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College Hockey:
Women’s D-III Picks Nov. 29-Dec. 1

Saturday Nov. 30, Sunday Dec.1

Cardinal-Panther Classic

Prestigious as it may be, the Cardinal-Panther Classic will be further enhanced by a matchup between the top two teams in Division-III hockey. No. 1 Plattsburgh (8-0-0) and Middlebury at 4-0-0 will highlight their long-standing rivalry on the second day of play. Elmira and Amherst close out the outstanding field that could very well be a preview of post-season play. Defensively, Middlebury’s Annabelle Jones and Plattsburgh’s Sydney Aveson currently rank first and fourth in the nation in goals against average. Add in Elmira’s Lisa Marshall and Kerri Stewart of Amherst and the starting goaltenders in the Classic are a combined 15-1-1 and a collective GAA under 1.00. Not to be outdone by the defensive aspect of the game, the Classic will offer up a prime opportunity for snipers like Plattsburgh forwards Shannon Stewart (8 goals) and Jenny Kistner (7 goals) to shine. A year ago the Cardinals came into the weekend ranked No. 1 while Elmira was No. 4 and the Panthers a slot behind in the USCHO poll. Middlebury took out Elmira 4-3 in overtime but fell to Plattsburgh in a 3-2 thriller.

Saturday

Plattsburgh vs. Amherst

The Lady Jeffs, hovering just outside the top ten, were hammered by an 8-3 final a year ago by the Cardinals. Plattsburgh brings numbers that are off the charts to the Classic. Plattsburgh 6, Amherst 1

Elmira vs. Middlebury

Junior defenseman Kate Moreau and Carly Watson can move the puck smoothly from the Panthers end, adding a different dimension to the Middlebury offensive efforts that is spread throughout the roster. The advantage of playing at Kenyon Arena adds to the edge. Middlebury 3, Elmira 2

Sunday

Elmira vs. Amherst

Ashley Ryan came into the weekend with a seven game point streak for the Soaring Eagles. Elmira’s specialty teams have a slight edge on their opponents in this one. Elmira 4, Amherst 2

Plattsburgh vs. Middlebury

In a game overflowing with talent and bolstered by eye-popping statistics on both sides, the expectation of a tightly played is well within the realm of possibility. Defense will shine in this one. Plattsburgh 2, Middlebury 1

ECAC-WEST

Saturday Nov. 30, Sunday Dec. 1

Buffalo State at Utica

One of a handful of conference games on the docket this week heads to Utica Memorial Auditorium where Buffalo State is looking for its initial victory of the season. It’s been a tough go for first year Bengals head coach Candice Moxley whose club has been out shot 319 to 119 over the course of seven games. Freshman forward Nikki Kirchberger who has registered five of the nine Bengals goals is indeed an offensive prospect but she has been in the penalty box for a team high 27 minutes. The Pioneers have spread out the scoring team wide as nine different goal scorers have made their presence known. Utica goalie Jennifer Hamel having played every minute for her club could get an opportunity a night off if the Pioneers happen to be decisive in the opener. Utica 5, Buffalo 0, Utica 6, Buffalo 1

Non-Conference Saturday Nov. 30

Bowdoin at Holy Cross

Being on the wrong side of a pair of upsets at the outset of the schedule should have little impact on the Polar Bears once they get back on track. Bowdoin’s specialty teams have been effective and that alone should make the trip to Hart Center an interesting one. The Crusaders took their first defeat on home ice against St. Anselm last week. Bowdoin and Holy Cross have a common opponent as both have tangled with Massachusetts-Boston. Each team has come away with a one-goal victory. Bowdoin 3, Holy Cross 3

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  • Blueliner

    Nice job Dave. Well researched and thought out. Goalies sometimes get too much of the credit for goals against average. Often, team defense [ including backchecking forwards ] can keep many shots from getting off.

    • Dave Hendrickson

      Thanks. Defense is a team game. The goalscorers and the goalies tend to get the headlines and virtually all the awards but the defensemen and backcheckers are the unsung heroes.

  • Anonymous

    Solid points, Maine’s defense has held them back all season till recently. Their goaltending has been shaky but if their d could have held leads they would have home ice.

  • Anonymous

    Solid points, Maine’s defense has held them back all season till recently. Their goaltending has been shaky but if their d could have held leads they would have home ice.

    • Dave Hendrickson

      Maine’s season has been a frustrating one for their fans. It still could have a happy ending, though. I thought their goaltending was so bad it would singlehandedly sink them (regardless of the D, good or bad), but that’s turned around in a big way. I don’t think Merrimack wants to see Maine coming into its rink for the quarterfinals.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, of the three goalies to break Jimmy Howard’s continuous shut out streak I would not have predicted it to be Sullivan either. As long as Sullivan is playing in this zone they have the potential to be dangerous, but I am reserving my enthusiasm due to their inconsistency all season. Merrimack would be a great match-up for Maine, though in what appears to be a home ice league I would love to see Merrimack coming to the ALfond, but that is a long shot.

  • Sean Pickett

    Dave, interesting article on team defense and winning. It made me curious about the correlation between the two back to the start of Hockey East, so I went to the league website to do some additional research. You don’t state which team defense stats you used, conference or overall, but your comment about Boston College in 2007 being 5th indicates you used conference stats. Either way, you made a mistake, as Boston University was 5th in conference defense (4th overall) in 2005-06. BC was also 3rd in conference defense in 2007-08 (1st overall).

    As the Hockey East website only has overall stats back to the 2000-01 season I used conference stats for my correlation of team defense to winning. The results are even more convincing over the entire history of the league that team defense is “the statistic of champions”. Eighteen tournament champions were1st (11) or 2nd (6), while six were 3rd, with only BU (5th) in 2006 and BC (5th) in 2007 lower. This correlation is even stronger for the regular season champions, as twenty-three finished 1st (16) or 2nd (7), while just four finished 3rd, one 4th and one 5th. The three times there were co-champions they finished 1-2 twice and tied for 1st the other time.

    Sean Pickett

    • Dave Hendrickson

      That’s a frustrating error. In the 2008 case, BC had a 2.48 GAPG (goals against per game), which I thought was second to UNH, but Providence’s number was 2.44 so the Friars were second by a single goal. Providence was on the row right after BC and the GAPG was the ninth column so I must have crossed rows. The point still holds since the numbers were virtually identical. The 2006 BU error, however, is one I’m scratching my head over. Did I use BU’s number from 2006-2007 (which was first)? No. Because my notes had the Terriers as second in team D. I must have scrolled to the wrong column (column 7 instead of 9) and used that they were second in offense instead of defense. But as you point out, the numbers do hold up over the long haul. My apologies for the error. I’d spent all the previous day in airports and was exhausted and jet-lagged. Clearly my eyes weren’t working as well as usual.

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