A spattering of nonconference play shuts the door on the 2013 portion of the schedule. A few top-ranked teams and aspiring top 10 clubs are in action, however. This is how it plays out.
Friday, Dec. 13
Wisconsin-River Falls at Gustavus Adolphus
The Golden Gusties managed a 2-2 tie with the Falcons last Wednesday night on Allison Eder-Zdechlik’s tally with one second remaining in regulation. Both of the visitors goals were power-play scores. The tie allowed the Gusties to up their consecutive unbeaten streak to eight. The Falcons have rebounded nicely from a 2-3-0 start to reel off six straight contests without a defeat. In that span, the River Falls defense has allowed just eight goals. Senior goalie Ashley Kuechle has been rock solid for River Falls, but the Golden Gusties are virtually untouchable on home ice. Gustavus Adolphus 3-1
Friday-Saturday, Dec. 13-14
Wisconsin-Superior at Marian
Marian will be skating for the first time on home ice since Nov. 16. The return home however, might not be pleasant given the opponent, No.9 Wisconsin-Superior. The Sabres have a single win against opponents with a .500 record or above. Junior forward Amanda Waigand is averaging 1.33 points per game and has knocked home six of the seven power play goals that the Sabres have realized.
The Yellowjackets have six skaters who have recorded four goals or more through the 11 games played thus far. Dani Schultz heads the team with 12 points, but has not scored a goal in her last eight outings. If any offensive deficiencies arise in the series however, Superior is more than adequately equipped to take control in its own end. The Yellowjackets have been solid with the penalty kill (90.0 percent) and have allowed just 1.73 points against per contest. Junior goalie Shanley Peters has been iron clad in playing the third most minutes in the nation while ranking 13 in save percentage. Wisconsin-Superior 5-1, 4-2
Bethel vs. Wisconsin-Eau Claire (home and home)
Bethel has posted impressive numbers through the early portion of the season. A pair of weekend wins here would give them six straight games without a defeat. The Royals rank 11 in team offense, while Wisconsin-Eau Claire has dropped to 43 overall. A paltry power play has produced four goals in 45 tries for the Blugolds, whose last and only victory came last Nov. 8. A week later, Eau Claire impressively battled Wisconsin-Superior in a 2-2 tie. Although they were outshot 48-19, coach Mike Collins’ club used an early third-period score by sophomore forward Ashley Baugher to secure the deadlock. It’s unlikely that the Royals will be dealt a similar hand. Bethel goes into the break with a pair of wins. Bethel 6-1, 6-2
Wisconsin-Stevens Point at St. Thomas
Wis.-Stevens Point goalie Janna Beilke-Skoug and Tommies goaltender Alise Riedel will likely be in the limelight in this weekend series. Riedel reached the 40-win career mark last week in a pair of strong performances against Concordia (Minn.) in which she allowed one goal in 125 minutes of action. Beilke-Skoug is seventh in the nation in save percentage. Both clubs have average power play units at this point. The Tommies penalty kill has been slightly more efficient than their weekend opposition. St. Thomas 4-3, Wisconsin Stevens Point 2-1