Women’s D-III picks: Jan. 10-11

A number of high echelon clubs look to get their postseason run-up in focus this week. An ECAC East-West perspective gets things underway Friday in New York, with No. 3 Norwich and No. 4 Elmira.

Friday-Saturday, Jan. 10-11

Gustavus Adolphus at Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Both teams have performed strikingly away from home. In that vein, the Golden Gusties and Pointers are a combined 9-0-2 on the road. The Pointers have lost twice on their home sheet, most recently in a 3-1 defeat against St. Norbert last Saturday. Given the emphasis on taut defensive play, the two-game series could hinge on the production of special teams. Coach Mike Carroll’s Gusties are ranked ninth with the skater advantage and fifth nationally on the PK. However, Gustavus Adolphus is yet to secure a triumphant outcome against a WIAC club this season (0-2-2). Wisconsin-Stevens Point has a clean 4-0-0 slate in matchups with MIAC entities. Wisconsin-Stevens Point over Gustavus Adolphus, Gustavus Adolphus over Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Colby at Amherst
A sweep would propel third place Colby past their hosts in the conference. Directed by first-year coach Mallory Young, the Mules have hit a few flat spots in the early portion of the schedule,  as in not closing out winnable contests. Colby, 3-2 in one-goal affairs, will need to take advantage of any and all opportunities afforded them while skating with the power play. The Mules have the sixth-ranked PP setup in the nation at 25.0 percent. Still, a tall task looms for Young’s charges in pursuit of success against the Jeffs. Amherst has been the lone club to score on No.1 Plattsburgh in a 1-1 deadlock in November at the East/West Classic. Amherst over Colby (both)

Rutland Herald Invitational
Host Castleton (7-5-2, 3-2-0 ECAC-East) has yet to taste team victory in the Invitational, now in its fifth edition. The Spartans invite Salve Regina (6-4-2, 2-3-0 ECAC-East), the University of New England (5-5-3 D-III Independent) and Holy Cross (6-5-0, 3-2-0 ECAC East) to Rutland’s Spartan Arena. Sophomore Taylor Steadman, a Vermont native, formerly of last season’s national championship Elmira squad, has entered the program at Castleton for the second half of the campaign. Steadman finished with seven goals and 11 points in 30 games along with a pair of game-winning goals a year ago. Along with Spartans forward Nicoline Jensen (7th in the nation in scoring), the Castleton offense is bound to witness a positive spike. Championship Game: Castleton over Holy Cross

Friday, Jan. 10 Castleton vs. University of New England, Holy Cross vs. Salve Regina
Saturday, Jan. 11 Consolation Game, 12:00 pm, Championship Game 3:00 pm

Friday, Jan. 10

Norwich at Elmira
The Cadets reversed poll spots with the Soaring Eagles this week in moving into third. At the East/West Classic last November, Norwich fell behind early before responding with three consecutive goals in the opening period en route to a 3-2 win. The Elmira camp will be eager to play in a friendly setting, given that only two of its 11 games thus far have been at home. Coach Dean Jackson’s crew last suited up at the Murray Athletic Center on Nov. 23 in a 5-1 victory over Williams. Norwich’s lone loss on the road came against No.1 Plattsburgh. Both teams are capable of generating quick-paced offense. Norwich’s Tori Charron and Elmira’s Ashley Ryan are both embedded among the nation’s top 10 scoring leaders, and there appears to be little wiggle-room, talent wise, between Cadets’ goalie Taylor Fairchild (1.48) and Elmira senior Lisa Marshall (5-2-1, 1.48).  The Soaring Eagles make the most of a home date. Elmira over Norwich