Here comes Harvard!
The Crimson got the 2002-2003 season underway in grand style, outscoring opponents 22-2 in two weekend wins. And while one opponent was Vermont, in the ECAC cellar so far this season, the other was No. 4 Dartmouth, which the Crimson handily defeated by a 9-2 margin. Harvard was happy to have last-year Olympic players Jennifer Botterill (4 goals, 8 assists for 12 points on the weekend), Angela Ruggiero (2-7–9) and Julie Chu (3-3–6) on the ice.
Harvard didn’t move up from No. 3 in this week’s USCHO.com Division I Women’s Poll, but received one first-place vote and narrowed the gap with No. 2 Minnesota to just one point.
The Golden Gophers didn’t help their cause with a 2-2 tie with unranked Bemidji State. Minnesota was missing four players from the Four Nations Cup, being held in Canada this weekend, but it is worth noting that Bemidji has gone to overtime with Minnesota in four of the team’s last six meetings, dating back to last year.
Minnesota-Duluth retained the No. 1 ranking for the sixth time this season with a sweep of Ohio State, shutting out the Buckeyes twice and outscoring their opponent 8-0 in two games.
Next week just might be the biggest weekend of the season for women’s college hockey, next to the NCAA Tournament in the spring. No. 7 Brown and No. 3 Harvard travel west to square off with No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth and No. 2 Minnesota on Friday and Saturday. While still early in the season, the games could have lasting implications for poll position, and, more importantly, NCAA selection come tournament time.
The USCHO.com Poll is compiled by U.S. College Hockey Online, and consists of 15 voters, including 11 coaches of Division I programs and four women’s hockey writers.