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Women’s D-III picks: Nov. 21

It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year, but for now, it’s the best time of the week, the weekend with games on the schedule.

USCHO Women’s Editor Candace Horgan and Division III writer Matt Mackinder give their thoughts on the big games on the upcoming schedule.

Friday, Nov. 21

No. 3 Norwich at Salve Regina
Candace: Home ice will make this close, but I like the Cadets to pick up the win. Norwich 3-2
Matt: This Friday night contest could conceivably go either way.

Norwich is ranked third in the country for a reason, while Salve Regina is playing very respectable .500 hockey (2-2-0) so far, including a 2-1-0 mark on home ice.

That being said, Norwich is, well, Norwich, and the Cadets’ 4-1-1 overall record to date moves to 5-1-1 tonight. Give a couple goals to Erin Joyce, too.

Friday-Saturday, Nov. 21-22

No. 5 Wisconsin-Stevens Point at No. 8 Wisconsin-Superior
Candace: I don’t go into as much detail as Matt does, but I do like his idea of a split. It seems to be the trend with ranked teams facing each other. Wis.-Superior 4-2, Wis.-Stevens Point 3-2
Matt: The marquee matchup this weekend, as the two ranked squads go at it. Overall, Superior is 6-1-0 and Wis.-Stevens Point is 5-1-0, so what gives?

Superior has many of the WIAC’s top scorers, while the Pointers seem to have a more balanced attack. Janna Beilke-Skoug (Stevens Point) and Megan Leikkari (Superior) are arguably the conference’s top two goalies.

While two ties would perhaps be poetic justice, I’ll go with a split with Superior winning Friday night and Stevens Point taking Saturday night’s game.

No. 10 Adrian at St. Norbert
Candace: While St. Norbert is improving, the team isn’t quite the dominant force the men’s squad is. Home ice will make at least one close, but I think Adrian sweeps. Adrian 5-3, 3-2
Matt: The Bulldogs are off to a 4-0-0 start and entered the rankings this week. Long overdue, in my opinion.

Adrian’s Kelsey Kusch is averaging better than a goal per game, and looks to be the catalyst for the offense. Jade Walsh has played every minute of every game to this point, and will most likely get the call to keep the ball rolling this weekend.

St. Norbert is 3-3-0 and is a streaky team so far, having opened with two wins over St. Benedict, then lost two to Lake Forest and split with St. Scholastica. Consistency is needed against the No. 10 team in the country.

Adrian takes both games, with one being decided in the final three minutes.

Recapping the weekend: Nov. 16

This past weekend in the NCAA Division III ranks made for some great action across the country.

ECAC EAST
No. 3 Norwich topped New England College 5-0 on Friday night as the Norwich defense held NEC to just seven shots on goal, including zero in the second period. Massachusetts-Boston scored in the opening minutes of the first period (Angela Dandreo at 3:47) and the last two minutes of the third (Samantha Fallon at 18:32) to beat Nichols 2-1 on Friday night. Sydney Helmbreacht’s 27-save shutout helped the University of New England down Plymouth State 2-0 Friday night. Gabriela Moscato and Emily Corrales notched UNE’s goals. Manhattanville goalie Kirsten Shaughnessy stopped all 30 shots in blanking Massachusetts-Boston on Saturday night. Amanda Kempainen’s second goal of the game 2:50 into overtime Saturday night lifted St. Michael’s over UNE 4-3 as Tina Frasca stopped 34 shots in goal. Norwich blanked Plymouth State 4-0 on the strength of Loren Carrier’s 15-save shutout.  Salve Regina fired 64 shots in a 6-0 win over NEC Saturday night. Marisa Ketterman’s goal with 3:24 to play in the third period stood as the game-winner in Franklin Pierce’s 2-1 win against Holy Cross Saturday night. Rachel Bombardier’s goal 6:58 into the game was all Castleton needed and Jess Cameron made 31 saves in a 1-0 win Saturday over Nichols.

ECAC WEST
Buffalo State topped Neumann 3-2 Saturday on Bri Carroll’s winner at 1:52 of overtime. Bek Lucas had tied the game 2-2 at 16:10 of the third period. Top-ranked Plattsburgh blanked Chatham 6-0 Saturday night in front of 648 spectators at the Stafford Ice Arena. Bridget Balisy scored two goals and netminder Ally Ross finished with 19 saves. On Sunday, Kayla Meneghin scored three with an assist as Plattsburgh drubbed Chatham 11-1. Ashton Hogan posted a hat trick and Ashley Ryan six assists in No. 2 Elmira’s 10-2 win Saturday night over Cortland and then Sunday, Louisa Lippiatt Durnell scored twice with a pair of helpers in an 8-1 win for Elmira. The Utica-Oswego home-and-home series was postponed with rescheduled dates to be announced.

MIAC
Augsburg tied No. 10 Bethel 1-1 on Friday night as Erika Allen made 27 saves in net. Allen then came back Saturday night and made 32 stops as Augsburg blanked Bethel 2-0. Rachel Hennessy and Megan Robertson scored and Hallie Gudmonson assisted on both. No. 7 Gustavus Adolphus beat Concordia (Minn.) 3-1 Friday night and then 2-0 Saturday night to get the sweep as Lindsey Hibbard pitched an 18-save shutout in the finale. No. 8 St. Thomas beat St. Mary’s 4-1 Friday, but then settled for a scoreless tie Saturday night as Tori Herrmann made 43 saves for St. Mary’s and Paige Kittelson 29 for St. Thomas. St. Benedict swept St. Olaf with scores of 5-3 and 6-3. St. Catherine and Hamline tied 1-1 Saturday night after St. Catherine took a 3-1 win Friday in the opener.

NCHA
Marian swept Finlandia in convincing fashion, with a 7-4 win Friday and then a 6-1 win Saturday. Nina Laurie tallied a hat trick on Saturday night. Concordia (Wis.) and Lake Forest split their weekend set as Lake Forest won 5-1 Friday night and Concordia rallied for a 3-0 shutout on Saturday as Bridget Slater turned aside all 33 shots she faced. St. Norbert and St. Scholastica also did the splits as four different goal scorers led SNC Friday night in a 4-3 win and then the Saints scored three unanswered Saturday night for a 3-1 victory.

NESCAC
Allie Aiello scored twice Saturday night in No. 4 Middlebury’s 7-1 win over Colby and then Madeline Marsh recorded a 13-save shutout in Middlebury’s Sunday afternoon 2-0 shutout. Neither team scored more than two goals each game, but Trinity took a 2-1 win Sunday over Connecticut College after the two squads tied 2-2 Saturday. Amherst blanked Hamilton in consecutive games, 2-0 Saturday and 1-0 Sunday. Brenna Sullivan scored both goals Saturday and Yuna Evans stopped all 14 shots and then Sunday, Erin Martin scored and Evans finished with 18 saves. Williams topped Wesleyan 3-1 Saturday, only to have Wesleyan goalie Laura Corcoran throw a 28-save shutout in a 5-0 win Sunday as Cara Jankowski registered a pair of goals.

WIAC
No. 5 Wisconsin-River Falls and No. 6 Wisconsin-Stevens Point split their series in River Falls. Friday, Wis.-River Falls won 3-2 on Amy Auran’s game-winner midway through the third period. Meredith Ingbretson’s goal with 1:59 left in regulation gave Wis.-Stevens Point the 3-2 win on Saturday night. Ninth-ranked Wisconsin-Superior swept Wisconsin-Eau Claire with 5-3 and 4-2 victories. Dani Schultz scored twice for Wis.-Superior on Friday, while Paige Dale scored two of her own for Wis.-Eau Claire Saturday, Haley Olmstead had a two-goal, one-assist game as Wis.-Superior won its second in a row.

Nonconference
Sacred Heart swept Canton by scores of 4-0 and 6-3. Amanda Fontaine made 13 saves Friday and Megan Ofner scored twice, while Casey Stathopoulos tallied two goals and an assist Saturday.

Women’s D-III wrap: November 10

The long grind begins anew in D-III. Here’s a glance at last weekend’s results.

ECAC East
Coach Steph Moberg’s initial season at Castleton kicked off in a positive way. The Spartans took a pair of victories this weekend; shutting out Southern Maine, 5-0, and following with a 5-1 win over the University of New England. Power-play production has been an early plus for Moberg’s crew thus far, running at 26.7 percent.

Massachusetts- Boston sophomore Sarah Alonardo and senior forward Alyssa Sullivan combined for six goals in weekend wins over New England College and Plymouth State.

Norwich outshot its opponents, 59-22, over the weekend, resulting in a pair of wins. Cadets goalie Celeste Robert registered two shutouts in the process.

St. Anselm joined in on the double win weekend, garnering tightly played victories against Franklin Pierce and St. Michael’s.

Kyra Herbert scored twice and Kirsten Shaughnessy acquired a shutout leading in Manhattanville to its first win of the season against Nichols.

ECAC West
Plattsburgh goaltender Ally Ross collected a pair of wins in a weekend sweep of Neumann. The Cardinals 5-1 victory on Sunday was highlighted by three power-play goals.

Utica utilized a 41-shot performance to overwhelm newcomer William Smith, 6-3, on Sunday. The Pioneers received goals from five different players in the contest.

Georgia Kleiner’s goal 41 ticks into overtime provided Buffalo State with a 3-2 road win over Potsdam. The Bears responded in the second portion of the two-game weekend series on Izzy Fairman’s game-winning goal midway through the third for a 2-1 final.

MIAC
Bethel’s Lindsay Burman registered a five-point weekend in a home-and-home series with Wisconsin-River Falls. Burman’s insurance marker at the outset of the third period was her second of the game in a 6-3 win over the Falcons. Burman was named MIAC Women’s Hockey Athlete of the Week for her play.

Gustavus Adolphus took advantage of two second-period power-play opportunities, including a five-on-three, in topping Wisconsin-Superior, 3-1, at Don Roberts Arena. Freshman Katie Aney potted the game-winner.

NCHA
Adrian bowled over Marian twice, taking 7-1 and 6-2 road wins. Kaylyn Schroka recorded four assists Friday afternoon. Kelsey Kusch added five points to her individual statistics (2-3-5) over the weekend.

Nina Waidacher notched her sixth goal of the young season as St. Scholastica tripped up Finlandia, 4-0, on Saturday. The Saints outshot the Lions, 72-26, in the weekend sweep.

Lake Forest rebounded from a pair of opening weekend defeats by taking out St. Norbert by identical 5-1 scores. Goalie Allie Carter, the recipient of both wins, upped her save percentage to .921 as a result.

Concordia (Wis.) remained unbeaten after grinding out a tie and a victory against Augsburg. Friday afternoon at Augsburg Ice Arena, the Falcons struck first on a tally by Veronika Metanova and held service until the third when Augsburg junior Kayla Fuechtmann beat Andrea Mizanskey for the 1-1 deadlock. Baylee Darling notched the game-winner with under four minutes left in regulation in Saturday’s 3-2 win by Concordia.

WIAC
Wisconsin-Steven Point’s Janna Beilke-Skoug turned away 35 of 36 shots she faced over the weekend in a sweep of Concordia (Minn.). Three different goal scorers aided the Pointers in Saturday’s 3-0 triumph over the Cobbers.

Wisconsin-River Falls split a home-and-home with Bethel, the 3-1 win coming on Friday at the W.H. Hunt Arena. Dani Buehrer collected the game-winning goal for the Falcons. The Falcons then lost on Saturday, 6-3, as detailed above.

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.

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