Aside from the UNH-Minnesota game a few weeks ago (and what a game that was!!!), there haven’t been a whole lot of marquee D-I matchups to date. That all changes this weekend, as three pairs of top 10 teams clash, plus St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
PrincetonÃ‚Â at BC — Both these teams sit at the bottom end of the Top 10 right now, and Friday night’s result is unlikely to bump up either team inÃ‚Â the rankings (that teams as strong as Dartmouth and Harvard are onlyÃ‚Â 7th and 8th in the polls is unprecedented). BC and PrincetonÃ‚Â are similar in that they finished much better than expected last season, they both finishedÃ‚Â second in their respective conferences,Ã‚Â and they both need to overcome the losses of senior goaltenders. It’ll be interesting to see how they respond.
St. Lawrence vs. Clarkson — this home-and-home series drew 4,000 fans total for two games last season, the most for a weekend in ECAC regular season history.Ã‚Â It’s a bit of a shame that these teams play out their head-to-head meetings so early in the schedule — I’d much rather see them play again in February. Clarkson, being in its fourth season, is loaded with seniors. I would be surprised if either team swept this series — it hasn’t happened the last two years. There’s a decent chance you’ll see Clarkson enter the rankings next week while the BC-Princeton loser will drop out. Be sure to check out the streaming video for the SLU home games this season.
Dartmouth at Mercyhurst — these teams are both out of the top three right now, but nobody would be too surprised to see them battling for the NCAA title one day (I think you could say the same for anyone in the top eight this season). This game has been billed as an Olympic reunion, which would be nothing new for a Dartmouth-Harvard or Minnesota-UMD matchup, but it’s new for the Erie community. MercyhurstÃ‚Â drew well last week for Clarkson, and hopefully the Lakers can top that this week. As for the game itself, it’s hard to predict what will happen, since Dartmouth has the disadvantage of playing such a tough opponent right out of the gate, while Mercyhurst has never quite gotten over the hump of beating an elite team. It’s interesting that Mercyhurst hasn’t done quite as good a job of protecting its defensive end as in the past — now that they have such established scorers like CHA Player of the Year Valerie Chouinard and top recruit Meghan Agosta, you would expect some adjustment. Like the SLU-Clarkson series, I’d be surprised to see either team come away with four points.
Minnesota at Wisconsin — the rematch of the 2006 NCAA championship, what more needs to be said? Be sure to check the Game of the Week broadcast Saturday. More to follow this weekend.