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Women’s D-III picks: Nov. 13

The women’s Division III season is in full swing, and while the top 10 teams are starting to establish themselves, it’s still early, with a lot of season left.

That said, here are our picks for the weekend.

No. 4 St. Thomas-No. 8 Gustavus Adolphus home-and-home – Friday/Saturday
Candace: I like home ice in each on one of the best early-season series. Gustavus Adolphus 3-2, St. Thomas 3-1
Matt: This could be the marquee matchup of the weekend. I’ll go with the visiting team winning each game, so UST 3-1 Friday night and GAC by the same score Saturday.

Morrisville at Canton – Friday/Saturday
Candace: I could see Canton keeping one of these games close, but not both. Morrisville 3-2, 4-1
Matt: Freshman Tess Adams posted a 12-point weekend for Canton last weekend against Daniel Webster and now leads the country in scoring. It won’t be that easy this weekend and Morrisville, fresh off two shutouts over Salem State, wins both with 5-1 and 4-2 scores.

No. 2 Adrian at No. 9 Lake Forest – Saturday
Candace: The other big series of the weekend, and while Lake Forest is tough, I favor Adrian. Adrian 3-2
Matt: To me, it’s Adrian goalie Jade Walsh facing off with Lake Forest scorer Michelle Greeneway. I think Greeneway wins this battle and her two goals are the difference in a nail-biter.  Lake Forest 2-1

No. 6 Wisconsin-River Falls at Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Candace: River Falls should at least get a split. Wis.-River Falls 3-2, Wis.-Stevens Point 3-2
Matt: River Falls is ranked with a 2-1-0 record, but Stevens Point is 4-0-0 and primed to get into the rankings next week. That should happen as the Pointers take both with 3-2 and 4-3 wins this weekend.

Women’s D-III wrap: Nov. 8

Plattsburgh will surely maintain the top spot in this week’s USCHO.com Division III Women’s Poll after the Cardinals dominated Neumann with wins of 8-0 and 9-1 over the weekend. Melissa Sheeran (three goals, assist) and Kayle Meneghin (goal, three assists) led the way in Saturday’s 8-0 win and then Sunday, Meneghin posted her same line as Saturday and Giovanna Senese, Bridget Balisy, and Sheeran all had three-point afternoons.

Camille Leonard and Kassi Abbott each picked up a win in goal for Plattsburgh, which also outshot Neumann 139-29 in the two games.

No. 2 Adrian won both of its games at home, beating both St. Norbert and Concordia (Wis.). Saturday, in a 4-2 win over SNC, Jade Walsh finished with 29 saves and Sydney Smith scored and added a helper. Sunday, the Bulldogs spotted Concordia a 2-1 lead after two periods, but roared back to take another 4-2 victory with three goals in the final period. Brooke Lupi’s goal at 13:18 of the third stood as the game-winner.

No. 3 Elmira was idle this past weekend, as was No. 4 St. Thomas and fifth-ranked Middlebury.

Wisconsin-River Falls came into the weekend sixth in the nation and earned two wins against Hamline and Bethel. The Falcons used seven different goal-scorers (Chloe Kinsel with two) and a 23-save combined effort from Angie Hall and Kylie Hommerding in the 8-0 win over Hamline Friday night before Kinsel scored two more in a 5-1 win over Bethel on Saturday.

No. 7 Norwich grabbed back-to-back shutouts on the road, beating both University of New England Friday and Southern Maine Saturday by identical 3-0 scores. Celeste Robert won both in net for Norwich.

At No. 8, Gustavus Adolphus tied Wisconsin-Superior, 2-2, last Tuesday before beating St. Olaf, 4-1, Friday night. Four different players scored for GAC and all three goalies — Lindsey Hibbard, Amanda DiNella and Paige Press — all saw time in the crease during the game. DiNella was credited with the win.

Trinity, ranked No. 9 last week, did not play.

No. 10 Lake Forest nailed down three wins last week, starting with a 7-0 win over Marian on Wednesday as Allie Carter stopped all 11 shots and Amy Budde, Michelle Greeneway, and Olivia Spellmire all posted two-goal efforts. The Foresters then swept St. Scholastica at home Saturday and Sunday with wins of 5-2 and 3-0, respectively. In the shutout, Carter made 13 saves and Greeneway popped a pair of goals and the day prior, Melissa Paluch went for two goals and two assists.

Check back later in the week as our weekly column will feature Greeneway and her unique college and athletics life at Lake Forest.

Women’s D-III picks: Nov. 6

After last weekend’s season-opening tournaments, it’s clear that aside from a handful of high-end teams, women’s Division III hockey will be extremely competitive this season.

Let’s see what Candace and Matt have cooking this weekend.

Friday, Nov. 6

No. 7 Norwich at University of New England
Candace: Norwich needs a win after dropping two games last weekend to top 10 teams. The Cadets should get it. Norwich 4-1
Matt: Norwich is ranked seventh in the country for a reason and gets the two points here with a 5-1 win.

No. 6 Wisconsin-River Falls at Hamline
Candace: Just like Norwich, Wis.-River Falls will rebound from its opening loss. Wis.-River Falls 4-1
Matt: Again, being ranked means something and I don’t see UWRF having any trouble here with Hamline. Call it a 4-0 shutout.

Saturday, Nov. 7

Neumann at No. 1 Plattsburgh
Candace: I’m not sure who will beat Plattsburgh this year, or if anyone will. Plattsburgh 5-1
Matt: I see nothing less than a 7-0 win for the Cardinals. Yes, I believe they really are <I>that</I> good.

Sunday, Nov. 8

Concordia (Wis.) at No. 2 Adrian
Candace: With Jade Walsh in net, Adrian can beat almost anyone. Adrian 4-0
Matt: Adrian goalie Jade Walsh is as solid as they come at this level and she’s the reason why the Bulldogs grab a 3-1 win here over Concordia.

Women’s D-III wrap: Nov. 1

There was no shortage of action and drama opening up the Division III women’s schedule this past weekend in nonconference play.

Two prestigious tournaments — the East/West Showcase and the Puck Drop Classic — highlighted the opening contests, and while the former featured four ranked teams, the latter also had stellar talent on display.

At the East/West Showcase, No. 1 Plattsburgh, No. 2 Elmira, No. 4 Norwich, and No. 6 Adrian all took the ice in Northfield, Vt., and Saturday, Adrian knocked off Elmira, 4-1, as Jade Walsh made 17 saves, while Plattsburgh edged Norwich, 2-1, as Giovanna Senese potted the game-winner at 19:44 of the third period.

On Sunday, Plattsburgh blanked Adrian, 3-0, behind Camille Leonard’s 22-save shutout, and Elmira beat Norwich, 7-2, as Olivia Nystrom tallied two goals and an assist.

In Dudley, Mass., for the Puck Drop Classic, Friday’s action saw Buffalo State beat host Nichols, 6-2, and outshoot the Bison 51-19, with Erin Gehen getting three goals and an assist, and then Endicott shut out Plymouth State, 2-0, as Vendela Jonsson stopped all 17 shots fired her way.

Saturday’s results saw Jonsson turn aside all 16 shots in Endicott’s 4-0 win over Nichols and Buffalo State down PSU 2-1, as Caitie Horvatits and Emma Ruggiero provided the offense.

Just one blowout to note from this weekend, as Franklin Pierce crushed Daniel Webster, 12-1, on Friday night. Marissa Ketterman, Michelle Holmes, and Bryana Harron all went for two goals and two assists apiece.

In the “That’s Not A Typo” department, Franklin Pierce outshot Daniel Webster by an 81-4 margin.

Of all games that went to overtime this past weekend (five total), just one ended with a winner, as Logan Harper lifted Wisconsin-Stevens Point over St. Olaf 5-4 on Saturday.

In games with ranked teams playing, No. 10 Lake Forest and goaltender Allie Carter hung a 5-0 goose egg on St. Catherine Saturday night, and No. 7 St. Thomas defeated No. 3 Wisconsin-River Falls, 2-1, the same night, as the Tommies scored two in the third and withstood a late charge to get the win.

Women’s D-III picks: Oct. 30

The 2015-16 Division III women’s season kicks into full swing this weekend as several tournaments dot The 2015-16 Division III women’s season kicks into full swing this weekend as several tournaments dot the schedule, including the annual East/West Showcase out in Vermont and the Nichols College Faceoff.

Each week, Candace and Matt will pick the top games of the weekend — whose crystal ball will be clearer?

Friday Oct. 30

Puck Drop Classic
Candace: Should be a barnburner in both games, with Nichols facing Buffalo State and Plymouth State facing Endicott. Nichols 3-1; Plymouth State 4-2
Matt: Friday, it’s host Nichols playing Buffalo State and Endicott battling Plymouth State. I like the host Bison in the first and then PSU getting the dunk against Endicott.

Saturday, Oct. 31

Puck Drop Classic
Candace: The teams switch up. I still like Nichols. Buffalo State 3-2; Nichols 3-1
Matt: Saturday, we have the teams crisscrossing and I see Nichols beating Endicott and Plymouth State downing Buffalo State.

All in all, not a bad way to start the college season!

Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1

East/West showcase
Candace: I see an ECAC West final matchup, and Plattsburg taking the whole shebang. FRIDAY: Plattsburgh 3-1; Elmira 3-2; SATURDAY: Norwich 3-2; Plattsburgh 3-2
Matt: The two matchups Saturday may be a preview of national tournament games next spring as No. 6 Adrian plays No. 2 Elmira and then top-ranked Plattsburgh plays No. 4 Norwich. Wow!

Some say preseason rankings don’t mean much. Do they? Possibly, but they don’t matter a ton here, as Plattsburgh gets by Norwich and Adrian gets a mild upset over Elmira.

Sunday, I see Plattsburgh beating Adrian and Elmira getting back on track with a win over Norwich.

Yeah, the Monday polls may be a tad skewed next week.

Picking the championship final

It’s down to No. 1 Plattsburgh and No. 2 Elmira.

Tonight.

For all the marbles in women’s Division III.

Candace and Matt take the floor for one final time this season.

Elmira at Plattsburgh
Candace: These two have each beaten the other this season, and are the two most recent national champions. I have to think home ice makes a difference. Plattsburgh 3-2
Matt: Too close to call. Really, it is. Both teams have so much talent that it’s unfair one team has to lose. These powerhouses are so similar in every facet of the game, each team has its high-end players and top-end coaches. But I still have to pick a winner. Hmmm… I can’t. No, I will. Elmira, 3-2.

Third-place game: Norwich vs. Wisconsin-River Falls.
Candace: Norwich didn’t looked a little more raw than the Falcons. Wis.-River Falls 4-2
Matt: I have River Falls here, 4-1.

NCAA semifinals picks

This is it – the final four games of the year.

One of Plattsburgh, Norwich, Elmira, or Wisconsin-River Falls will be crowned women’s Division III national champion Saturday night.

But who?

Candace and Matt carefully make their final picks of the season and then put the magic 8-ball away for another seven months.

Friday, March 20

Wisconsin-River Falls vs. Elmira
Candace: I have to think Elmira comes out on top in this one, but it will be close. Elmira 3-2
Matt: Elmira has the two top guns in the country in Ashley Ryan and Ashton Hogan. That much is certain. River Falls has Alice Cranston, Chloe Kinsel and Dani Sibley. Can we expect a shootout? Possibly, but I see it more like a 5-3 win for UWRF.

Friday – Norwich vs. Plattsburgh
Candace: Norwich couldn’t push the Cardinals in January, and I don’t think Plattsburgh will lose on home ice. Plattsburgh 4-1
Matt: Plattsburgh has home-ice advantage and that goes a long way in my estimation. The Cardinals were either ranked No. 1 or No. 2 all season long – and for good reason. Norwich was blown out by Plattsburgh 5-0 back in January and methinks another shutout is in order from Camille Leonard in a win. Plattsburgh 3-0

 

Weekend wrap – four left standing

The four teams left standing in the women’s Division III ranks all earned the right to play for the national title next weekend in Plattsburgh, N.Y., after winning hard-fought games this past Saturday.

Elmira, Norwich, Plattsburgh, and Wisconsin-River Falls — one of those teams will be hoisting some hardware next Saturday night.

Elmira came from behind with three unanswered goals to beat Trinity 3-2 on Erin Weston’s power-play goal 26 seconds into overtime.

Brooke Wilgosh had tied the game 2-2 at 18:48 of the third period and also assisted on Weston’s game-winner.

Anna Tude also scored for the Soaring Eagles and Kyle Nelson made 18 saves in net.

Cheeky Herr had a goal and an assist for Trinity, while Lucy Robinson also scored and Emma Tani chipped in two assists. Bantams’ goalie Sydney Belinskas finished with 34 saves.

Norwich edged Middlebury 3-2 as Vanessa Champagne scored the tying goal and game-winning goal in the second period and Celeste Robert stopped 30 shots, including all 10 in the third period, to lead the Cadets to the win.

Liz Gemmiti added the other Norwich goal and Adelle Murphy contributed a pair of assists.

For the Panthers, Katie Sullivan and Hannah Bielawski scored and goalie Madeline Marsh kicked out 14 shots.

Top-ranked Plattsburgh defeated the only unranked team in the field of eight, St. Thomas, by a 4-1 count.

Shannon Stewart went for a goal and two assists, while Bridget Balisy and Melissa Sheeran added a goal and an assist apiece.

Giovanna Senese scored as well, and goalie Camille Leonard finished with 28 saves.

Tori Bailey scored for the Tommies and Taylor Neisen made 25 stops.

Wisconsin-River Falls earned its berth with a 3-1 victory over Lake Forest.

Chloe Kinsel, Karleigh Wolkerstorfer, and Dani Kocina scored for the Falcons, and Angie Hall needed to make just 14 saves in goal.

Lake Forest’s lone goal came from Morgan Pope, and goalie Allie Carter made 29 saves.

Wisconsin-River Falls plays Elmira in one semifinal and Plattsburgh battles Norwich in the other semifinal on Friday.

The national championship game is set for next Saturday at 7 p.m. EST.

Women’s D-III First-round NCAA tournament picks

The first four games of the women’s Division III tournament are scheduled for this Saturday on campus sites.

Those four winners advance to the Frozen Four next weekend at the home of the highest seed.

Check out Candace’s and Matt’s picks below to find out where the semifinals and finals may be held.

No. 6 Trinity at No. 2 Elmira
Candace: I like the Bantams a lot, but Elmira will be totally up for this game, especially after getting spanked by Plattsburgh last week. Elmira 2-1
Matt: While upsets do happen this time of year, it won’t be this game. I just can’t see Elmira losing, especially after such a dominant regular season that saw the Soaring Eagles ranked No. 1 for a stretch. Elmira 4-1.

No. 4 Norwich at No. 5 Middlebury
Candace: The most interesting first-round game on tap, IMO. Both Vermont teams. Middlebury won a close one last month, and I think the Panthers do again. Middlebury 2-1
Matt: Very. Intriguing. Matchup. Two very similar teams with similar players and statistics. Does that all go out the window here and one team routs the other? Nah. I’ll say Middlebury, 3-2 in overtime with Jessica Young getting the winner.

St. Thomas at No. 1 Plattsburgh
Candace: I had thought Plattsburgh looked a little vulnerable down the stretch, then the Cardinals crushed Elmira, so I don’t see anybody getting in their way. Plattsburgh 4-1
Matt: Plattsburgh is No. 1 in the country for a reason, but can be beaten. Problem for St. Thomas is that it won’t happen here. This may be the lone romp of the tournament. Plattsburgh 5-0, and the Cardinals will host the semifinals and championship final.

No. 8 Lake Forest at No. 3 Wisconsin-River Falls
Candace: Lake Forest went on a nice run to make the NCAA tournament, but it ends here. Wis.-River Falls 3-1
Matt: Wis.-River Falls hasn’t lost in, like, forever. Lake Forest surprised us all by winning the NCHA tournament, but won’t surprise UWRF in this game. Wis.-River Falls 4-2

Weekend wrap: Six conference champions

Six women’s Division III conference champions were crowned this past weekend.

Norwich (ECAC East), Plattsburgh (ECAC West), St. Thomas (MIAC), Lake Forest (NCHA), Trinity (NESCAC), and Wisconsin-River Falls (WIAC) all got the job done in their respective championship finals.

Which teams get in to the NCAA tournament will be unveiled Monday morning.

ECAC EAST
Vanessa Champagne scored the lone goal of the game in the second period and Celeste Robert stopped all 25 shots as Norwich blanked Castleton 1-0 for the ECAC East title Sunday afternoon.

Norwich beat Massachusetts-Boston 6-1 on Saturday and Castleton edged Salve Regina 3-2 on Saturday to set up the Sunday showdown.

ECAC WEST
Most predicted the championship final on Sunday to be Elmira and Plattsburgh, but a 4-0 shutout for Plattsburgh? Not sure anyone saw that coming.

Giovanna Senese scored twice and Shannon Stewart and Bridget Balisy each had a goal and an assist to lift the Cardinals, last season’s national champions. Camille Leonard finished with 23 saves for the win in goal.

Plattsburgh bounced Oswego 4-2 on Saturday and Elmira defeated Utica 6-3 in the semifinals.

MIAC
Heidi Winiecki scored her second goal of the game at 13:23 of the third period and that stood as the game-winner as St. Thomas took the MIAC title 3-2, ending Bethel’s Cinderella postseason run.

Rachel Friberg also scored for St. Thomas and goaltender Taylor Neisen made 17 saves between the pipes.

Bethel goalie Michelle Klimstra finished with 25 stops in the loss.

NCHA
Favorite Adrian was upset in the semifinals Friday, 2-1 by Concordia (Wis.) and in the other semifinal, Lake Forest upended St. Norbert 5-3.

In the championship final Saturday, Michelle Greeneway’s goal with three seconds remaining in regulation snapped a 1-1 tie and Lake Forest took a dramatic 2-1 win over Concordia.

Allie Carter made 20 saves in the win, while Bridget Slater stopped 44 in the loss.

NESCAC
Trinity won both its semifinal and the title game in overtime, downing Amherst 2-1 Saturday and then Middlebury 3-2 on Sunday.

Cheeky Herr was the hero in both games for the Bantams.

Middlebury had beaten Bowdoin 4-2 on Saturday to reach the title game.

WIAC
The WIAC title game was never in doubt as Wisconsin-River Falls rolled to a 6-1 win over Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Carly Moran potted a pair of goals, Chloe Kinsel added three assists, and Angie Hall needed to make just 13 saves in net for the Falcons.

Katherine Nejedlo scored for UWSP and conference player of the year Janna Beilke-Skoug made 34 saves in the Pointers’ crease.

The women’s Division III selection show is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. EST.

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