In the conference championships, I did a pretty amazing job picking the winners of each game, missing only Northeastern’s upset of Boston University. I correctly picked the winners of each tournament though, as well as Syracuse upsetting Niagara, going 11-1 (.916). That brings my season picks to 189-57-24 (.744). Next up are some tough picks in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Saturday, March 12
Dartmouth at Cornell: A rematch of last week’s ECAC title tilt, which Cornell won 3-0. Dartmouth is the only ECAC team to beat Cornell. However, I have to think the Big Red are peaking at the right time. Freshman Brianne Jenner led both her team and the ECAC in scoring, while junior Chelsea Karpenko was tied for second in the conference and junior Rebecca Johnston was fourth. Overall, Cornell has seven of the top 10 scorers in the ECAC. The Big Red goaltending duo of junior Amanda Mazzotta and freshman Lauren Slebodnick was 1-2 in the ECAC. The Big Red are just too deep for the Big Green, who are led by Camille Dumais and Sasha Nanji. Cornell 4-1
Mercyhurst at Boston University: The Lakers narrowly beat Syracuse in the CHA tournament, not exactly a confidence builder, but Boston University has gone 4-4-1 since February. The Lakers are led by one of the most potent scoring troikas in the country in seniors Meghan Agosta, Jesse Scanzano, and Vicki Bendus. Also, the Lakers are hosting the Frozen Four, and would dearly love a shot at Cornell on home ice with a chance to go to the championship. For the Terriers, they need a big game from Jenn Wakefield and Marie-Philip Poulin. Mercyhurst 4-2
Minnesota at Boston College: The Gophers had an upset victory script going in the WCHA title game, until Wisconsin rallied from a two-goal deficit with eight minutes left in the game. Before that though, they had, for the most part, thoroughly outplayed Wisconsin. The Gophers are deep, fast, and explosive, with freshman Amanda Kessel leading the way offensively, while goaltender Noora Räty is one of the best in the country. Boston College has, with a couple of minor blips, been playing exceedingly well since the Beanpot (which they won), and came up with enough to top Providence in OT and then defeat Northeastern in the Hockey East championship. For BC to win, goaltender Molly Schaus may have to steal it. Look for senior forward and Olympian Kelli Stack to play with fire, but I think BC will come up just short. Minnesota 3-2
Minnesota-Duluth at Wisconsin: Congratulations Wisconsin. You win the WCHA title with a stirring comeback. Let’s reward you with the defending national champions! Prior to losing to Minnesota in the WCHA tournament, Minnesota-Duluth had won 10 straight, and played the Gophers tough until Minnesota broke it open late in the second period. The Bulldogs have senior Kim Martin in net, a potent wall against the formidable Badgers offense, led by Hilary Knight, Brianna Decker, and Meghan Duggan, who are tied for second in scoring in the country. Watching the game against Minnesota, it was striking how deep the Badgers are, and how many ways they can hurt you. It will be close, but I think Wisconsin takes it. Wisconsin 4-2