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Women’s D-III wrap: March 24-Post tournament thoughts

The Champions

From training camp to the post game victory celebration, Plattsburgh’s resolve to return to the championship was obvious to every coaching staff in the country who attempted to wrest the Cardinals momentum away. Countless long nights of viewing film and the like, went for naught as the Cardinals blitzed through both the regular and playoff seasons, with hardly a blip. Through it all, Coach Kevin Houle and his crew went through the process, displaying a refreshing even keel. “We were always aware of a ‘not too high, or never to low’ philosophy,” said Houle. Houle’s words resonated with his players as well. All-American goalie Sydney Aveson, spoke of the mental aspect of immediately disregarding a goal scored upon her; something that did not occur frequently enough for Plattsburgh’s opponents.

Media

It’s been a long time, unofficial consensus, among sportswriters and all media that hockey players are the most enjoyable to cover on a regular basis. One of the reoccurring thoughts is that hockey players ‘didn’t forget where they come from’; an homage of sorts to hard work, as well the wide spectrum of positive values that go into reaching such a lofty level. Sentiments to that effect, were on full display during the final four weekend. The relationship between the media contingent and players, coaches and team personnel was an irrefutable success.

Hard to let go

Among the seniors who were in the last phase of their collegiate careers, Norwich’s Tori Charron, garnered a majority of the attention and mutual respect from all involved. Charron’s career numbers were off the charts. Transferring from Elmira after the 2011-12 season, the Tecumseh, ONT, native, had hoped to go out with a national championship in her grasp. A one-sided defeat to the Cardinals was obviously outside of her plans. Regardless of the initial shock of the loss, Charron made it known, moments after the final buzzer, that moving east to northern Vermont “was the best decision I’ve ever made” and that her teammates were unrivaled in making her time with the Cadets, a success.

Tournament Notebook:

Saturday’s championship game attendance was third highest in history; behind 2005 (Middlebury vs. Elmira, 2335) and 2003 (Elmira vs. Manhattanville, 2110). St. Thomas junior forward Paige Baldwin’s four-game goal streak came to an end in Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin-River Falls. Baldwin had two shots on goal in the game…Norwich forward Tori Charron also had an impressive points string halted, courtesy of the Cardinals. Charron’s 11-game run finished with 10 goals and five assists…Plattsburgh’s nine goals were the most in a title game since Amherst captured a 7-2 win over Norwich in 2010…St. Thomas senior Christina Rozeske will have scant time to rest upon returning back to Minnesota. Rozeske takes to the track where she is a three-time All-American as a member of the Tommies 4×100 sprint quartet…Aveson set a single-season save percentage record at .971…Cardinals coach Kevin Houle was named STX/AHCA Division III Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season…Charron finished her two-year career at Norwich with 59 goals and 31 assists in 59 games. Prior to moving to Norwich, Charron registered 67 points.  Overall, the Cadets senior collected 105 goals in 110 games… Plattsburgh graduates six seniors including Aveson, leaving a void of more than 75 total points and a wealth of shutouts…The Stafford Ice Arena was well received as a championship venue by fans from the three visiting schools. A large portion of the likeability must be attributed to the Cardinals Sports Information Department; who, like their team, were at the top of their game.

 

Women’s D-III picks: March, 21-NCAA semifinals

Championship weekend opens this afternoon at Plattsburgh’s Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena. As always, choosing winners at this point of the season is akin to rolling dice in a windstorm. Here’s our take.

Friday, March 21

No. 6 St. Thomas at No. 1 Plattsburgh 3:30 pm

Back in the first half of the season, Plattsburgh goalie Sydney Aveson told us that the Cardinals were driven to resolve “unfinished business”, dating back from last spring. And who would doubt a club that has essentially run the table? Statistically, the hosts have no equals. Plattsburgh’s strength runs deep throughout its roster. Its 26-1-1 record as well as an unheard of +122 goal differential is an intimidating factor in the way opponents devise their respective game plans. The Tommies, impressive in 2014; only two blips on an otherwise clean slate, possess a dynamic lineup, buoyed by goalie Alise Riedel. I see St. Thomas keeping within arm’s reach of the Cardinals through the early action. However, going against, what has been a season-long perfect setup to the title for Plattsburgh is unwise. Plattsburgh 3-1

No. 4 Wisconsin-River Falls vs. No. 2 Norwich 7:00 pm

The Cadets need to keep the nation’s fourth-ranked offense from getting untracked. The Falcons offensive talents go deep through the lineup, as such, contributions occur on a game by game basis. Norwich’s Tori Charron is a menace to opposing defensive schemes, and senior defenders Brittany Sharman and Kayla Parsons are among the most accomplished pair in the nation. The Cadets’ specialty teams rank slightly higher than their opponents, although the WIAC champions numbers are slightly skewed by a number of early season, in-conference shootouts. With few threads to common opponents, this is among the most difficult games to pick this season. Defense wins for the Cadets. Norwich 2-1

 

 

 

 

Women’s D-III wrap: NCAA first round

Wisconsin River Falls 4, Lake Forest 1
Throughout the season, the Falcons have relied on scoring depth throughout the lineup. Saturday, the trend continued, as four different players hit the score sheet for Wis.-River Falls.  Ashley Kuechle, who made 15 stops for the Falcons, ran her unbeaten streak to 20 games with the tournament victory. Kuechle is 12-0-1 in the second half of the season. Brianna Breiland, Karleigh Wolkerstorfer, Brook Story and Dani Sibley scored for Wis.-River Falls, which improved to 22-4-3

Norwich 2, Elmira 1
Tori Charron’s overtime goal capped an adeptly played defensive struggle from both sides. Charron’s goal, her 28th of the season and fifth in her last three games, eliminated the Soaring Eagles’ hopes of repeating as national champions. Goalies Lisa Marshall and Norwich’s Taylor Fairchild were both untouchable through two. In the third, Elmira opened a sliver of daylight on a score by Anna Tude, with helpers from Olivia Nystrom and Johanna Eidensten. The Cadets answered on a Haley Gibson goal with just less than six minutes remaining in regulation. Elmira managed just three shots on goal in the third period. Overall, the Cadets outshot their opponents 37-19.

 St. Thomas 5, Wisconsin Stevens Point 0
Courtney Umland tallied twice, but her initial goal at 13:18 of the opening period proved decisive for the Tommies in gaining their first NCAA tournament victory in school history. The sixth-ranked Tommies received a 30-save performance from Alise Riedel in the triumph. The Pointers squandered six power-play opportunities in the loss; by contrast, St. Thomas converted on two of five chances with the advantage. Umland’s two-goal performance was her second of the season. Wis.-Stevens Point concluded its season at 19-6-4.

Plattsburgh 4, Williams 1
The Cardinals advanced to the final four for the third consecutive season, courtesy of the Ali Vakos show. Vakos scored four consecutive goals for the Cardinals, who improved to 26-1-1 with the victory. The Ephs struck early, beating Plattsburgh goalie Sydney Aveson on a rebound tap by Gabrielle Vukasin at 1:17 into the contest. Vakos evened the game late in the opening period before beating Williams goalie Chloe Billadeau twice in the middle period. The Ephs, who were outshot 49-25 in the loss, finished with a 15-10-3 record.

Women’s D-III picks: NCAA first-round

Women’s D-III NCAA Tournament (First round)

Friday, March 14

St. Thomas (19-5-3, 14-2-2 MIAC) at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (19-5-4, 9-3-3 WIAC)
Wisconsin Stevens Point took both sides of a two-game set last December on St. Thomas Academy ice. The Pointers rely heavily on junior goalie Jenna Beilke-Skoug, as evidenced by her 23 games and 1,394 minutes played, which stands as the fourth most in the nation. Skoug made 66 saves on 68 total shots in the two-game series that the two clubs engaged in last December. Like her counterpart at the opposite end, Tommies senior goalie Alise Riedel fashioned a career-best campaign, forging a 17-1-3 record. In somewhat of a twist, both clubs possess the least effective power play, statistically, of the eight tournament teams. The Tommies, rank 30th with a 14.86 success rate, while the hosts reside near the tail end of the national rankings with a rate of 12.12 percent on 12-of-99 opportunities. WSP proved proficient in matchups with ranked teams, posting an 8-4-3 record. Home ice prevails. Wisconsin-Stevens Point 3-2

Saturday, March 15

Lake Forest (17-5-3, 13-3-2 NCHA) at Wisconsin-River Falls (21-4-3, 11-2-2 WIAC)
Lake Forest makes is program debut at the NCAAs, while the Falcons appear for the sixth consecutive year. The Foresters’ lone matchup against a WIAC team resulted in a 7-1 loss to Wisconsin-Stevens Point last month.Wis.-River Falls, in the midst of an eight-game winning streak, has outscored opponents by the tune of 41-9 in the run. Lake Forest sophomore Michelle Greeneway tops the nation in goals with 29, but the Falcons counter with both a top-five ranked offense as well as the fourth-ranked defensive unit in the nation.  Six players have notched 10 or more goals this season for the hosts. Wis.-River Falls goaltender Ashley Kuechle has seven shutouts to her credit, along with a career best 1.17 GAA. Kuechle, who has  a proven ability to alter the course of close defensive games with top-ranked opponents, will most likely play a major role advancing the Falcons to the next round. Wisconsin-River Falls 4-1

Williams (15-9-3, 9-4-3 NESCAC) at Plattsburgh (25-1-1, 15-1-0 ECAC West)
Momentum in hand, following a sharp second-half run, the Ephs are focused on offering up a mistake-free, highly disciplined effort this time out. But Plattsburgh, which outshot Williams 46-29 in 4-1 win in mid-January, has amassed a regular season of enviable proportions. The Cardinals defense has not been welcoming to opponents, allowing a skimpy 0.59 goals per contest. Plattsburgh has outshot opponents 1207 to 464.  Cardinals goalie Sydney Aveson, who leads the nation with a 19-1-1 record and 13 shutouts, was undefeated at Ronald Stafford Ice Arena this season. Plattsburgh 4-0

Elmira (21-5-1, 15-1-0 ECAC West) at Norwich (25-3-0, 16-0-0 ECAC East)
The defending champions, Elmira possesses a dynamic trio of high-scoring forwards in juniors Ashley Ryan (15-28-43), Ashton Hogan (17-14-31), and senior Tanis Lamoureux (13-24-37), while the Cadets, who are working on a 16-game win streak, answer with Tori Charron, who is among the all-time leading scorers in D-III history. Norwich defensemen are offensive-minded as well, as five blueliners have registered 10 points or more thus far. Norwich copped a 3-2 victory over the Soaring Eagles at Kreitzberg in the opening weekend of the season in the East-West Classic, while Elmira nabbed a 3-1 win at home in the third game of the 2014 portion of the schedule, the Cadets last loss. Norwich has forged a strong 8-3-0 record against ranked teams. In a matchup befitting a title game, it’s Norwich. Norwich 3-2

Women’s D-III wrap: March 10

A trio of new contenders finished off conference championships with flair, gaining automatic NCAA bids in the process. For a pair of ECAC entities, the script remained unchanged.

Lake Forest (17-5-3) No.9
Lake Forest, propelled by a 3-2 comeback overtime triumph over St. Norbert, reaped its first NCAA tournament slot in program history. The newly minted NCHA champs responded to a 2-1 deficit late in regulation on a score by senior defenseman Sarah Gilbride. Junior Emily Wybo capped the win 4:04 into the OT period when she beat Green Knights goaltender Kaley Gibson.

Williams (15-9-3) No.10
Williams put an end to a decade-long absence in the NCAA tournament with a 4-1 victory over Bowdoin at the NESCAC championship on Sunday. The last winning season for the surprising Ephs materialized in 2009-10. Current Polar Bears coach Marissa O’Neil guided Williams to a 12-11-2 record that season before heading north to take her spot behind the Bowdoin bench. The Ephs built on a 2-0 first-period lead 59 seconds into the middle period on Gabrielle Vukasin’s eighth goal of the year. Bowdoin closed to 3-1 just 29 seconds later on Ariana Bourque’s bid past Williams’ goalie Chloe Billadeau. Billadeau finished with 28 stops in gaining her eighth win.

St. Thomas (19-5-3) No. 6
Alise Riedel’s 2-0 shutout over No. 8 Gustavus Adolphus in the MIAC title game automatically advanced St. Thomas to its first NCAA tournament since the 2002-03 season. Riedel, who dropped her initial start of the season in a loss to Wisconsin-River Falls last November, has run off a stellar unbeaten string of 20 contests. The Tommies’ defensive effort ended the Golden Gusties’ brilliant streak of 10 consecutive conference titles. Megan Juricko and Paige Baldwin registered the two opening period scores for the No. 7 Tommies.

Plattsburgh (25-1-1) No. 1
Plattsburgh scored a pair of third-period goals in a span of less than three minutes to overtake No. 3 Elmira, 4-3, in the ECAC West title match at Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena Sunday afternoon. The Cardinals received markers from Shannon Stewart and the game-decider from Tyne Gove midway through the final stanza. Elmira grabbed a 3-2 advantage early in the third on a goal from Erin Weston. In earning its third consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament, Plattsburgh outshot the Soaring Eagles 43-20.

Norwich (25-3-0) No. 2
Norwich nabbed its sixth straight ECAC East title in a 4-0 whitewash over Castleton Saturday at Kreitzberg Arena. Tori Charron scored twice for the Cadets, as did senior forward Emily MacKinnon. Charron’s two goals gave her 27 for the season. Charron’s game-winning goal at 5:55 of the second was her team-leading ninth of the season.

At-large selections:

Wisconsin-River Falls (21-4-3) No. 4; Wisconsin-Stevens Point (19-5-4) No. 3; Elmira (21-5-1)

Wisconsin-River Falls secured the prestigious O’Brien Cup with a 5-1 triumph over Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Saturday. From a historical perspective, the Falcons became the initial champion of the WIAC in the process, but the accomplishments did not end there, as head coach Joe Cranston’s club earned a coveted at-large slot in the NCAA’s as well. The Falcons got all they needed in the first period on the strength of a pair of goals by Dani Sibley. The freshman forward from Monticello, MN, hit the back of the net, just 37 seconds into the game. Sibley collected the game winner at the close of the period, with a helper from Ashley Olson. UWF goalie Ashley Kuechle finished with 22 saves. The Falcons will host Lake Forest (17-5-3) in the first round of the playoffs, Saturday at 3 pm. Despite the loss, the Pointers head to the NCAA tournament for the first time in seven seasons. USP will play host to MIAC champions on Friday. Elmira travels to Norwich for a first round matchup on Saturday.

Women’s D-III picks: March. 7-8

Friday, March. 7

NCHA (semifinals)

Adrian at Lake Forest

Lake Forest has won the last two meetings between the two teams; the latest a 6-4 home win in mid-February. The Bulldogs are led by junior, Kelsey Kusch, who tops the nation in scoring with 47 points and 22 goals. The Foresters counter with Michelle Greeneway who has 29 goals; including nine power play tallies. Home ice is a definite advantage this time. Lake Forest 5-4

St. Norbert vs. St. Scholastica     (Alumni Memorial Rink, Lake Forest)

St. Scholastica’s power play is stunningly efficient at a rate of 31.6. The Saints have won two of three games season against the defending conference champions; the Green Knights. Most recently however, it was St. Norbert’s 2-1 win over the Saints, last month that denied St. Scholastica a share of the NCHA regular season crown. St. Norbert 4-3

Saturday, March 8

ECAC-West (semifinals)

Utica at Plattsburgh

Utica comes into weekend action with a 0-6-0 slate against ranked teams. In two regular season meetings, Cardinals goalie Sydney Aveson posted back to back shutouts over the Pioneers. Plattsburgh is the lone team in the nation with a goals per game average of 5.00. The journey continues for the Cardinals. Plattsburgh 5-1

Oswego vs. Elmira     (Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena, Plattsburgh)

Junior, Ashley Ryan is within reach to become the ninth player in Elmira history to reach 100 career points. Ryan has produced seven points in her last for games for the Soaring Eagles who won both meetings with the Lakers this time around. Elmira 4-1

 

ECAC-East (championship)

Castleton at Norwich

A strong second half has provided the Spartans with a wealth of confidence in taking on the playoff seasoned Cadets who have won their last 15 games. Castleton goalie Paula Stephens made 37 stops in a closely played 2-1 loss to Norwich, last November. In that loss, a power play goal sealed the fate of the Spartans. In order to carve out, what would become a significant moment in program history; the Spartans must be penalty free throughout. Norwich 3-2

MIAC

Gustavus Adolphus at St. Thomas

The Golden Gusties enter the quest for an automatic bid to the NCAA’s with a 6-5-2 record against ranked teams. Sophomore goalie Lindsey Hibbard was in net in the last meeting with the Tommies; making 28 saves in a 3—1 loss. The previous evening however, GA benefitted from a three-goal first period on the way to a 5-1 home victory. Gustavus Adolphus 3-2

 

 

Women’s D-III wrap: March 2

The NESCAC was the focal point for a pair of major upsets, while other favorites were taken to the brink in similar fashion.

NESCAC
Top-seeded Middlebury’s bid to return to familiar territory, an NCAA tournament slot, came to an unforeseen halt at the hands of unheralded Connecticut College in the NESCAC quarterfinals Saturday at Kenyon Arena. Justina Germano capped the significant victory with her third goal of the season at 10:00 of overtime. The No. 4 Panthers ran up a sizzling 14-0-3 record in conference, but must now rely on an at-large bid for an opportunity to suit up again. Middlebury held a 40-20 shots-on-goal advantage over the eighth-seeded Camels, who received a strong performance from junior keeper Kelsie Fralick.  The Panthers failed to connect on all nine power-play chances afforded them. Fralick stopped six Panthers shots in the OT. Middlebury’s leading scorers, Emily Fluke (14-13-27) and Katie Sullivan (12-11-23), did not dress for the Panthers. The Camels, who trudged through a 4-9-3 conference record this season, posted one victory over a previously ranked club, a 5-4 triumph at home against Amherst. Connecticut College’s most significant road win of the year arrived in its last regular season game against Williams.

Outshot 45-10, seventh-seeded Colby slipped past second-seed Amherst, 3-2. Freshman Jess Barkley’s marker with 1:18 left in regulation, with helpers by Delaney Flynn and Samantha Slotnick, guaranteed the Mules a semifinal date with Bowdoin next week.

Positive results in the quarterfinals did not play out angst-free for Williams, as Hanna Beattie’s goal midway through the final period stood as the deciding marker. Trinity (5-6-5) had knotted the score at 2-2 just 36 seconds earlier on a tally by Lauren Glynn. The Bantams came into the postseason with a 0-2-4 record in their last six outings. The Ephs remain the lone team in the upcoming semifinals with a winning record in NESCAC play.

ECAC East
Torrie Charron scored both goals for No. 3 Norwich, including the game-winner in overtime as the top-seeded Cadets prevailed 2-1 over a tenacious Massachusetts-Boston squad in the semifinals of the ECAC East tournament on Saturday at Kreitzberg Arena. Norwich goalie Taylor Fairchild was nearing what would have been her fifth shutout of the season before Samantha Fallon’s score at 18: 16 of the third altered the complexion of the game. Charron’s winning score at 6:20 of the extra period gave her 25 goals for the season.

Castleton, a 5-1 victor over second-seeded Salve Regina, earned its first trip to the conference championship in program history and will head to Norwich next weekend in hopes of gaining an automatic NCAA bid.

WIAC
Wisconsin-Stevens Point got the best of Wisconsin-Superior in a pair of defensive struggles on home ice. The No. 6 Pointers took 2-1 and 1-0 victories over the Yellowjackets. Megan Menotti made good on a power-play opportunity with 49 seconds remaining in regulation for the game-winner in game two. Janna Beilke-Skoug finished with 54 stops in the two-game set for the Pointers, who will face Wisconsin-River Falls for the O’Brien Cup next Saturday in River Falls.

MIAC
No. 7 St. Thomas fired 51 shots on Concordia goalie Madison Denny, but required a score from the stick of Hannah Bird in overtime to secure a 4-3 win.

Women’s D-III picks: Feb.28-March. 1

Saturday, March 1

ECAC-East (semifinals)

Massachusetts-Boston at Norwich
The Cadets ran off five consecutive scores from the opening faceoff in a convincing victory over the Beacons in Boston earlier in the season. The Beacons are 9-4-2 since the semester break, but haven’t carved out a win against a ranked team this season. Norwich 6-1

Castleton at Salve Regina
Three weeks ago, the Seahawks and Spartans battled to a scoreless deadlock on Salve’s home ice. Castleton ranks ninth in the nation in defense, while the Salve club holds the same rank in offensive output. Castleton goalie Paula Stephens has played nearly 1,300 minutes this season, recording four shutouts in her last seven starts. Salve’s Sarah Markey and Michaela Chiuccariello are a dangerous power play duo, having combined for 11 goals while skating with an advantage.  The Spartans are playing in only their second semifinal game in program history, while the Seahawks are making their first foray this deep in the playoffs. Scoring opportunities will be at a premium in this one. Salve Regina 2-1

MIAC (semifinals)

Bethel at Gustavus Adolphus
The two clubs closed out the regular season last week with a home-and-home set, each team gaining a road victory. There’s is little wiggle room between the two clubs in terms of statistics. The Golden Gusties rank second nationally in power-play efficiency at 92.4 percent, while the visiting Royals check in third at a 91.4 percent rate. Across the board, similarities are constant. This matchup features a trio of outstanding forwards in Bethel’s Cristina Masten and Lindsay Burman and GA’s Allison Eder-Zdechlik. Postseason experience wins this time. Gustavus Adolphus 4-3

Friday, Feb. 28; Saturday, March. 1

WIAC (Semifinals)

Wisconsin-Superior at Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Wis.-Stevens Point jumps into the series following an unbeaten string of seven games to close out the regular season. Wis.-Superior took a narrow 3-2 defeat on friendly ice at the hands of St. Scholastica to conclude the season. Little has been settled in terms of a clear favorite in the series, as the teams have met on four previous occasions, resulting in a pair of low-scoring ties and a narrow victory for each club. Wisconsin-Stevens Point 2-1, 3-2

Women’s D-III wrap: Feb. 24

Except for a few instances, the final week of the regular season played out true to form. Such was the case for the ECAC East, which jump-started conference playoff action.

ECAC West
Elmira’s sweep of Neumann and Plattsburgh’s back-to-back shutout wins over Oswego allowed both clubs to gain a share the ECAC West regular season title. Elmira senior Tanis Lamoureux, who had three assists on the weekend, concluded the regular season with a single-season high of 23 helpers.  Cardinals’ goalie Sydney Aveson shutdown of the Lakers gave her 13 shutouts for the season.

ECAC East (first round)
Second-seed Salve Regina’s 5-0 win over Plymouth (5-19-2, 3-11-2 ECAC East), served as the first playoff win on home ice in program history. Shannon Coleman’s marker, 6:23 into the opening period, proved to be the decisive goal. The result advances the Seahawks to the quarterfinal round of the ECAC East playoffs. Salve freshmen goalie Colleen Marcik’s 18-save performance was the first shutout for the Seahawks since freshman Rebecca Simmons whitewashed Manhattanville, 1-0, on March 7, 2009.

Madyson Moore registered a pair of goals and an assist and defenseman Kayla Parsons finished with four helpers as Norwich overwhelmed New England College, 8-1, in the postseason opener for the No. 4 Cadets.

Massachusetts-Boston got the best of host Manhattanville in a 3-0 result. Defenseman Kelsey MacIsaac’s goal in the opening period held up as the game-winner. Junior goalie Moe Bradley made 17 stops in gaining her fourth shutout of the year.

Nicoline Jensen’s goal 2:48 into the first period propelled Castleton to a 1-0 triumph over Southern Maine. The Spartans advanced to the semifinals for the second time in program history. Jensen paced Castleton in scoring with 32 points in 26 games this season. The Huskies, who lost their last four outings heading into the matchup with Castleton, were held to just two shots on goal in the third period. Junior Paula Stephens copped her fourth shutout of the season in the win.

WIAC
Crysta Lowell’s mid-third-period tally helped Wisconsin-River Falls garner its fifth consecutive win in a 4-1 result over Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The Falcons, who earned the top seed in the upcoming O’Brien Cup, improved to 8-2-2 in conference action.

NCHA
St. Thomas put the finishing touches on the regular season crown, but needed a modicum of assistance from Bethel, which topped Gustavus Adolphus 1-, thus denying the Golden Gusties a share of the conference title. The Tommies finished 14-2-2, while Gustavus Adolphus closed out with a 14-4-0 slate.

D-III at Sochi
Molly Schaus, Team USA backup goalie and goaltending coach at Massachusetts-Boston started one game at the Sochi Olympics; posting a shutout in a 9-0 rout of Switzerland in preliminary round action.

St. Scholastica’s Nina Waidacher averaged 6:36 of ice time for Bronze Medalists, Switzerland at the Sochi Games. The Saints junior forward, finished with three shots on goal to go with -4 rating.

Women’s D-III picks: Feb. 21-22

It’s the final weekend of the regular season in some conferences, while conference playoffs get going in others.

 Saturday, Feb. 22

ECAC East Tournament

No. 8 New England College (3-13-0) at No. 1 Norwich (16-0-0)
The Pilgrims failed to score a goal in two regular season meetings with the Cadets.  A 3-1 upset of Southern Maine earlier this month marked the lone victory for NEC in its last seven games of the season. The Cadets are proficient with an extra skater, ranking third in the nation with a 30.1 success percentage, while the Pilgrims, who have dropped 16 consecutive road games dating back to last season, are second in the nation in average penalty minutes per game. Cadets will take full advantage of any NEC miscues in a first-round triumph. Norwich 6-0

No.5 Massachusetts-Boston (7-8-1) at No. 4 Manhattanville (6-7-3)
Junior forwards Sydney Asselstine and Alla Traun have combined for 10 of the Valiants 15 power-play goals during the regular season. Down the stretch, however, specialty teams have had sporadic results at 4-of-23 in the last five games. The Beacons, who enjoyed a seven-game unbeaten run in early November, have since taken the roller coaster path to the postseason. The Valiants have played at a .500 level on home ice. Massachusetts-Boston 3-2

No. 6 Southern Maine (7-9-0) at No. 3 Castleton (9-5-2)
At 1-8 over their last nine outings, the Huskies have free-fallen from the ranks of the conference standings. USM has managed to find the net just four times in as many games. By contrast, the Spartans have registered four or more goals 10 times this season. Castleton’s lone loss to a conference opponent at home came at the hands of top-seeded Norwich last November. Castleton 5-2

No. 7 Plymouth (3-11-2) at No. 2 Salve Regina (10-5-1)
Head coach Michael Cox, now in his eighth season with the Seahawks, has piloted his club to a program-best winning percentage of .680. Salve has not lost a home game on friendly ice since early in the first half of the season. Cox’s club has benefited from a balanced scoring attack, as 14 players have scored goals. On the defensive side, the Seahawks have received quality starts from freshman goalie Colleen Marcik. The Panthers fell 4-3 in the only meeting between the two clubs. Salve Regina 4-1

NCHA

 St. Scholastica at St. Norbert
The Saints swept a weekend series on Green Knights’ ice in the first half of the schedule. St. Norbert has an optimum postseason seeding at stake and could swap slots with second-place Lake Forest, providing the Foresters fall to Concordia (Wis.) and Marian on consecutive nights. St. Norbert gets the green light. St. Norbert 4-3

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 21-22

MIAC

Gustavus Adolphus at Bethel (home-and-home)
The Golden Gusties’ penalty-killing performance ranks just behind Plattsburgh in efficiency, while Bethel checks infourth in the nation at 90.9. Sophomore goalies Lindsey Hibbard of Gustavus Adolphus and Erika Allen of Bethel are among the conference’s leading netminders. A matchup between high-profile scorers Cristina Masten of Bethel and Allison Eder-Zdechlik of Gustavus Adolphus is one to watch. The Royals require a pair of wins and assistance from St. Benedict, who will take on St. Thomas, to have an opportunity to secure the MIAC regular season title. Bethel 4-3, Gustavus Adolphus 3-2