D-I Women’s Weekend Preview: Feb. 11-13, 2005

Dartmouth triumphed handily over St. Lawrence in the teams’ first meeting just four weeks ago, but the Saints will hope for better luck in a different venue with reduced rosters.

No. 3 Dartmouth at No. 6 St. Lawrence, Fri 7 p.m.

Current Streaks: Dartmouth’s win over St. Lawrence last month snapped the Saints’ five-game win streak in the series. St. Lawrence has won six in a row and 12 of 13. The Big Green is coming off a 6-3 loss to No. 5 Harvard last week. St. Lawrence is 11-0-2 at home this year.

Last Five Meetings:
2/5/05: Dartmouth 5, St. Lawrence 1 (Recap)
3/28/04: St. Lawrence 2, Dartmouth 1 (Recap)
3/20/04: St. Lawrence 4, Dartmouth 2 (Recap)
2/14/04: St. Lawrence 3, Dartmouth 2 (Recap)
2/13/04: St. Lawrence 3, Dartmouth 0 (Recap)

Lesson Learned: Because of the Under-22 Air Canada Cup this weekend, each team is losing three players–Katie Weatherston, Gillian Apps and Meagan Walton for Dartmouth, and Annie Guay, Chelsea Grills and Sabrina Harbec for St. Lawrence. Although the missing players account for 27 percent of the Saints’ goal-scoring and 43 percent of Dartmouth’s, all the goal scorers from the most recent 5-1 Dartmouth will still be in attendance, ironically.

It’s tough to judge which team is most disadvantaged by the callups. Dartmouth lost more veteran players and more offense. Yet the defense is still intact, players like Cherie Piper and Tiffany Hagge can still provide plenty of offense, and Caroline Ethier has come up big whenever she has been given more playing time. Dartmouth’s biggest disadvantage is having only enough forwards for two lines, but the Big Green has dealt with this situation before. St. Lawrence isn’t losing as many veterans, but on such a young team, those departing players really are the veterans. The Saints might have more bodies to spare at forward than the Big Green, but St. Lawrence had enough trouble scoring already with its full roster. Also, Guay’s absence will force St. Lawrence to juggle its defensive pairings.

Dartmouth was in a similar situation because of the Air Canada Cup last year when it played No. 1 Minnesota without Weatherston and Walton. The Big Green triumphed 3-2 by taking an early lead and holding on for dear life in the third period. In the rematch the next day, Dartmouth didn’t have much left in a 7-3 defeat. The good news for Dartmouth is that this tougher game is on the first day of the weekend, so the lack of a third line won’t be as much of a disadvantage.

Other Notable Games

North Dakota at No. 1 Minnesota
Sat., Sun. 2 p.m. CT

The Gophers found scoring from all three lines in their last win over St. Cloud State, and the second line has been scoring just about every game in recent weeks. Those units can build their confidence against the Fighting Sioux’s defense, last in the WCHA.

No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth at St. Cloud State
Fri 7 p.m., Sat 4 p.m.

The Bulldogs lose Noemie Marin and Krista McArthur to the Air Canada Cup, but the results likely won’t change much from the 3-0 and 4-0 UMD sweep the last time these teams met. The continued development of UMD’s recent additions, freshman forward Karine Demeule and senior goalie Patricia Elsnore (Sautter), remains the most interesting subplot. This is the Bulldogs’ last series before playing Minnesota in two weeks.

No. 3 Dartmouth at Clarkson
Sat. 4 p.m.

Clarkson will be as tough for Dartmouth to score on as St. Lawrence, especially since the Big Green will be playing its second game of the weekend with just two lines. But the Golden Knights’ upset potential is limited by their offense, which has produced just four goals in four games.

Ohio State at No. 4 Wisconsin
Fri., Sat. 7 p.m. CT

The Buckeyes upset Wisconsin on their home ice back in October, but they haven’t fared as well on the road. A one-point weekend against St. Cloud State two weeks ago knocked them out of the top 10, and it’ll be tough for them to get back there this season. Meanwhile, only UMD and Minnesota have tested the Badgers at the Kohl Center this season.

Union at No. 5 Harvard
Fri 7 p.m., Sat 4 p.m.

In Harvard’s season-opening series at Union in 2003, the nation’s top goal scorer Nicole Corriero produced nine goals and seven assists in a 13-0, 11-0 sweep. The Crimson top units likely won’t see as much time in this series since it’s no longer the season opener, but the margins of victory will still be large as Harvard looks to stay sharp for the upcoming Beanpot final and the North Country rode trip the following week.

Vermont at No. 6 St. Lawrence
Sat 4 p.m.

St. Lawrence’s national team callups, combined with Vermont’s red hot goaltending and ice cold offense, give this one all the makings of another 2-0 Catamount defeat.

No. 7 Mercyhurst at Brown
Fri. 7 p.m., Sat 4 p.m.

See the USCHO Game of the Week preview.

No. 8 New Hampshire at Maine
Sat.-Sun. 1 p.m.

The Wildcats had a tough enough time at home matching up against the Black Bears in January, when the visitors took one point and nearly took two. Now they have to face Maine in a smaller rink, where they have struggled. UNH has not been getting the same consistent production from its second and third line that it was getting back in December, and as a result the team has not been as dominant against Hockey East competition.

No. 9 Princeton at Cornell, Colgate
Fri 7 p.m., Sat. 4 p.m. (respectively)

The Tigers’ margin for error in the race for ECAC home ice and an NCAA at-large berth is slim, and anything short of four points this weekend will be a disappointment. Princeton can overmatch Cornell, but Colgate has been finding enough offense to do better than the 0-0 tie it earned against the Tigers back in December.

Connecticut vs. No. 10 Providence
Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m. (home-and-home starting at Providence)

This series was evenly matched the first time around, and this one should be no different. Despite holding sole possession of first place in Hockey East, the Friars have yet to show they can win two straight games convincingly in conference play. The narrow difference between the Friars and the rest of the league has been Karen Thatcher, who always seems to get the job done in the end.