who got a 28-save performance from Sarah Foss. Kennedy Ottenbreit and Tess Bracken scored for the Big Green.

Other action
Host Mercyhurst got a series win over Rensselaer. The Lakers scored in each period to down the Engineers, 3-1, in the opener. Jenna Dingeldein, Sarah Hine, and Megan Whiddon supplied the goals while Sarah McDonnell made 14 saves. RPI jumped out to a two-goal lead on Sunday on goals by Katie Rooney and Mari Mankey on their team’s first two shots of the game. Mercyhurst brought in McDonnell in relief and she prevented further damage by stopping all 16 shots she faced. Dingeldein and Samantha Fieseler scored to tie the game at 2-2 by the first intermission. That’s how it ended thanks to 36 saves by Lovisa Selander in the Engineers’ net.

Vermont got first-period goals from Dayna Colang, Rachael Ade, and Sarah Kelly in downing Union, 4-2. Alyssa Gorecki added an empty-net goal, and Madison Litchfield turned away 24 shots. Jamie Smith and Kathryn Tomaselli provided the offense for the Dutchwomen.

Penn State and Ohio State split a pair of one-goal games. The host Buckeyes took the opener, 2-1, when defenseman Jessica Dunne, playing in her first game of her sophomore season, scored the deciding goal at 13:32 of the second period. Hannah England had tied the game for the Nittany Lions less than two minutes before Dunne struck. Lauren Boyle, who had opened the scoring in the first period, assisted on the winning goal. Alex LaMere made 20 saves to earn the win. On Sunday, the Buckeyes jumped out to a quick lead on goals by Dani Sadek and Melani Moylan by the first intermission, but Penn State roared back in the second period on tallies from Emily Laurenzi, Laura Bowman, and Remi Martin. Hannah Ehresmann made 26 save as the Nittany Lions held on for a 3-2 win.

Robert Morris swept visiting Providence, 6-1 and 4-1. Jessica Dodds made 32 saves on Saturday and came back with 31 more on Sunday to backstop the wins. Mackenzie Johnston led a balanced Colonials attack in the opener with the game-winning goal and two assists. On Sunday, Jessica Gazzola tallied twice and had a helper, and Brittany Howard scored the game-winner on a penalty shot with three seconds left in the second period.

After squandering an early two-goal lead, Minnesota State got the deciding goal from Hannah Davidson to defeat Lindenwood and snap its 14-game losing skid. Katie Johnson and Savannah Quandt scored a minute apart to put the Mavericks on top, but a period later, Shara Jasper pulled the Lions with one and Britannia Gillanders knotted the score after another 51 seconds elapsed. Johnson netted the game-winner with just over five minutes left in regulation to give MSU a 3-2 verdict.

Women’s D-I picks: Dec. 30

This weekend kicks off women’s D-I play again. In my final weekend of the first half, I closed strong, going 11-2-3, moving to 207-62-29 on the season.

Let’s see if I can start 2016 off with a bang.

Friday, Jan. 1

Brown at Princeton
The Tigers have done well against teams below them in the ECAC, and need this one. Princeton 3-1

Yale at Quinnipiac
No way do the Elis surprise the Bobcats a second time. Quinnipiac 4-2

Saturday, Jan. 2

Yale at Princeton
This one will be closer, but I like the Tigers to get a good start to their second half. Princeton 3-2

Brown at Quinnipiac
The Bobcats should take this one pretty easily. Quinnipiac 4-1

Dartmouth at Northeastern
The Big Green’s confidence was shattered by Wisconsin, and Northeastern’s offense is too good. Northeastern 4-1

Vermont at Union
I’m tempted to pick the Dutchwomen, but they’d probably only tie in that event. Vermont 3-2

Saturday-Sunday, Jan 2-3

Rensselaer at Mercyhurst
The Engineers are so up and down, so I like the Lakers to sweep, with one being super close. Mercyhurst 3-2, 4-2

Penn State at Ohio State
Both teams have been pretty up and down so far. Penn State hasn’t won since mid-November, closing the first half on a 1-9-4 run. The Buckeyes can at least look to beating North Dakota and Vermont in late November. Ohio State 2-1, 3-2

Providence at Robert Morris
Another hard series to call. I like a split. Robert Morris 2-1, Providence 3-2

Sunday-Monday, Jan. 3-4

Lindenwood at Minnesota State
The Mavericks have done better out of conference, though Lindenwood presents a tough challenge. Lindenwood 2-1, Minnesota State 3-2

Monday, Jan. 4

Merrimack at Vermont
The Warriors have fallen on hard times since a decent start. Vermont showed signs of life over the last couple of weeks of the first half. Vermont 3-1

Colgate at Syracuse
This will be a close one, but I like the Raiders to pull it out. Colgate 3-2

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Connecticut at Northeastern
Elaine Chuli will only be able to hold off Kendall Coyne and company for so long. Northeastern 4-2

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Merrimack at St. Lawrence
Look for the Saints to get a crucial win here. St. Lawrence 3-1

Wednesday-Thursday, Jan. 6-7

Lindenwood at Bemidji State
A battle of two defensive-minded teams should still be a sweep for the Beavers. Bemidji State 2-1, 2-1

What to watch: 2016 debuts

A new year arrives and brings with it more college hockey. Half of the Ivy League gets started on 2016′s first day in two of the four conference games over the weekend, all in the ECAC. The start of the work week brings a couple of Hockey East contests. The CHA and WCHA teams that take to the ice do so in non-league action, including a series matching a couple of Big Ten programs. All told, there will be 20 NCAA contests before 2016 is more than a week old. Here are some of them.

Brown at Princeton, Friday, 7 p.m. EST
The Tigers host a pair of clubs that sit below them in the ECAC standings. A sweep could boost them into the rankings, as they start the year just two votes shy of the 10th spot. First up is Brown, which has won three of its last seven games after starting the campaign on a six-game losing skid.

Yale at No. 4 Quinnipiac, Friday, 7 p.m. EST
The Bobcats are likely to be ready for this game, because Yale inflicted their only loss to date back on the final day of October. Quinnipiac looks to preserve its advantage atop the ECAC. Yale, which figures to be part of the battle to gain the league’s top eight, has 16 ECAC games remaining on its slate.

Dartmouth at No. 8 Northeastern, Saturday, 2 p.m. EST
The Big Green started the season by surprising a ranked opponent, and they could use similar magic to kick off their second half after losing six straight. The Huskies have mostly handled the teams that they should beat, and January brings 10 straight games versus unranked opponents.

Vermont at Union, Saturday, 4 p.m. EST
The Dutchwomen hunt once more for that elusive first win, this time against an opponent that has suffered a couple more losses than Union has. Both teams snapped long losing streaks in their final skate of 2015, Union by tying Maine and Vermont with a defeat of Dartmouth.

Penn State at Ohio State, Saturday and Sunday, 2:07 p.m. EST
These teams share a conference in most sports, just not in women’s hockey. In the only previous meetings, the Buckeyes swept series in each of the past two seasons.

Rensselaer at Mercyhurst, Saturday, 3 p.m. EST, and Sunday, 1 p.m. EST
After going winless in their first six games, the Lakers have pushed their overall mark above .500. The Engineers closed 2015 with a win to break a five-game winless stretch. The two programs last met in 2009, a Mercyhurst sweep.

Providence at Robert Morris, Saturday, 7:05 p.m. EST, and Sunday, 2:05 p.m. EST
Both teams started slowly. The Colonials were winless in their first four efforts, but closed at a 10-3-3 pace. The Friars dropped their first seven games, but have gone 6-4-0 since then.

Lindenwood at Minnesota State, Sunday and Monday, 2:07 p.m. CST
The Lions will be the busiest team at the onset of the new year, making a four-game swing through Minnesota. The first half takes them to Mankato to face the Mavericks. While MSU has been winless in the WCHA, it has done a bit better out of conference while going 2-1-1. The Lions have had a similar problem with all eight of their nonconference losses coming against WCHA opponents. The teams played a three-game set in Missouri last season with the Mavericks winning twice.

No. 10 Colgate at Syracuse, Monday, 7 p.m. EST
The Raiders held on for a 2-1 win when the teams played in November in Hamilton, despite the Orange outshooting Colgate by a 36-17 margin. Only one minor penalty was assessed in that contest.

Connecticut at Northeastern, Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST
This is the first of three games this month between the two Hockey East squads of Huskies.

Merrimack at St. Lawrence, Wednesday, 2 p.m. EST
The Saints are another team that has rallied after a slow start and now sit at the .500 mark. The Warriors hit a wall in their first season, closing the first half with 11 consecutive losses.

Lindenwood at No. 5 Bemidji State, Wednesday and Thursday, 7:07 p.m. CST
The Lions got their first victory over the Beavers in seven attempts in the most recent meeting a year ago.

Women’s D-I wrap: 12/13

Giant killers
For the second time this season, No. 9 North Dakota ruined the perfect record of a top-ranked team, in this case, No. 1 Wisconsin. Goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie shut the Badgers out for the series, making 26 saves on Friday when the Fighting Hawks won, 3-0, and thwarting another 41 shots as the teams played to a 0-0 draw on Saturday.

UND got first-period goals on Friday from Layla Marvin and Vilma Tanskanen, held Wisconsin off the board in the second period as the Badgers controlled play, and Becca Kohler put the game away with a goal 6:17 into the final period. Tanja Eisenschmid had a pair of assists.

Ann-Renée Desbiens turned in a 17-save shutout in the tie on Saturday, her 10th of the season. Wisconsin won the shootout to salvage two points from the weekend.

Gliding into the break
No. 2 Boston College had no such difficulty scoring in handling Syracuse, 7-2, as Alex Carpenter scored four times, including a natural hat trick. She wasn’t even tops in points for the game, as Haley Skarupa contributed five assists. Melissa Piacentini netted both Orange goals.

More natural ability
Minnesota-Duluth swept Ohio State, 4-2 and 5-2, and Lara Stalder finished the second win with a natural hat trick of her own. She had four assists on the weekend, including three on Friday, giving her a seven-point weekend, matched by linemate Ashleigh Brykaliuk. Brykaliuk scored twice with two helpers, a feat repeated on Saturday by Michela Cava, the duo’s center.

Still no win
Union battled, but the Dutchwomen end 2015 without a victory. Maine’s Meghann Treacy made 17 saves to shut them out, 1-0, on Friday. Nicole Arnold’s second-period goal made a hard-luck loser out of Melissa Black, who saved the other 27 shots. On Saturday, Union found its offense but had to settle for a 2-2 tie. The Black Bears struck first with a short-handed goal from Allyson Matteau, but Lizzy Otten answered on the same power play. Brooke Stacey put Maine back on top late in the second period, but Alli Devins got a third-period equalizer.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 4 Quinnipiac was the only other ranked team to play an official game, and the Bobcats throttled New Hampshire, 6-0. Sydney Rossman needed only seven saves to shut out the Wildcats. Nicole Connery scored twice and added an assist; Taylar Cianfarano matched her three points and tallied once.

Other action
UNH won its other two games of the week, starting with a 3-2 win over Dartmouth on Tuesday. Kyra Smith made 30 saves to preserve the victory, and Margo Lund, Cassandra Vilgrain, and Devan Taylor provided the goals. Lindsey Allen and Ailish Forfar countered for the Big Green.

New Hampshire finished its first half on Sunday defeating Yale, 5-2. Lund, Jonna Curtis, and Vilgrain scored second-period goals; Phoebe Staenz had given the Bulldogs the early 1-0 lead. Kate Haslett and Jenna Rheault added late markers for the Wildcats, after Janelle Ferrara had pulled Yale within one.

Victoria Bach and Sarah Lefort each found the net twice in Boston University’s 6-0 shutout of Providence. Erin O’Neil saved all 27 shots from the Friars.

Providence bounced back with a 4-3 decision over Merrimack. Lexi Romanchuk, Brittney Thunstrom, and the Warriors’ Paige Voight turned in two-goal performances.

Princeton swept visiting Penn State, 4-0 and 3-2. Kimberly Newell denied all 22 shots in the opener, and Jaimie McDonell had three primary assists, while four different Tigers scored. On Saturday, Kelsey Koelzer, Morgan Sly, and McDonell tallied for Princeton, trumping the two-goal game of the Nittany Lions’ Hannah Bramm.

Robert Morris took three of four points at Lindenwood. The teams skated to a 3-3 stalemate on Saturday, thanks to Brittany Howard’s late power-play goal; Sarah Bobrowski knocked in two for the Lions. Jessica Dodds made 27 saves on Sunday in the Colonials’ 4-1 win. Mikaela Lowater scored on a power play, as well as short-handed.

Vermont triumphed, 3-2, to end its six-game losing streak and extend Dartmouth’s skid to six. Molly Depew made 31 saves to allow the visiting Catamounts to come out on top despite being outshot, 33-17. Mackenzie MacNeil and Casey Leveillee gave UVM an early lead, and Victoria Andreakos’ goal 40 seconds into the second period wound up as the game-winner.

Women’s D-I picks: Dec. 10

I had a terrible week last week, going 15-12-5 (.546), I think possibly my worst performance ever. The ECAC and WCHA killed me. On the year, I am 196-60-26 (.741), still good odds for Vegas.

Let’s see if I can close strong.

Thursday, Dec. 10

Boston College at Syracuse
This will be closer than last year’s blowout, but the same result. Boston College 4-1

Friday, Dec. 11

Merrimack at Providence
The Friars close strong. Providence 4-1

New Hampshire at Quinnipiac
A possible trap game, as the Wildcats have been hot, but the smaller cats win. Quinnipiac 3-1

Minnesota at St. Cloud State
This will be closer than the blowouts back in October, but again, same result. Minnesota 4-2

Friday-Saturday, Dec. 11-12

Minnesota-Duluth at Ohio State
Two very inconsistent teams, but I like the way the Bulldogs have played the last few weeks. Minnesota-Duluth 3-2, 3-1

Wisconsin at North Dakota
While the Fighting Hawks have done well against Minnesota in recent years, they’ve faired poorly against the Badgers. Wisconsin 3-1, 4-0

Penn State at Princeton
The Tigers maintain the momentum from last week. Maybe they’ll even win by more than one goal again. Princeton 3-1, 3-2

Union at Maine
I figure Union is due for a win at some point. Maine 3-2, Union 2-1

Saturday, Dec. 12

Vermont at Dartmouth
The Big Green have not been the same since Wisconsin, but I like them to finally get a win. Dartmouth 2-1

Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 12-13

Robert Morris at Lindenwood
The Lions could pass the Colonials in the standings with a series win, but I see Robert Morris getting back on track. Robert Morris 2-1, 3-1

Sunday, Dec. 13

Yale at New Hampshire
This might be the hardest game to pick all weekend. Yale is better than its record, but New Hampshire has been hot. New Hampshire 2-1

What to watch: the last of 2015

A light schedule takes us into the break, but still offers a little of everything.

Skarupa and Crowley both at 199 and counting
Boston College senior forward Haley Skarupa has 199 career points on 94 goals and 105 assists. She will try to reach the 200 career point milestone, while Katie Crowley looks for her 200th win as the Eagles’ coach, when No. 2 BC travels to Syracuse for a Thursday matinee at 4 p.m. EST. The 19-0-0 Eagles look to go into the break undefeated for the second consecutive season, although a year ago they had one tie on their ledger. The Orange are unbeaten in their last three contests, and a win would bump their season record up to the .500 mark.

Another shot at perfection
No. 1 Wisconsin also attempts to finish a perfect first semester at No. 9 North Dakota with games Friday at 7:07 p.m. and Saturday at 4:07, both CST. A season ago, the Badgers took four of the five meetings, with one ending in a tie. UND’s last win over Wisconsin came in a WCHA semifinal in 2014.

Just one win
Forget perfection, Union just wants its first win when it travels to Maine for games on Friday at 7 p.m. EST and Saturday at 2 p.m. The Dutchwomen have defeated the Black Bears at least once in each of the last three seasons, so they’ll be hoping that trend continues.

Feels like the first time
Merrimack and Providence play the first game in their Hockey East rivalry in Providence on Friday at 7 p.m. EST. The Friars have won five of their last nine games, while the first-year Warriors enter on a 10-game losing streak.

ECAC sampler
After starting its week with a win over Dartmouth on Tuesday, New Hampshire continues sampling ECAC opponents when it travels to No. 4 Quinnipiac for a 7 p.m. EST game on Friday. The Bobcats have taken the last two head-to-head meetings. The Wildcats then finish their year by hosting Yale at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The two programs last squared off in October of 2008.

Lions and Tigers
Nittany Lions, that is, as Penn State visits Princeton for games Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m., both EST. The clubs split a series at Penn State a year ago.

Hosting the alma mater
Minnesota-Duluth graduate Jenny Potter coaches against her old team for the first time when the Bulldogs visit Ohio State on Friday at 7:07 p.m. EST, and again Saturday at 4:07 p.m. A sweep could move the Buckeyes ahead of UMD into sixth place in the WCHA standings.

Hall of Fame Game
No. 3 Minnesota and St. Cloud State meet for the second straight year in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Women’s Faceoff Classic. This season’s event will take place Friday in Roseville, Minn., at 6:37 p.m. CST. The Huskies are 6-1-1 over their last eight games, while the Gophers come in riding a two-game losing streak.

CHA points
The only College Hockey America points available this week will be contested when Robert Morris visits Lindenwood for games on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at noon, both CST. The two teams split a pair of overtime games last season in St. Charles, Mo.

One streak has to end
Dartmouth, having lost five in a row, welcomes Vermont, a team on a six-game skid, for a single game on Saturday at 4 p.m. EST. The road team has come away victorious in each of the last three seasons.

Women’s D-I wrap: Dec. 6

League leaders solidified
The teams that came into the week with the best winning percentages in their leagues are still on top, and the leads were either maintained or increased.

No. 1 Wisconsin takes control of the WCHA
Annie Pankowski scored the winning goals both days, and Ann-Renée Desbiens was stellar in net as the Badgers swept a series from Minnesota for the first time since 2009. Pankowski tipped in the winning goal on a power play at 4:05 of overtime on Friday to give the hosts a 3-2 victory. Both teams scored twice in the second period; Gophers Brook Garzone and Milica McMillen sandwiched goals around tallies from Wisconsin’s Sam Cogan and Rachel Jones.

The Badgers backed it up with a 3-1 win on Saturday, as Pankowski scored in each of the first two periods. Minnesota attempted a third-period rally, but that only produced a goal from Sarah Potomak before Sarah Nurse sealed the win with an empty-net goal. The results increased Wisconsin’s program-best start to 18 straight wins.

No. 4 Quinnipiac opens a gap in ECAC Hockey
The Bobcats opened up a five-point conference lead by taking down Dartmouth, 7-1, and No. 7 Harvard, 2-1 in overtime. Junior defenseman Taryn Baumgardt led the attack versus the Big Green with two goals and an assist as Quinnipiac jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the game’s midpoint. Melissa Samoskevich also scored twice, and Taylar Cianfarano, Randi Marcon, and Kristen Tamberg all finished with a goal and a helper. Sydney Rossman saved 21 of the 22 Dartmouth shots.

Rossman had an identical 21 saves on 22 shots as she dueled the Crimson’s Emerance Maschmeyer, who wound up with 31 stops. Cianfarano set up the winning goal with 55 seconds left in OT with a spin move to elude a defenseman before throwing a low backhand on Maschmeyer. Nicole Kosta crashed the net and the rebound went off her skate to Samoskevich on the far side of the crease, and the freshman didn’t miss. Emma Woods had given the Bobcats a first-period lead that stood until Karly Heffernan tied the score at 7:31 of the third period.

No. 2 Boston College remains perfect in Hockey East
BC retained its three-game lead atop Hockey East by sweeping a series at Maine, 5-0 and 7-2. Katie Burt stopped 15 shots to get the shutout in the opener. Notable offensive performances came from Alex Carpenter with a goal and three assists, and three-point games from Kenzie Kent and Kali Flanagan, with two of Flanagan’s being goals. Carpenter became the top scorer in conference games in Hockey East history. Andie Anastos was the top point getter with a goal and two helpers on Sunday, while Megan Keller scored twice.

Mercyhurst holds one-game lead in CHA
The Lakers were one of three conference teams to take three out of four points, as all three CHA games on Saturday ended in ties. Mercyhurst pulled away from Robert Morris on Friday in gaining a 4-1 decision. Emily Janiga scored twice and Jennifer MacAskill and Lauren Kilroy added single tallies. Sara McDonnell made 17 saves, yielding only a Brittany Howard goal.

On Saturday, the Colonials rallied with three straight goals to take a 4-3 third-period lead, but Megan Whiddon’s second goal of the game earned Mercyhurst a 4-4 tie. MacAskill and Taylor Accursi had the other goals for the Lakers, while Amanda Pantaleo, Amber Rennie, Kirsten Welsh, and Sarah Quaranta struck paydirt for RMU.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 6 Bemidji State and No. 9 North Dakota played a Friday-Sunday home-and-home series, and each took a 1-0 win from the other’s arena. Becca Kohler scored on a second-period power play to lift the Fighting Hawks to victory in the first game, with both Shelby Amsley-Benzie and Brittni Mowat making 21 saves with the former getting the shutout. On Sunday, it was Mowat earning the 21-save shutout and Kristin Huber supplying the lone goal less than a minute into the final period.

No. 5 Clarkson fell to Colgate on Friday, 4-3 in overtime. The Golden Knights battled back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, forcing overtime when Olivia Howe scored an extra-attacker goal just five seconds after goalie Shea Tiley departed the ice. The jubilation for Clarkson was short-lived when Shae Labbe needed only 12 seconds of overtime to net the winning goal for the Raiders. Julia Vandyk made 33 saves to get the win. The Golden Knights bounced back with Tiley shutting out Cornell, 4-0. Cayley Mercer tallied twice and Loren Gabel had her second straight game with both a goal and a helper.

Harvard also fell in overtime at Princeton, 2-1, when Kelsey Koelzer fired a shot inside the post at 2:27 of the extra session. Sydney Daniels struck first for the Crimson, midway through the third frame, but Molly Strabley answered for the Tigers 62 seconds later. Kimberly Newell made 25 saves to get the win, and 37 stops weren’t enough for Maschmeyer.

No. 8 Northeastern swept Vermont, 5-1 and 2-1. Sarah Foss made 23 saves in the opener, Paige Savage scored twice, and Hayley Masters, Kendall Coyne, and Maddie Hartman all contributed a goal and an assist. In the second game, Casey Leveillee gave the Catamounts a lead, but Coyne tied the score while short-handed and McKenna Brand won it a couple minutes later. Foss stopped another 26 shots.

No. 10 Minnesota-Duluth had to settle for a 2-2 tie in its opener versus St. Cloud State. Julia Tylke and Vanessa Spataro scored in the second period to put the Huskies up, 2-1, but Demi Crossman got the tying goal in the third period for the Bulldogs, after Michela Cava had opened the scoring. Katie Fitzgerald made 30 saves and helped SCSU to a shootout win. Kayla Black turned in a 25-save shutout as UMD won the series with a 4-0 victory. Maria Lindh, Jessica Healey, Cava, and Ashleigh Brykaliuk scored for the Bulldogs, with the last going into an empty net.

Other action
Colgate had a successful foray into the North Country, backing up the upset of Clarkson with a 2-1 win at St. Lawrence. Jessie Eldridge and Bailey Larson scored to give the Raiders a lead, and although Jenna Marks cut it in half, Vandyk made 23 saves to keep Colgate in front.

Princeton skated past Dartmouth, 4-1. Laura Stacey scored for the second straight day for the Big Green, but that was all they could muster against Newell, who saved the other 30 shots. Morgan Sly, Karlie Lund, and Cassidy Tucker responded with second-period goals, and Hilary Lloyd finished matters into an empty net.

Union had perhaps its most frustrating week of the season, losing three times to remain winless. Jamie Smith gave the Dutchwomen a lead at Providence, but Danielle Hardy, Brittney Thunstrom, Natasia Burzynski, and Christina Putigna rattled off goals for the Friars, who won, 4-1.

Brown’s Julianne Landry then made 38 saves to shut out Union, 2-0, and give her team its first league points. Erin Conway and Samantha Swanstrom potted goals for the Bears.

Jacyn Reeves and Union broke on top in the opening minute versus Yale, but Janelle Ferrara tied the score late in the second period, and Phoebe Staenz won it for the Bulldogs 16 seconds into overtime, 2-1. Melissa Black’s 43 saves for the Dutchwomen weren’t enough, as Hanna Mandl made 23 stops to get the win.

The day before, Yale raced out to a 4-0 lead over Rensselaer just over 17 minutes into the contest and eased to a 4-1 win. Mandl made 22 saves and Jordan Chancellor scored twice.

RPI rebounded with a 2-0 shutout of Brown, with Lovisa Selander denying all 19 shots. Alexa Gruschow’s goal five minutes in held up.

On Friday, Cornell won at St. Lawrence, 4-3, thanks to a hat trick by Jess Brown.

New Hampshire swept a home-and-home series from Merrimack, 4-1 and 2-1 in overtime. Jonna Curtis and Taylor Wenczkowski each scored twice in the opener. Samantha Ridgewell made 55 saves for the Warriors to push Saturday’s game into OT, where Amy Schlagel won it for the Wildcats.

Boston University grabbed leads both days versus Connecticut, only to have the Huskies battle back. A three-goal lead wasn’t enough in the opener, as Theresa Knutson, Jaime Fox, and Justine Fredette scored in the third period to gain Connecticut a 4-4 tie. Knutson’s goal was her second of the day; Rebecca Russo struck twice for the Terriers. Jordy Zacharias’ second goal of the game tied Sunday’s contest at 3-3, but Sarah Lefort’s second goal and fourth point of the game gave BU the 4-3 win.

What to Watch: Dec. 4

Individual sports like tennis often have ladders where participants challenge others of similar ability but a slightly higher ranking, and then the challenger moves up the ladder with a win. The schedule this weekend offers something similar in several leagues for the last full slate of games in 2015.

The purest example occurs in the WCHA, where the league’s top two teams meet in a series, as do its third and fourth, fifth and sixth, and seventh and eighth.

The CHA is almost as competitively matched. Here the first and third teams square off, while the team in second is visited by the one in fourth, and the fifth-place squad travels to the one in sixth.

ECAC Hockey doesn’t have two-game series, so it has more variety in its schedule this week as always. The action does include a number of opponents dueling in the standings, such as the top two teams, as well as the bottom two. Every team in the league has a least one game versus a team that it could either overtake or be passed by in the standings by the conclusion of Saturday’s games.

Hockey East? When you consider that more than half of the nine-team league is currently tied for fourth place, it would be hard to craft a schedule that did not have standings implications.

Here are some of the games that figure to be most closely contested.

Lindenwood at RIT, Friday, 2 p.m. EST, and Saturday, 2 p.m. EST
The Tigers are still looking for their first points in the league, and it would figure that hosting the fifth-place team would provide the best opportunity. However, as we’ve seen in recent years, RIT doesn’t always do things as one might expect. The Lions took three of four points in Rochester a year ago.

Yale at Rensselaer, Friday, 3 p.m. EST
After two straight years in the postseason, the Bulldogs are currently on the outside of the playoff picture. RPI is one of the teams above them that they could easily catch, so these two points are huge. The Engineers last won a game in this series in February 2013.

Brown at Union, Friday, 3 p.m. EST
The Dutchwomen are still looking for their first win overall; they won’t get a better chance than this. The Bears, winless in the ECAC, are the last remaining team on Union’s schedule over whom it has an advantage in scoring margin.

St. Cloud State at No. 10 Minnesota-Duluth, Friday, 3:07 p.m. CST, and Saturday, 3:07 p.m. CST
Thanks to upsets of North Dakota and Harvard the past two weeks, the Bulldogs broke into the rankings. Nobody is talking about the Huskies, but UMD would need a sweep to pass them in the standings.

Robert Morris at Mercyhurst, Friday, 7 p.m. EST, and Saturday, 2 p.m. EST
The CHA team that most seems to relish facing the league bully gets its first chances this season.

Colgate at No. 5 Clarkson, Friday, 7 p.m. EST
Despite being winless in the ECAC, Colgate could pass the Golden Knights if its first victory occurs in Potsdam. The Raiders did win there three years ago, so their seniors know it can be done.

Cornell at St. Lawrence, Friday, 7 p.m. EST
The Big Red find themselves trailing the Saints. That’s often been the case, although in recent years, it has usually been reversed.

No. 9 North Dakota at No. 6 Bemidji State, Friday, 7:07 p.m. CST, Bemidji State at North Dakota, Sunday, 2:07 p.m. CST
When these two played back in October, it took a game and a half before anyone scored. Look for offensive explosions this time. You won’t see them, but it never hurts to look.

No. 3 Minnesota at No. 1 Wisconsin, Friday, 7:07 p.m. CST, and Saturday, 3:07 p.m. CST
Participants in the 2015 Frozen Four collide for the first time. Enough said.

Boston University at Connecticut, Saturday, 3 p.m. EST, Connecticut at Boston University, Sunday, 3 p.m. EST
BU stole the game on Oct. 2 thanks to a Rebecca Russo buzzer beater.

Dartmouth at Princeton, Saturday, 4 p.m. EST
These points could factor into who hosts and who doesn’t once the quarterfinals arrive.

No. 7 Harvard at No. 4 Quinnipiac, Saturday, 4 p.m. EST
Showdown for the lead in the ECAC, plus pivotal PairWise jockeying.

Dartmouth at New Hampshire, Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST
Granite State bragging rights are on the line. The road team last won in 2011, when they played twice and both teams fell at home.

Women’s D-I picks: Dec. 4

I had a pretty good week last weekend, going 20-6-1 (.759). On the year, I am now 181-48-21. We have one of the biggest series of the year on tap, as undefeated Wisconsin hosts nemesis Minnesota. The CHA sees a rivalry renewed between Mercyhurst and Robert Morris, and North Dakota also tries to get the best of Bemidji.

Let’s see how I can do.

Friday, Dec. 4

Colgate at Clarkson
The Golden Knights have been a little inconsistent, but it’s hard to pick against them. Clarkson 4-2

Harvard at Princeton
The Tigers have often troubled Harvard, but I think the Crimson’s loss last weekend will sharpen their focus. Harvard 3-2

Dartmouth at Quinnipiac
I don’t see the Big Green sneaking up on this opponent. Quinnipiac 3-1

Yale at Rensselaer
Every time the Engineers look like they are getting consistent, they lose. Yale 3-1

Cornell at St. Lawrence
The Big Red have been playing well of late. Cornell 4-3

Brown at Union
Perhaps Union’s last shot at a win this first half. Desperation helps. Union 2-1

Friday-Saturday, Dec. 4-5

Robert Morris at Mercyhurst
The Colonials have been playing well, and I expect a split. Mercyhurst 2-1, Robert Morris 3-1

Lindenwood at RIT
The Tigers will eventually get it together, but I like the Lions. Lindenwood 3-2, 2-1

Penn State at Syracuse
Can the Orange get momentum from beating North Dakota? Sure, why not. Syracuse 2-1, 3-1

Merrimack vs. New Hampshire
Signs of life from Durham equals a sweep. New Hampshire 3-1, 3-2

Northeastern at Vermont
No games against Boston teams equals a sweep for the Huskies. Northeastern 4-1, 4-0

St. Cloud State at Minnesota-Duluth
I think I could flip a coin and pick this series more accurately. Minnesota-Duluth 3-2, St. Cloud 2-1

Minnesota at Wisconsin
The Badgers will probably win one, but I’m going with recent history for now. Minnesota 4-2, 3-2

Friday, Sunday, Dec. 4 and Dec. 6

North Dakota vs. Bemidji State
Another home-and-home. The Beavers took the series earlier, and with NoDak’s inconsistency, it might happen again. Bemidji State 2-1, North Dakota 2-1

Saturday, Dec. 5

Cornell at Clarkson
I think I like the upset in this one. Cornell 2-1

Dartmouth at Princeton
Another coin flip game. Call it for the visitors. Dartmouth 3-1

Harvard at Quinnipiac
The Crimson regain first in the ECAC. Overtime wouldn’t be a surprise. Harvard 3-2

Brown at Rensselaer
I like the Engineers to get back on track in this one. Rensselaer 3-2

Colgate at St. Lawrence
The Raiders will pester the Saints, but I like the home team. St. Lawrence 4-3

Yale at Union
A low-scoring affair that will go to the visitors. Yale 2-1

Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 5-6

Boston College at Maine
BC might not rack up a ton of goals, but the Eagles will sweep. Boston College 4-1, 4-0

Connecticut vs. Boston University
Elaine Chuli can definitely give an inconsistent Terriers’ squad fits. I like home ice in each. Connecticut 3-2, Boston University 3-2

Tuesday, Dec. 8

Boston University at Providence
The Friars have been playing well of late, but I like the Terriers in a close one. Boston University 3-2

Dartmouth at New Hampshire
A historic trap game for both teams, but I like the Big Green. Dartmouth 3-2

Women’s D-I wrap: Nov. 29

Bobcats skate to Nutmeg Classic Championship
No. 5 Quinnipiac defeated host Yale, 3-0, in the title game of the Nutmeg Classic. Taylor Cianfarano’s 15th goal of the season at 16:48 of the second period broke a scoreless tie. She assisted on third-period goals by Nicole Connery and Melissa Samoskevich, the latter into an empty net, to secure the win and tournament MVP honors for Cianafarano. Sydney Rossman stopped all 15 shots from the Bulldogs in her shutout, while Yale’s Hanna Mandl made 25 saves in yielding the two goals.

In its semifinal, Quinnipiac was only able to get one puck past Connecticut’s Elaine Chuli, but Nicole Kosta’s goal at 8:03 of the first period, assisted by Connery, was enough for the Bobcats to advance by a 1-0 verdict. Chuli turned away the other 32 shots, and Rossman handled all 16 shots that came her way.

Yale defeated Merrimack, 3-1, to earn its place in the final. Phoebe Staenz and Julia Yetman scored second-period goals, both assisted by Eden Murray and Jordan Chancellor. The Warriors’ Paige Sorenson broke through on a power play early in the third period to provide some hope, but Mallory Souliotis restored the two-goal margin within a minute. Mandl saved 21 shots to preserve the win.

Connecticut won the consolation game, 4-1, over Merrimack. Theresa Knutson scored twice, Margaret Zimmer and Leah Buress notched a goal apiece, and both Justine Fredette and Kayla Mee contributed a pair of helpers. Annie Belanger took over in the Huskies’ net, allowing only a third-period goal by Marie Delarbre out of the 19 Merrimack shots.

Cornell takes two at Windjammer Classic
Although the event didn’t have a true championship game with the brackets being set in advance, Cornell was the only participant to win twice at the Windjammer Classic. The Big Red bested Boston University, 4-2, on Saturday. After each team scored twice in the opening frame, Cornell added a pair of decisive goals in the middle period. Jess Brown, Pippy Gerace, and Cassandra Poudrier each scored and assisted, and Taylor Woods also tallied for the Big Red. Marlene Boissonnault made 21 saves to earn her second win. Sarah Lefort and Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga connected for the Terriers.

Poudrier led the attack with a goal and two helpers on Sunday, and Paula Voorheis made 16 saves to shut out host Vermont, 4-0. Sarah Knee, Woods, and Gerace added goals for Cornell.

In the other game on Saturday, Katie Matheny carved through the Vermont defense to score twice in Ohio State’s 5-2 victory. Julianna Iafallo, Kendall Curtis, and Lauren Spring added goals, Dani Sadek had a pair of primary assists, and Alex LaMere made 30 saves for the Buckeyes. Taylor Willard and Dayna Colang potted goals for the Catamounts.

BU scored three power-play goals in its 5-3 win over Ohio State. Victoria Bach had the most productive game of her career with two goals and two assists. Sarah Lefort, Kayla Tutino, and Rebecca Leslie all had a goal and a helper for the Terriers, while Julia McKinnon accomplished the feat for the Buckeyes.

Providence reclaims Mayor’s Cup
Providence benefited from several big performances offensively as it pulled away from Brown, 6-1, to take possession of the Mayor’s Cup. Spearheading the attack was the line of Cassidy Carels (two goals, two assists), Brooke Boquist (one goal, three assists), and Christina Putigna (one goal, two assists), with help from defenseman Lexi Romanchuk (one goal, two assists). Sam Donovan had the lone offensive highlight for the Bears, and Madison Myers saved the other 20 shots in the Friars’ crease.

More good news than bad for Harvard
No. 8 Harvard sandwiched a pair of wins around one defeat. The Crimson got the week off to a good start with a 3-0 blanking of No. 4 Northeastern, although Emerance Maschmeyer needed 31 saves to earn her shutout. Brittany Bugalski recorded the same number of stops for the Huskies, yielding markers to Sydney Daniels, Grace Zarzecki, and Jessica Harvery.

Harvard also traveled to Minnesota-Duluth and split a series. The Bulldogs took the opener, 4-2, paced by a pair of markers from Ashleigh Brykaliuk and 28 saves by Maddie Rooney. Michaela Cava and Catherine Daoust had the other tallies for UMD, and Mary Parker and Miye D’Oench countered for the Crimson. Maschmeyer made 30 saves on Saturday as Harvard struck back with a 4-1 win. Audrey Warner, D’Oench, Zarzecki, and Daniels hit the net for the victors, and Lara Stalder got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
The country’s top team rolled on, as No. 1 Wisconsin overcame Dartmouth, 4-1 and 4-0. The only offense the Big Green could muster was Lindsey Allen’s goal five minutes into Friday’s contest, assisted by Laura Stacey, to tie the game at 1-1. Jenny Ryan scored the winning goal in the second period for the Badgers, who also got tallies from Annie Pankowski, Sophia Shaver, and Emily Clark. On Saturday, Wisconsin completed the sweep with a more dominant performance, outshooting the visitors, 63-9, and Ann-Renée Desbiens registered her ninth shutout. Sarah Nurse scored twice, and Clark and Sam Cogan also hit the net, while Sydney McKibbon had three assists.

No. 2 Boston College had an easy time of it, breezing past Providence, 9-1, and Northeastern, 6-1. Haley Skarupa sparked the rout of the Friars with a hat trick and five points, and her linemates Alex Carpenter and Kenzie Kent had four and three points, respectively. Katie Burt came through with 36 saves versus the Huskies, Kent scored twice, and Carpenter added three points.

A schizophrenic series unfolded as No. 3 Minnesota swept Minnesota State, 11-1 and 2-1. Sarah Potomak tied a program record in the opener with seven points, Hannah Brandt netted a hat trick, and both she and Dani Cameranesi collected five points. The Gophers needed Cameranesi’s third goal of the weekend to fend off the upset bid by the Mavericks on Saturday, as Brianna Quade rebounded with 29 saves.

Inconsistency continued to plague No. 9 North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks got a 19-save shutout from Shelby-Amsley Benzie in Friday’s 3-0 triumph over Syracuse. Each member of the line of Meghan Dufault centering Amy Menke and Becca Kohler had two points, with the wings’ contributions including a goal apiece. Kohler scored twice on Saturday, but the Orange stormed back from an early deficit to score three times in the second period and close out a 5-2 win. Jessica Sibley had a goal and three points, Emily Costales netted two goals, and Nicole Ferrara, Heather Schwarz, and Melissa Piacentini all had two-point games.

No. 10 Colgate also had to settle for a split versus Mercyhurst. The Raiders were unable to hold an early two-goal lead on Tuesday, and Lakers scored the final four goals to win, 4-2. Taylor Accursi’s tally 6:54 into the third period was the winner, after Paige Horton and Emily Janiga had scored to tie the game. Julia Vandyk turned away all 25 shots as she and Colgate shut out Mercyhurst, 3-0. Olivia Zafuto and Lauren Wildfang scored unassisted goals in the second period. Bailey Larson’s shorthanded, empty-net goal iced the win.

Other action
St. Lawrence got decisive goals in the third period both days in sweeping Penn State, 3-2 and 4-2. On Monday, Jenna Marks scored with under two minutes left in regulation. Brooke Webster and Kennedy Marchment had provided the Saints with earlier leads, but Victoria Samuelsson and Hannah Bramm answered. Tuesday, it was the Nittany Lions taking one-goal leads on tallies by Bramm and Laura Bowman, but Megan Armstrong and Webster drew SLU even. Amanda Boulier won it at the 8:38 mark, and Kailee Heidersbach sealed the win with an empty netter. New Zealand native Grace Harrison earned her first collegiate win.

Princeton also got a sweep of a CHA squad, taking down RIT by 4-0 and 6-1 scores. Kimberly Newell backed the 19-save shutout, with goals coming from Karli Lund, Kelsey Koelzer, Morgan Sly, and Hilary Lloyd. Molly Contini scored twice on Saturday, and Taylor Thurston notched RIT’s lone goal of the weekend.

St. Cloud State stopped Lindenwood twice, 2-0 and 3-2. Katie Fitzgerald denied all 21 shots from the Lions in the opener, while Molly Illikainen and Payge Pena netted pucks. Illikainen scored twice and assisted on Brittney Anderson’s goal as the Huskies overcame Lindenwood goals by Tirra Lemoine and Shannon Morris-Reade on Sunday.

Robert Morris was the only CHA team to come out on the right side of a sweep, dropping Maine by scores of 5-1 and 3-0. Morgan’s Sakundiak’s short-handed goal to open the scoring on Friday was the only offense the Black Bears could muster against Jessica Dodds. Amber Rennie score a pair of goals on Friday, and Ashley Vesci tallied in each game.

New Hampshire edged out a series win over Rensselaer. The Engineers battled back to tie, 3-3, on Friday, when Alex Gruschow completed a hat trick with two goals in the final 4:13 of regulation, including an extra-attacker tally with 73 seconds left. Jonna Curtis, Cassandra Vilgrain, and Amy Schlagel had scored to put UNH up, 3-1. Amy Boucher scored both goals for the Wildcats in their 2-1 win on Saturday, overcoming another goal by Gruschow.

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