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What to watch: first glimpses of Ivy

After giving the other 29 teams a head start, the six Ivy League squads are now set to join the competition.

Voters in the D-I Women’s USCHO.com Poll, who have been taking their best guesses as to where teams like No. 5 Harvard and No. 9 Cornell might belong after graduating impactful senior classes, will at last have some actual data points to analyze. Brown has a new head coach as it looks to improve on its last place finish. Princeton, Yale, and Dartmouth attempt to move up the standings and host an ECAC quarterfinal series, but a surge by a team that finished in the bottom third could potentially knock any of them out of the postseason altogether.

Princeton at Mercyhurst, Friday, 3 p.m. EDT and Saturday, 2 p.m. EDT
Mercyhurst kicked off its season three weeks earlier, but the Lakers and Tigers have the same number of wins entering the weekend. These may not be must-win games for the hosts’ NCAA at-large bid hopes, but they’re at least really-should-win games. The two programs last met in November of 2007, with the Lakers sweeping two games in Hobey Baker Rink.

Harvard at Dartmouth, Friday, 7 p.m. EDT
Perhaps the fairest way for the Ivy League teams to compensate for their later start is to have them debut against each other, but this is the only all-Ivy matchup. The Crimson and the Big Green have the advantage of having a travel partner in the same situation, affording a better opportunity to schedule such an opening game. One of Harvard’s four conference losses last year came on its trip to Hanover.

No. 2 Boston College at Cornell, Friday, 7 p.m. EDT and Saturday, 3 p.m. EDT
The Eagles caught Cornell coming out of the gate last year and thumped the Big Red twice by identical 6-2 scores. Cornell was unable to get its season turned around in time and saw its string of five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances end. BC’s Alex Carpenter, who scored in both games last year, needs one more goal to reach 100 for her career.

Brown at Maine, Friday, 7 p.m. EDT and Saturday, 7 p.m. EDT
The series opens in Auburn, Maine, at Norway Savings Bank Arena before concluding at the Black Bears’ usual home of Alfond Arena in Orono. The Robert Kenneally era begins at Brown. These two programs met in each of the previous four seasons, with Brown holding a 3-2-3 edge in those series.

Yale at No. 8 Quinnipiac, Saturday, 4 p.m. EDT
These in-state rivals meet in a nonconference series. The Bobcats have played four times, but they are coming off a bye week with only an exhibition. Yale looks for a replacement for goalie Jaimie Leonoff from senior Rachelle Graham, junior Hanna Mandl, and freshman Kyra O’Brien. Mandl has the experience edge, having appeared in 10 games with five starts in her career.

Ivy-free options

Minnesota-Duluth at No. 1 Minnesota, Friday, 6:07 p.m. CDT and Saturday, 4:07 p.m. CDT
Maura Crowell attempts to lead a Minnesota-Duluth rally in what once was one of the best rivalries in the sport. The Gophers’ Hannah Brandt, who tallied five times last year against the Bulldogs, also sits at 99 career goals.

No. 6 Bemidji State at No. 3 Wisconsin, Friday, 7:07 p.m. CDT and Saturday, 3:07 p.m. CDT
The only matchup besides BC and Cornell to feature two ranked teams also pairs two of the top three in the WCHA standings. Wisconsin boasts the country’s top scoring defense, while the Beavers are fourth in that category.

Women’s D-I wrap: Oct. 18

History made in Hockey East
Milestones were reached throughout the week in Hockey East.

Merrimack posts program’s first win
After going winless in two nonconference series, Merrimack broke through with its first victory in its debut in league action.

“It’s a pretty sweet victory,” coach Erin Hamlen said.

Backed by 34 saves from Samantha Ridgewell, the Warriors triumphed over New Hampshire, 2-1. Ridgewell was able to hold off the Wildcats while they outshot Merrimack, 15-3, over the opening 20 minutes, allowing her team to seize a lead on Paige Voight’s goal late in the frame. Voight collected a pass from defenseman Meghan Martin, split the defense, and snapped in a short-range wrist shot for the Warriors’ first HEA goal. Martin added another assist early in the final period, clearing a puck away from the slot while on a penalty kill; Jackie Pieper picked it up along the side boards, carried the length of the ice, and backhanded in the program’s first short-handed goal. UNH drew within one on a Jonna Curtis goal, but Ridgewell and the Warriors prevented an equalizer.

“She’s one of the calmest goalies that I’ve ever encountered,” Hamlen said. “The nice thing about that is she settles the team.”

Merrimack was on the other end of a 2-1 score on Sunday versus Maine. Emily Volpe gave the Warriors an early lead, but the Black Bears rallied on the strength of second-period goals from Catherine Tufts and Abbey Cook. Meghann Treacy made 32 saves and Maine’s penalty kill did the job all five times.

Coyne nets 100th goal
A series hosting Mercyhurst that got off to a disastrous start for Northeastern ended with a sweep for the Huskies by scores of 5-4 and 7-3.

The first of two goals for Kendall Coyne on Saturday was the 100th in her Northeastern career. Coyne totaled three goals and seven points on the weekend.

The Lakers got off to a dream start on Friday. Sarah Robello’s second goal of the day put them up 4-0 just over 12 minutes into the contest. A five-on-three power-play goal from Jordan Krause provided a breath of life to the Huskies by the intermission. Coyne scored a highlight-reel, short-handed goal and McKenna Brand took advantage of another power play to close the score to 4-3. Hayley Scamurra struck with a minute to go in the second period to tie it up, and then she won it midway through the final frame.

Mercyhurst got the early jump again on Saturday, taking a first-intermission lead on goals from Emily Janiga and Taylor Accursi. Early in the second period, a Lakers penalty killer provided a prime example of why you can’t skate to the bench for a new stick while the puck is in your zone. By the time she returned, Coyne had capitalized on the two-skater advantage to bury a shot. Paige Savage tied the game four minutes later. J’nai Mahadeo gave Mercyhurst one final lead, but it was obliterated by a five-goal third period for Northeastern, including a Denisa Krížová hat trick.

Both teams entered the weekend searching for a starting goaltender, and the Lakers are still looking. For the Huskies, despite muffing the first shot she faced after coming on in relief on Friday, Brittany Bugalski stopped the next 28 shots to earn that win and backed it up with another on Saturday.

Carpenter blazes beyond 200-point plateau
Senior Alex Carpenter of No. 2 Boston College hit 200 career points on Monday while notching a hat trick in a 7-3 defeat of St. Lawrence. The Eagles also cruised over Maine, 4-0, and New Hampshire, 6-0. Carpenter wound up with four goals and four assists for the week, sits at 207 points at BC, and is tied for the national lead with 17 points. Haley Skarupa, Kristyn Capizzano, and Kenzie Kent all had two-goal games during the week. Katie Burt made 43 saves to earn both shutouts.

Defensive tilts
Offense was in much shorter supply as No. 6 North Dakota and No. 8 Bemidji State played a series on both sides of the Red River. On Friday in Bemidji, it took a shootout goal by UND’s Becca Kohler to prove it really was possible to put a puck in the net and give her team a second WCHA point after the teams played to a 0-0 overtime tie. Shelby Amsley-Benzie needed 23 saves to earn her shutout; Brittni Mowat stopped all 32 official shots for the Beavers.

Moving to Grand Forks on Saturday, Lexie Shaw got the call in net for the hosts. Amy Menke buried a power-play rebound midway through the second stanza to give UND the first lead of the weekend. With under two minutes left in regulation and Mowat off for an extra attacker, Lauren Miller fired a shot through a screen to tie the game, the Beavers’ first goal of the weekend after 123 minutes of offensive futility. With only eight seconds remaining until another shootout, BSU’s Alexis Joyce threw a shot toward the goal that hit a skate and deflected past Shaw for a 2-1 OT win for the Beavers. Kaitlyn Tougas assisted on both goals, and Mowat made 24 saves for the win.

Clarkson stays perfect
No. 4 Clarkson continued its perfect start at No. 9 Boston University’s expense. The Golden Knights traveled to Boston and swept by scores of 4-2 and 4-1. Sarah Lefort set up goals by Kayla Tutino and Maddie Elia to give the Terriers the early advantage. Emma Keenan answered with her first collegiate goal less than two minutes later, and Loren Gabel tied the score eight seconds before the second intermission. Kelly Mariani needed just 88 seconds out of the break to give Clarkson its first lead of the day, and Cayley Mercer put the game away with the Knights’ fourth straight goal. Shea Tiley made 34 saves to win the opener.

On Saturday, Olivia Howe connected twice to give Clarkson a 2-0 lead. Sammy Davis pulled BU to within one by the end of the middle period, but Geneviève Bannon thwarted a further rally with a pair of goals, the second into an empty net. Tiley saved 22 more shots.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 1 Minnesota and No. 2 Wisconsin traded opponents from the previous weekend, and neither ran into much difficulty.

The Badgers earned a road sweep over St. Cloud State, 5-0 and 2-0. Ann-Renée Desbiens needed only 10 saves to claim a shutout on Friday. Megan Miller was only slightly busier as she turned away 14 shots Saturday, as the Huskies failed to generate any offense for a second straight week. Katie Fitzgerald did her best to provide a better outcome for her team’s home opener, stopping 40 shots the first day and 32 of the 33 she faced on Saturday. Two short-handed goals for Sarah Nurse 21 seconds apart highlighted Friday’s game; only Erika Sowchuck put a puck by Fitzgerald in the second game.

Three times host Ohio State scored in the closing seconds of a period, but outside of that, it was all Minnesota in its 7-2 and 11-2 wins. Sarah Potomak, Dani Cameranesi, and Hannah Brandt all had eight-point weekends, with Brandt netting a hat trick on Saturday and Cameranesi hitting the net twice each day. Caitlin Reilly scored her first two goals as a Gopher, and Claudia Kepler had a goal in each game for the Buckeyes.

Other action
St. Lawrence swept a home-and-home series from Vermont, 4-0 and 3-2. Hannah Miller scored the first and final goals on Thursday in support of Brooke Wolejko’s 17-save shutout. The Catamounts scored first and last on Friday, but the Saints’ three second-period goals proved decisive.

Robert Morris won twice at Rensselaer, 2-0 and 3-1. Jessica Dodds handled all 39 shots to get a shutout in the opener, with Mackenzie Johnston and Ashley Vesci providing tallies. Taylor Schwalbe finally lit the lamp for the Engineers 35 seconds into game two, but Dodds gobbled up the other 34 RPI attempts. Johnston tied the game within a minute, and Amber Rennie and Kirsten Welsh added power-play goals 10 minutes later.

Minnesota-Duluth evened both its WCHA and overall records with a 4-2 and 4-0 sweep of Minnesota State. Katherine McGovern opened the scoring 4:47 into Friday’s action and the Bulldogs led the rest of the way. Lara Stalder, Morgan Morse, and Catherine Daoust hit the net for UMD, as did Amanda Conway and Emily Antony for the Mavericks. Maddie Rooney made 14 saves to get her first shutout, with Maria Lindh and Michela Cava potting a pair apiece.

Penn State swept Union by identical 3-0 scores, with Celine Whitlinger and Hannah Ehresmann each picking up a shutout. Laura Bowman scored in each game, and Victoria Samuelsson and Amy Peterson had three assists in the series.

Colgate defeated Providence, 6-2. Megan Sullivan and Jessie Eldridge had two-goal games for the Raiders.

Connecticut came from behind twice to topple Syracuse, 4-3. Nicole Ferrara and Nicole Renault put the Orange up by two, but Justine Fredette and Madison Badeau tied the game with goals 16 seconds apart. Melissa Piacentini gave Syracuse another lead, but freshman Jordy Zacharias knotted the game at three after 49 seconds. Theresa Knutson scored the game-winner with under three minutes left in regulation. All of the Connecticut goals were the players’ first of the season.

Connecticut came from behind a couple more times to salvage a 3-3 tie with visiting Colgate. Leah Buress and Brittany Berisoff scored in the final 10 minutes for the Huskies, after the Raiders had built a 3-1 lead on power-play goals by Megan Sullivan, Bailey Larson, and Annika Zalewski. Elaine Chuli made 40 saves for the Huskies, who also got a goal from Margaret Zimmer. Shelby Perry had three helpers for Colgate.

Syracuse rebounded with a 4-0 shutout of Providence. Jenn Gilligan needed only 10 saves for the shutout. Jessica Sibley, Morgan Blank, Nicole Ferrara, and Emily Costales netted the goals.

What to watch (Lord knows how)

Last week, I tried to highlight a few games that were available to watch for those of us from outside the area. One was even on good, old-fashioned television. Well, mostly.

BTN, in its infinite wisdom, cut away during the second period to bring live, breaking coverage of the press conference to announce the firing of Maryland’s football coach. I found this decision flawed on so many levels.

First, maybe Maryland football has more fans than all of the women’s college hockey programs put together, although I can’t say that I’ve personally ever met one or watched a minute of Terrapins football, let alone one of its press conferences. But as others pointed out, would any of these Maryland football fans have been tuned into a women’s college hockey game that was on opposite of NFL games?

Second, it was a press conference. A press conference. I don’t think we need Allen Iverson to explain where that should rank.

There were many other ways that BTN could have handled sharing the news that Randy Edsall would no longer be coaching Maryland football. The announcer of the hockey game could have told us — and he did. An announcement could have scrolled across the bottom of the screen, and they did that, too. Beyond that, borrow a line from Hawk Harrelson, and say, “He gone!” Then let’s get back to hockey, and you can give us a press-conference highlights package between periods.

I know that the hockey game was still available online, but the whole point is that we’re supposed to get to watch our sport on a real TV screen for once. Let the football press conference people go sign into BTN2GO. No, why show live competition when we can instead watch old guys talk? Although if that’s what we want to watch, there’s always C-SPAN.

So this week, I’ll tell you what there is to watch, but you’ll have to figure out how to watch it. Because as I found out last week, our options for watching could change at any minute if somebody who I didn’t know existed should happen to get fired.

Five things to watch
McGill is starting to pop up on the schedule. No, the Martlets aren’t one of the five things that I’m recommending, but it is a sure sign that the Ivies are getting close to joining the rest of ECAC Hockey.

Mercyhurst at Northeastern, Friday, 2 p.m. EDT and Saturday, 1 p.m. EDT
Emily Janiga and Kendall Coyne, senior captains who are also the active career points leaders for their squads, meet in one of those early-season clashes that start to sort out who might be part of the NCAA at-large bid discussion. Early though it may be, getting swept this weekend could wind up haunting either team all season.

North Dakota vs. Bemidji State, Friday, 2:07 p.m. CDT and Saturday, 2:07 p.m. CDT
This is a home-and-home series. Bemidji State is threatening to be a regular on the “What to watch” list. One reason is the Beavers had a top-10 defense last year and a so-so offense, meaning they play a lot of close games. Last season, North Dakota’s defense was not quite as strong, but was also top-10, while its offense also fell outside the top 10. Both teams feature All-American goaltenders, have top-10 rankings, and who knows, by the time they next meet, they might both even have nicknames.

Clarkson at Boston University, Friday, 7 p.m. EDT and Saturday, 3 p.m. EDT
A year ago, the Terriers traveled to Potsdam, N.Y. and came home with two wins. Now, No. 4 visits No. 9. I’ve heard that revenge is a dish best served cold — where better than on the ice?

Alex Carpenter, Saturday, 2 p.m. EDT and Sunday, 2 p.m. EDT
The schedule lists these games as Boston College hosting Maine and New Hampshire, but Carpenter is the reason to watch. The reigning Patty Kazmaier Award winner hit and surpassed the 200 point mark for her career on Monday with four points versus St. Lawrence. She sits an even 100 shy of Meghan Agosta’s NCAA career points mark. At her present pace, Carpenter will be setting a new record about the time that the postseason arrives. Although, if some Hockey East teams don’t show some improvement soon, that will be a conservative estimate.

Colgate at Connecticut, Sunday, 2 p.m. EDT
Could this be a breakthrough season for the Raiders? Two games do not a season make, but Colgate has a shot at putting together a nice string out of the gate. This trip to Storrs could be the toughest obstacle it will face this month.

Women’s D-I picks: Oct. 15

Well, I fell back to Earth a little last weekend, but still did pretty well, going 18-4 (.818). On the year, I am also pretty stellar, going 40-5-4 (.857). Let’s see if I can keep myself above .800!

Thursday-Friday, Oct. 15-16

Vermont at St. Lawrence
I think these will be close games, but pick the Saints in a sweep. St. Lawrence 3-2, 4-2

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 16-17

North Dakota at Bemidji State
This has split all over it, but I’ll probably get the days wrong. Bemidji State 3-2, North Dakota 2-1

Minnesota at Ohio State
OSU gave up 15 goals last weekend against Wisconsin; this could get ugly. Minnesota 5-1, 4-0

Wisconsin at St. Cloud State
St. Cloud gave up 18 goals to Minnesota last weekend. This, too, could get ugly. Wisconsin 5-1, 7-0

Minnesota State at Minnesota-Duluth
Minnesota State will keep both games close. Minnesota-Duluth 3-2, 2-1

Clarkson at Boston University
A split is likely, but I’m bucking the trend and picking Clarkson to sweep. Clarkson 3-2, 3-1

Mercyhurst at Northeastern
How many splits will this weekend have? Northeastern 3-2, Mercyhurst 3-2

Robert Morris at Rensselaer
This should tell us a lot about both programs. I’m going for an RPI sweep. Rensselaer 3-2, 2-1

Saturday, Oct. 17

Maine at Boston College
BC at home equals a nice win. Boston College 4-1

New Hampshire at Merrimack
Is this the first win for the Warriors? New Hampshire 3-2

Syracuse at Connecticut
I think the Orange might just take the CHA this year. They can’t afford nonconference losses though. Syracuse 4-2

Colgate at Providence
I think the Friars are going to take a while to gel, and Colgate looked good last time out. Colgate 3-2

Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 17-18

Union at Penn State
The Nittany Lions can’t afford to get too swept up in their upset of Boston University last weekend. Penn State 3-1, 3-2

Sunday, Oct. 18

New Hampshire at Boston College
From what I’ve seen of New Hampshire so far, this could get ugly. Boston College 5-1

Maine at Merrimack
The Black Bears get a split out of their trip down 95. Maine 4-1

Syracuse at Providence
The Orange get another win over a Hockey East squad. Syracuse 4-2

Colgate at Connecticut
A tough game to call, but I think Connecticut is improved this year. Connecticut 4-2

Wednesday, Oct. 21

RIT at Syracuse
RIT will come together at some point, but not in this game. Syracuse 4-2

Women’s D-I wrap: 10/12

A bad week for Hockey East
Outside of No. 2 Boston College, the other six teams in Hockey East that took to the ice suffered at least one defeat, and home ice didn’t offer much sanctuary. The seven teams combined to go 3-10 for the week.

The Eagles outgunned St. Lawrence, 7-4, on Sunday in the first half of their two-game series. Alex Carpenter set the pace with a goal and four assists. Megan Keller netted a pair of goals and added a helper. Four players had single tallies for the Saints, who remained winless on the season.

No. 7 Boston University fell for the first time this season, 5-3, at the hands of Penn State. Laura Bowman, Emily Laurenzi, and Bella Sutton put the Nittany Lions up by three 10:18 into the contest, and although Sarah Lefort and Victoria Bach closed BU to within one by the second intermission, Hannah Hoenshell and Christi Vetter pushed the margin out of reach, as Celine Whitlinger made 38 saves. The Terriers responded on Saturday with a 3-1 triumph. Bowman gave PSU a short-lived lead, but Rebecca Leslie, who had a hand in all of her team’s goals, scored the game-winner at 16:37 of the second period. Samantha Sutherland and Sammy Davis also found the net for BU, and Erin O’Neil stopped 27 of 28 shots to earn her first “W” of the year.

Northeastern and New Hampshire entertained two different CHA opponents. Kendall Coyne got the Huskies off to a quick start versus Syracuse, scoring twice in the first 4:28, and NU maintained a lead throughout in winning, 5-4. Shelby Herrington knocked in a couple of goals as well, and Taytum Clairmont’s power-play tally at 14:15 of the third period proved to be the winning goal. Melissa Piacentini keyed the comeback attempt for the Orange with two goals and an assist. Single goals by Coyne and Herrington weren’t enough for Northeastern in falling to Lindenwood, 4-2. The Huskies were done in by a Shara Jasper hat trick at one end of the ice, combined with 38 saves from Jolene deBruyn for the freshman’s first victory. Jasper now has seven goals and 11 points, both tied for the most in the country.

UNH played the same two opponents and had even less success. Lindenwood bested the Wildcats, 4-2, with Jasper involved in all of her team’s goals and Nicole Hensley making 36 saves. Julia Fedeski and Jonna Curtis each had a goal and an assist for New Hampshire. Jenn Gilligan got the upper hand on her old team on Saturday, making 15 saves in the 3-2 win for Syracuse over UNH. Goals by Emily Costales, Heather Schwarz, and Nicole Ferrara added up to one more than the tallies that the Wildcats got from Amy Schlagel and Amy Boucher.

Vermont was blanked in both ends of a home-and-home series versus No. 5 Clarkson, 5-0 and 3-0. Shea Tiley and McKenzie Johnson each earned a shutout. Kelly Mariani and Rhyen McGill had two-goal games, while Renata Fast, Olivia Howe, Josiane Pozzebon, and Loren Gabel also hit the net.

Maine was swept off of home ice by Quinnipiac, 3-1 and 5-1. Sydney Rossman faced 30 shots total in garnering both wins. Taylar Cianfarano and Melissa Samoskevich combined on the winning goal in the opener, and each had three-point games on Saturday; Cianfarano had three goals on the weekend.

Merrimack was the only team in the league to venture on the road, and the Warriors were swept by Robert Morris, 6-1 and 4-2. Jessica Dodds totaled 39 saves in gaining both victories. The Colonials’ Sarah Quaranta had three points in each game, while Brittany Howard chipped in a five-point weekend. The first collegiate goals for Beatrice Dufour, Madison Morey, and Emily Volpe were the bright spots in the series for Merrimack.

WCHA action begins
League play opened out west, and the four ranked teams that also advanced to the league semifinals in March all recorded sweeps, although two were far more competitive than the others. All three of the new coaches in the conference found themselves on the wrong side of the verdicts.

No. 6 North Dakota was the only victor playing on the road and was taken to the wire both days by Minnesota State, prevailing 2-1 and 4-2. Second-period goals from Vilma Tanskanen, her first as a collegian, and Layla Marvin were enough on Friday, as Elin Johansson was the only Maverick to beat Shelby Amsley-Benzie. Johansson opened the scoring on Saturday, but a short-handed goal from Gracen Hirschy and a pair of strikes by Meghan Dufault had UND up by a goal when Becca Kohler hit an empty net. Leila Kilduff’s first MSU goal was the only other scoreboard contribution for the hosts.

The most competitive action of the weekend occurred at No. 9 Bemidji State, where the Beavers upended Minnesota-Duluth, 2-0 and 2-1 in overtime. Reilly Fawcett and Stephanie Anderson chased Kayla Black with first-period goals. Maddie Rooney came on in relief for UMD and saved all 17 shots she faced, but the damage had already been done, because the Bulldogs couldn’t solve Brittni Mowat, who earned a 31-save shutout. Demi Crossman finally got a puck by Mowat with an unassisted, short-handed goal on Saturday. Kristin Huber tied the game in the second period, and Lauren Miller won it at 3:21 of overtime. Mowat turned in another 31-save performance to out-duel Rooney.

There was far less drama in Minneapolis and Madison. The No. 1 Gophers totally dominated St. Cloud in winning, 7-0 and 11-0. Hannah Brandt had four goals on Saturday, and she, Sarah Potomak, Kate Schipper, Dani Cameranesi, and Kelly Pannek all had at least five points in the series.

No. 3 Wisconsin demolished Ohio State in similar fashion, 7-0 and 8-0. Ann-Renée Desbiens needed 10 saves the first day and 19 the second to add two shutouts to her resume. Emily Clark led the onslaught with four goals and three assists, while Annie Pankowski scored three times and helped three more.

Other action
Clarkson started its week with a 3-1 win at Syracuse on Tuesday night, with Tiley getting another win on the strength of 22 saves. McGill and Shannon MacAulay put the Golden Knights up by a pair. Piacentini cut the deficit in half, but Cayler Mercer wrapped the game up with under two minutes to go.

Rensselaer cruised to a sweep at RIT. In Friday’s 6-2 win, Mari Mankey scored twice, and Katie Rooney, Aly Tremblay, Shayna Tomlinson, and Laura Horwood chipped in singles to make a first-time winner of freshman goalie Lovisa Selander. On Saturday, senior Sara Till stopped 22 of 23 shots to gain her first career win by a 3-1 score. Alexa Gruschow fueled the offense with two goals after Rooney and RIT’s Carly Payerl connected for the second straight game.

Picks: Oct. 9

I had a pretty good picks week last weekend, going 17-1-1 (.921). On the year, I am 22-1-4 (.888), pretty good odds for Vegas. Maybe I should hit the tables. Then I remember how I blew an early-season lead over Arlan last year, and get sobered on that thought.

Let’s see how I can do this weekend.

Friday, Oct. 9

Syracuse at Northeastern
This one is really hard to pick. If the Orange can shut down Kendall Coyne, they could win, but that’s easier said than done. Northeastern 3-2

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 9-10

Minnesota-Duluth at Bemidji State
The marquee matchup of the weekend I think, and the hardest to pick. Let’s go with a split. Bemidji State 2-1, Minnesota-Duluth 3-2

North Dakota at Minnesota State
I expect the Mavericks to be better this year, but not North Dakota better. North Dakota 4-2, 4-1

St. Cloud State at Minnesota
St. Cloud ruined Merrimack’s D-I debut last weekend, but the Gophers are in a different stratosphere. Minnesota 4-1, 4-1

Penn State at Boston University
The Nittany Lions looked good against the Gophers last week, and should challenge the Terriers, but fall short. Boston University 4-2, 3-2

Clarkson at Vermont
The Golden Knights should roll on through. Clarkson 4-1, 3-1

Quinnipiac at Maine
A long bus ride should equal tight games, but I have to favor the Bobcats. Quinnipiac 3-2, 2-1

Rensselaer at RIT
Two ties wouldn’t surprise me. Rensselaer looked good last weekend against North Dakota, and this is RIT’s first series. Rensselaer 3-2, RIT 2-1

Merrimack at Robert Morris
I was surprised by the Warriors last weekend, and Robert Morris looked dreadful. Let’s pick a split. Merrimack 2-1, Robert Morris 3-1

Saturday, Oct. 10

Syracuse at New Hampshire
The Orange get on the win sheet. Syracuse 3-1

Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 10-11

Ohio State at Wisconsin
Jenny Potter has the Buckeyes looking good, but the Badgers present a different test. Wisconsin 3-1, 3-1

Sunday-Monday, Oct. 11-12

St. Lawrence at Boston College
A tie in St. Lawrence was the only blemish on BC’s first half last year. I image they’ll remember that. Boston College 4-1, 4-2

What to watch this week (and how!)

What to watch this week
The schedule this week offers several different methods for watching some hockey. If you’re looking to scout as many teams as possible for the upcoming season, or just get out of raking leaves, there are a number of options, despite the fact that we’re still waiting on the Ivies and a few others have scheduled exhibitions or the no-fun-to-watch bye.

In addition to what is mentioned here, there are also a bunch of pay-to-watch streaming options. The diehard fans will pursue those, but they likely know all the details better than I do.

Televised hockey
A precious few games each season find their way to a television broadcast, although some of those are usually broadcast on a delayed basis. Those with access to BTN can check out some hockey on live TV on Sunday at 2:07 p.m. CDT, as Wisconsin hosts Ohio State in the second game of their series. This weekend is the first time Mark Johnson and Jenny Potter meet as coaches, and that pairing brings some interesting story lines. Both won Olympic Gold medals as players. Both won NCAA titles as players. So far, only one has won the NCAA championship as a coach. For the other, this weekend could be a first step toward changing that.

Free streams
Some of these have better quality than others, but I figure if it is free, the viewers at least get their money’s worth.

Friday

Syracuse at Northeastern, 2:00 p.m. EDT. Annually, Matthews Arena offers one of the highest-quality, free streams.

North Dakota at Minnesota State, 2:07 p.m. CDT. The Mavericks have moved from All-Seasons Arena to the Verizon Wireless Center. I don’t know if image quality will be better, but the shots of the confines have to be.

Quinnipiac at Maine, 7:00 p.m. EDT. If Maine has had free streaming in the past, I confess I wasn’t aware of it, but watching it Sunday, it was a nice picture.

Clarkson at Vermont, 7:00 p.m. EDT. The first of three opportunities to view the Catamounts in the coming week.

Saturday

Quinnipiac at Maine, 2:00 p.m. EDT. Game two.

Lindenwood at Northeastern, 2:00 p.m. EDT. There aren’t a lot of opportunities to watch Lindenwood, and one of the best goalies in the country, for free.

Vermont at Clarkson, 3:00 p.m. EDT. Same teams, different city.

North Dakota at Minnesota State, 2:07 p.m. CDT. Game two.

Thursday

St. Lawrence at Vermont, 7:00 p.m. EDT. It’s possible that this game matches two teams that are still winless on the season.

Buy a ticket and watch in person
Minnesota-Duluth at Bemidji State, Friday at 7:07, Saturday at 2:07. This duo met seven times last season, and most of the games were very close. Maura Crowell might be surprised to learn you can live in Duluth and still have to travel north, along with west, for a road game. The good news is this will likely be the warmest trip to Bemidji for a series that she’ll ever have.

Plan B to watch in person
St. Lawrence at Boston College, Monday at 1:00. Yes, these teams play on Sunday as well, but the real attraction is getting to watch college hockey on a Monday afternoon. If you work a job that counts Columbus Day as a paid day off, there can’t be many better ways to celebrate this holiday.

Disclaimer
Feel free to comment if I’ve omitted or misstated some piece of information. And if I did mess up, again, you’re still getting your money’s worth.

Weekend wrap: Oct. 4

Welcome to Division I!
After months and months of planning and preparation, Merrimack’s program is off the ground. The debut may not be the stuff of fairy tales, but it certainly wasn’t disastrous either.

The Warriors’ inaugural game drew an announced crowd of 1,781 as they hosted St. Cloud State. The home team provided plenty of thrills, scoring four straight power-play goals to turn a two-goal deficit into a two-goal advantage midway through the final period. It was not to be, as the Huskies responded with a four-goal burst of their own, including three power-play goals, to record a 6-4 victory. Katelyn Rae had the honor of scoring the first goal in Merrimack history. Paige Sorenson, Jackie Pieper, and Paige Voight also found the back of the net for the hosts. Defenseman Lexi Slattery led the attack for SCSU with two goals and a pair of assists.

The Huskies completed the sweep on Saturday. Merrimack’s Felila Manu scored on the game’s first shift, and Dominique Kremer later tied the game, 2-2, but that was it for good news for the Warriors. SCSU again scored the final four goals of the game and triumphed, 6-2. Six different Huskies scored, and Brittney Anderson and Molly Illikainen had a trio of assists. Both teams can work on their penalty kills, as each yielded five goals while short-handed on the weekend.

How the top 10 fared
It was a good week to be ranked. None of the top 10 teams lost, although there were some close calls.

No. 1 Minnesota got shutouts from both Amanda Leveille and Sidney Peters and swept Penn State, 2-0 and 5-0. Celine Whitlinger’s 41 saves weren’t enough for the hosts in the opener, as Milica McMillen’s power-play tally and Sarah Potomak’s first collegiate goal into an empty net made the Gophers victorious. Kelly Pannek and Hannah Brandt netted a pair apiece and Megan Wolfe chipped in a goal and an assist as Minnesota cruised in the second game.

No. 2 Boston College grabbed early leads both days and held the lead the rest of the way as it swept visiting Minnesota-Duluth, 4-1 and 4-2. Andie Anastos scored twice in the opener, and the Eagles got single goals from Dana Trivigno and Alex Carpenter. Down 4-0 by the second intermission, a tally from Lara Stalder was all UMD could must. Carpenter completed her hat trick into an empty net in a slightly more-competitive game two, after Megan Keller had opened the scoring. Michela Cava and Maria Lindh pulled the Bulldogs within one on separate occasions, but the visitors could get no closer. Katie Burt earned both wins.

Providence and No. 3 Wisconsin played their series in San Jose, Calif. Outside of Kate Friesen scoring the first goal of the weekend to put the Friars up, little went PC’s way. Annie Pankowski was the first of five Badgers to answer, and UW closed out the 5-1 win. Pankowski started the scoring on Saturday on a power play, and completed her hat trick with a pair of short-handed goals as Wisconsin romped, 8-1. Sarah Nurse scored twice, giving her three goals on the weekend.

No. 5 Clarkson took both ends of a nonconference, home-and-home series with St. Lawrence. In the opener at Cheel Arena, Olivia Howe put the hosts up in the first period, freshman Loren Gabel doubled the lead in the second, and Cayley Mercer took advantage of one of those trademark early-extra-attacker gambles by Chris Wells to give the Golden Knights a three-goal lead. Shea Tiley saved all 23 shots as Savannah Harmon finished of the scoring in a 4-0 win for Clarkson. Switching to Appleton Arena for the second game, SLU was the squad that scored in each of the first two periods, with freshman Kayla Nielsen and Hannah Miller doing the damage. Another freshman, goaltender Sonjia Shelly, was doing all she could to earn the Saints their first win of the season, stopping everything despite being peppered with 32 shots in the first 40 minutes, but the dam broke in the third. Harmon and Mercer scored to knot the score, and freshman Rhyen McGill won it for Clarkson with 3:15 remaining in regulation.

No. 6 North Dakota got a scare in its opener at Rensselaer. The Engineers had only four shots in the first period, but half of them found a way past Shelby Amsley-Benzie and the hosts were up, 2-0, thanks to goals by Alexa Gruschow and Laura Horwood. Sam LaShomb started a comeback, and Halli Krzyzaniak scored twice in the second period to give UND a lead. But RPI wasn’t done, as freshman Josefine Hansen tied the score in the final frame. Senior Becca Kohler scored at 18:01, and UND was able to close out the 4-3 victory. North Dakota had an easier time in the second game, taking a first-period lead on Layla Marvin’s short-handed goal. Meghan Dufault scored the eventual game-winner in the second period, and LaShomb and Kohler added goals in the third, the last into an empty net. Rookie Taylor Schwalbe’s goal was the only response RPI could generate as it fell, 4-1.

Mercyhurst avoided the sweep at No. 7 Quinnipiac. The Lakers came from behind twice in the opener to gain a 3-3 tie. Emma Woods and freshman Melissa Samoskevich gave the hosts a 2-0 lead, but Emily Janiga responded with two goals for Mercyhurst. Woods put the Bobcats back on top in the third period, but rookie Sarah Hine scored an extra-attacker goal with 24 seconds left to produce the stalemate. Taylar Cianfarano opened the scoring on Saturday for Quinnipiac, but the Lakers rallied yet again on the strength of a Jenna Dingeldein goal. However, Meghan Turner scored early in the second period, and the Bobcats made this lead stand up, thanks to Sydney Rossman’s 25 saves in earning the 2-1 win, the first for new coach Cassandra Turner.

No. 8 Boston University was another team that was pushed to the limit by an underdog. Senior Brittany Berisoff’s goal had Connecticut on top, 1-0, until freshman Sammy Davis responded for the Terriers with a third-period goal. Senior Rebecca Russo gave BU a 2-1 triumph when she found the net with a mere three tenths of a second before the final horn. Victoria Hanson made 20 stops to garner the win, and Elaine Chulie was denied despite turning aside 46 shots for UConn. The Terriers fashioned another comeback win versus Maine, 4-2. Down quickly on the road, 2-0, on goals by Audra Richards and Emilie Brigham, BU drew even on second-period strikes by Davis and Russo. The Black Bears committed four consecutive penalties in the third period, and Davis capitalized on the final one, burying a rebound. Rebecca Leslie sealed it with an empty-net goal while shorthanded.

No. 9 Bemidji State came home from Vermont victorious after sweeping the Catamounts, 2-1 and 3-0. Emma Terres and Madison Hutchinson gave the Beavers an early 2-0 lead on Friday. Bridget Baker halved the lead for UVM, Brittni Mowat needed only 11 saves to preserve the win, as 31 saves for Madison Litchfield weren’t enough. Mowat was the busier of the two on Saturday, but she controlled all 30 shots sent her way to post the shutout. BSU got a goal in each period, with credit going to Ciscely Nelson, Kristin Huber, and Hanna Moher. Hutchinson had a pair of assists and finished with four points for the series. Frustrations boiled over at the final buzzer, with the two teams combining for three major penalties, plus two misconducts and a game misconduct.

A winning record
Minnesota State endured a miserable 2014-15 season, winning only three times. After four games, the Mavericks sit on the good side of the .500 line in John Harrington’s first season behind the bench, after salvaging a split at RIT.

The Tigers took the opener, 2-1, in comeback fashion. Elin Johansson scored the game’s first goal at 5:50 of the third period. Scott McDonald called timeout, RIT regrouped, Cassie Clayton tied it up 83 seconds later, and Lindsey Stenason potted the game-winning goal with 21 ticks left. Brooke Stoddart recorded 26 saves in earning the win.

On Saturday, MSU jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on goals from freshman Emily Harris, Hannah Davidson, and Johansson. RIT closed to within one on the first collegiate goal for Mallory Rushton and a short-handed effort by Jess Paton. Freshman Jordan McLaughlin’s third-period goal boosted the lead back to 4-2, and Brianna Quade kept it right there, finishing with 33 saves.

A successful debut
Ohio State got a road sweep at Lindenwood in Jenny Potter’s first series behind the bench. Brittania Gillanders scored first for the Lions just 69 seconds into the weekend, but OSU rattled off five unanswered goals to win, 5-1. Five different Buckeyes hit the net, and Stacy Danczak made 31 saves with the single blemish.

Ohio State was able to hold off Lindenwood in the second game and won, 3-2. Kendall Curtis scored twice, giving her three goals on the weekend, and freshman Maddy Field tallied in each game. Shara Jasper and Rachel Weich converted for the Lions.

Other action
Another strong recruiting class may make a difference, as Colgate produced a convincing sweep of visiting Robert Morris, 5-3 and 6-0. Newcomer Shae Labbe had three goals and an assist on the weekend and Breanne Wilson-Bennett scored twice. Ashlynne Rando earned both wins, including the 31-save shutout.

A hat trick from Audra Richards helped Maine spoil New Hampshire’s home opener, 4-0. Brooke Stacey scored the other goal, and Meghann Treacy denied all 29 shots to get the shutout.

Union and host Connecticut skated to a 2-2 deadlock. Jacyn Reeves and Jamie Smith had the Dutchwomen up early, but the Huskies drew even on goals by Caitlin Hewes and Brittany Berisoff. Melissa Black made 35 saves for Union, and Annie Belanger turned away 26 attempts for UConn.

Women’s D-I picks: Oct. 2

So caught up was I in season previews for the women’s conferences and the NCHC, I almost forgot weekend picks. I got off to a pretty good start last week, going 5-0-3 (.812). Let’s get to this weekend’s games.

Friday, Oct. 2

Minnesota at Penn State
The Nittany Lions played the Gophers tough last night, but this should be a sweep. Minnesota 4-1

Connecticut at Boston University
The Terriers are still a strong team without Poulin. Boston University 4-2

Maine at New Hampshire
Too early to tell. New Hampshire always seems to be in turmoil. Maine 2-1

Friday-Saturday

Minnesota-Duluth at Boston College
The Bulldogs are scrappy, and it’s early season, but I’m picking the Eagles. Boston College 3-1, 4-1

St. Lawrence at Clarkson
The Saints didn’t look so good last weekend, and even if this is usually a push, I’m picking a Clarkson sweep. Clarkson 4-2, 4-1

Ohio State at Lindenwood
The Lions look good against the Bulldogs, and there’s a lot up in the air in Ohio, but I like the Buckeyes. Ohio State 3-2, 2-1

St. Cloud State at Merrimack
The Warriors start their first season as a D-I squad. Usually, it takes some adjustment. St. Cloud 2-1, 2-1

Mercyhurst at Quinnipiac
This has split written all over it, even if the Lakers aren’t as strong as in the past. Quinnipiac 2-1, Mercyhurst 2-1

North Dakota at Rensselaer
Another WCHA sweep. North Dakota 4-1, 4-1

Wisconsin vs. Providence
This used to be a more of a battle, but the Badgers are perhaps stronger than anyone but Minnesota. Wisconsin 4-1, 4-0

Sunday, Oct. 4

Boston University at Maine
The Terriers get off on the right foot. Boston University 4-1

Tuesday, Oct. 6

Clarkson at Syracuse
The Orange can be quite mercurial, but I like the Golden Knights in a roll. Clarkson 4-1

Weekend wrap: 9/25/15

Early Returns
While a number of teams got started with weekend exhibitions, a lesser number imitated Dixville Notch, N.H., and posted early results in NCAA nonconference contests. No championships were won, nor lost, but every journey starts with a first step, though it’s too early to say what direction those eight teams are headed.

Goaltender auditions
St. Lawrence hosted Northeastern in a series pairing two teams that both received votes in the preseason poll after graduating senior goaltenders who had been fixtures in net.

Saints coach Chris Wells opted for the unconventional strategy of giving each of his three goaltenders a period in each contest. How did it work? Definitely better in the first game than the second.

SLU earned a 2-2 tie in the opener when Kennedy Marchment scored her second goal at 13:09 of the middle period, equaling tallies by Kendall Coyne and Shelby Herrington for the Huskies. Sunday’s rematch got away from the Saints early, as they fell behind, 5-2, after 20 minutes and fell by a 9-5 verdict. Marchment potted two more goals, freshman Justine Reyes netted the first two tallies of her career, and rookie goalie Sonjia Shelly kept her ledger perfect while recording 17 saves in more than 41 minutes of action on the weekend.

The remainder of the news was mostly to Northeastern’s liking. Coyne bagged the season’s first hat trick, Hayley Scamurra scored twice, and Kasidy Anderson and Denisa Krížová contributed a goal plus two assists.

Freshman Brittany Bugalski saw all the minutes in the Huskies’ net, and although she yielded the seven goals on the weekend, it didn’t cost her in the loss column.

More series wins
Two WCHA hosts earned a win along with a tie.

No. 9 Bemidji State took down Robert Morris, 3-1, on Friday. The Beavers got goals from Alexis Joyce, Stephanie Anderson, and an empty-net tally from Lauren Miller, along with 18 saves by Brittni Mowat. Rikki Meilleur’s goal was the only tally the Colonials could muster. RMU gained a 4-4 tie on Saturday thanks to freshman Amber Rennie’s second goal of the game with 18 seconds left in regulation. Lauren Bailey made her collegiate debut in a relief role and saved all 16 shots she faced, helping the Colonials kill five penalties in the third period and overtime, including over a minute of a five-on-three BSU power play. Bemidji’s Hanna Moher led all point getters in the game with a goal and two assists. Joyce and Anderson scored for the second straight day.

Minnesota State came back to tie Union, 2-2, in its opener behind Corbin Boyd’s first MSU goal at 18:12 of the third period. Kathryn Tomaselli had both goals for the Dutchwomen, and freshman Melissa Black was kept busy in their net with 44 saves. Anna-Maria Fiegert had the other Mavericks goal. MSU got goals from Katie Johnson, Anna Keys, and Amanda Conway in support of Brianna Quade’s 3-0 win on Saturday, as the junior saved all 19 shots. Last season, the Mavericks had to wait until January 7 to celebrate their first victory.

The season’s first sweep
The Maura Crowell era got off to a good start at Minnesota-Duluth. The Bulldogs came home from Lindenwood with 4-3 and 4-1 wins. They needed an overtime winner from Ashleigh Brykaliuk in the opener. The Lions had rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit, including Sarah Bobrowski’s tying goal in the final 17 seconds. Lindenwood also got tallies from Shannon Morris-Reade and Shara Jasper. Linnea Hedin, Lara Stalder, and Reagan Haley scored the other UMD markers.

On Sunday, Stalder scored twice, Brykaliuk added another goal with her three points, and Michela Cava garnered the winning goal in the second period. Kayla Black made 23 saves, yielding only a power-play goal by Britannia Gillanders.

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