D-I Women’s Weekend Preview: Feb. 4-6, 2005

No. 2 Dartmouth’s 12-0 ECAC record is the only unblemished conference mark left in the country, but it may face its toughest challenge yet with the two-headed monster travel pairing of Brown and No. 6 Harvard.

No. 6 Harvard at No. 2 Dartmouth, Sat 4 p.m.

Current Streaks:
Dartmouth has won three straight and 11 of 15 head-to-head against Harvard. The Crimson has a five-game unbeaten streak, and Dartmouth has won eight in a row.

Last five meetings:
2/27/04: Dartmouth 3, Harvard 2 (Recap)
1/11/04: Dartmouth 2, Harvard 1 (Recap)
3/16/03: Dartmouth 7, Harvard 2 (Recap)
2/7/03: Harvard 2, Dartmouth 1 (Recap)
11/9/02: Harvard 9, Dartmouth 2

Other past recaps:
11/10/01: Dartmouth 3, Harvard 2

Lesson Learned:
The biggest surprise of Dartmouth’s most recent season sweep of Harvard is that captain Sarah Clark led the way. She scored three of Dartmouth’s five goals for the season against Harvard, although she only scored seven in her senior campaign. Now that Clark has graduated, there are several candidates to be the next Crimson killer. Cherie Piper was never healthy for this series last year, and she and Katie Weatherston have been playing at another level this season. Oh yeah, and then there are the other three Dartmouth players with 30 points already this season.

A more interesting question for Dartmouth is in net. Kate Lane has gotten the majority of starts against the tougher competition this season, but she was the one Dartmouth goalie last season who never faced Harvard. Christine Capuano stopped 37 of 38 shots in her one start against the Crimson. Who will get the call?

Harvard enters this weekend firing on all cylinders after a renewed commitment to conditioning in the month of January, and this game with Dartmouth could not have come at a better time. All indications are that Harvard should provide the toughest challenge Dartmouth has faced since the Minnesota series last December.

No. 5 St. Lawrence at No. 9 Princeton, 4 p.m.

Current Streaks:
St. Lawrence has won 10 of 11 against Princeton and four in a row. Overall, the Saints have won four in a row and 11 of 12, while the Tigers have three-game unbeaten streak and are 7-1-3 in their last 11.

Last Five Meetings:
1/8/05: St. Lawrence 3, Princeton 2
12/6/03: St. Lawrence 3, Princeton 1
12/5/03: St. Lawrence 2, Princeton 1
12/7/02: St. Lawrence 4, Princeton 1
12/6/02: Princeton 3, St. Lawrence 1

Lesson Learned:
If the Saints’ poll ranking was based on their road record, they wouldn’t be in the top 10. In their three road games this season against teams in the current top 10, they were beat 5-1 in every one. Their one road win over a .500-plus team was against Brown, and they needed overtime to do that. In addition, the St. Lawrence road schedule also includes a loss to St. Cloud State and a tie against Clarkson. If the Tigers can’t snap of its funk against the Saints this weekend, they probably never will.

Other Notable Games

Brown at No. 2 Dartmouth, Fri. 7 p.m.
Brown has always played Dartmouth tough, even last season when the Bears tied the Big Green 5-5 and fell by a narrow 3-2 margin. The Bears have struggled as of late, however, with a 1-5-1 mark in their last seven. That’s uncharacteristic of Digit Murphy teams which tend to peak later in the year. This may be Brown’s last chance to turn its season around.

No. 1 Minnesota at St. Cloud, Fri., Sat. 7 p.m. CT
St. Cloud is suddenly 2-2-2 in its last six games at home, including a three-point weekend versus a former top 10 team OSU and a split against No. 5 St. Lawrence. The Huskies should perform far better this weekend against the Gophers than in the first go-round when they were outscored by margins of 7-0 and 7-1.

No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth at North Dakota. Sat., Sun., 2 p.m. CT
UMD coach Shannon Miller has been looking all season for game-breaking contributions from forwards other than Caroline Ouellette, Noemie Marin and Jessica Koizumi, but it hasn’t happened too often aside from the first UMD-Harvard game. These last couple of weeks before UMD plays Minnesota again would be a good time for those other players to build some confidence.

MSU at No. 4 Wisconsin, Sat., Sun. 2 p.m. CT
The Mavericks still haven’t allowed more than four goals in a game to any opponent other than Minnesota. Finding scoring themselves against the WCHA’s elite continues to be a problem.

No. 7 Mercyhurst at Colgate, Sat 2 p.m., Sun 1 p.m.
Since December, Colgate has beaten the teams it was expected to beat and lost to most everyone else. Mercyhurst has allowed more than two goals in just two games this season.

No. 8 UNH at Northeastern, Fri. 7 p.m.
Northeastern has shown remarkable improvement in recent weeks, and the toughness of goalie Marisa Hourihan has been a big part of that. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have struggled mightily on the road this season (4-3-1). The Huskies’margins of defeat against UNH have fallen from eight to six to three over the first three meetings. Can Northeastern close the gap even further?

Maine at No. 10 Providence, Sat., Sun., 2 p m.
Maine held its ground in the Hockey East playoff hunt with three of eight points against UNH and UConn in the last two weeks. In the last four weekends, Providence is just 1-2-1 on the second days, and the one win was in overtime. The Friars will be hard-pressed to take four points from the Black Bears.