Women’s D-I wrap: Feb. 2

It’s getting crowded in here
January saw a number of games attract larger than typical crowds, and the month’s final day continued the trend. North Dakota drew 5,835 as it hosted Minnesota on Friday night with a $1 ticket promotion to attempt to set a new program attendance record, which it did, nearly doubling the old mark of 3,200.

Attendance for Colgate’s game hosting Brown on Friday to promote Autism Awareness, in conjunction with the advocacy organization Autism Speaks, was 1,124. The teams provided the fans with extra entertainment when the Bears battled back on goals by Ariana Rucker and Vanessa Welten to force overtime, offsetting earlier Raiders tallies by Melissa Kueber and Megan Wickens. Colgate fans went home happy when Taylor Volpe wristed in the game-winner 4:15 into overtime.

Colgate completed its first weekend sweep of the season with a 2-1 win over Yale on Saturday. Wickens and Kueber scored again, and Ashlynne Rando made 21 saves in holding the Bulldogs scoreless until the latter minutes of the game.

Lindenwood, Hensley, and other Colonials bedevilments
Some upsets come out of nowhere, while others are foreshadowed when one looks in the right place. A week after No. 8 Robert Morris got the split it needed with Mercyhurst to retain control of the CHA, the Colonials made a road trip to Lindenwood.

The weekend started well enough for RMU. Rebecca Vint posted her second consecutive hat trick to propel the Colonials to a 6-1 win on Friday night, with Katie Fergus and Brittany Howard also having three-point games.

On Saturday, the plan was to give Jessica Dodds a day off in net, but instead, it wound up as an off day for all of the Colonials. Lindenwood jumped on Courtney Vinet with two goals from its seven first-period shots, and Dodds was back between the pipes for the final two frames, not faring much better. Dodds was eventually saddled with the 4-2 loss when the Lions beat her twice in 11 shots. Lyndsay Kirkham and Kendra Broad scored twice apiece and assisted on the other goals, while Jocelyn Slattery added three helpers. Thea Imbrogno struck twice for RMU on the power play. Nicole Hensley continued tormenting the Colonials, making 26 of her 55 saves in the final 20 minutes.

Three of Hensley’s seven wins last year as a Lindenwood rookie came at the Colonials’ expense. She also set a record with 90 saves in a CHA Tournament game RMU eventually won in the third OT.

As players leave, others return
More players departed for Olympic stints, but others returned from injury to bolster lineups. Northeastern’s Claire Santostefano had two assists in her first game back, and just as importantly, gave the Huskies 14 skaters in their 4-2 win over Vermont. Katie MacSorley scored twice, Kelly Wallace added a goal and a helper, and Chloe Desjardins made 30 stops as the Huskies got their season record back to the .500 mark.

No. 7 Boston College welcomed back leading scorer Haley Skarupa after a four-game absence. She didn’t miss a beat, scoring twice in support of Corinne Boyles’ 23-save, 5-0 shutout. Junior Emily Field also had a goal, giving her 100 points as an Eagle.

Lauren Slebodnick was back in net for No. 6 Cornell, at least part of the time. Slebodnick came on in relief to start the third period on Friday night versus Yale with the game knotted at 3-3. She made seven saves in a perfect 20 minutes, picking up the 6-3 win. Six different players scored and five had two-point efforts for the Big Red. Slebodnick made the start on Saturday against Brown and left the game at 3:01 of the third period once her team took a 4-0 lead, and that’s how the game ended. Jillian Saulnier and Alyssa Gagliardi each had a goal and an assist, giving them four-point weekends.

Terriers regroup
Boston University rebounded from four straight losses that knocked it out of the rankings and the Hockey East lead by sweeping Connecticut, 2-1 and 5-2. Goals from Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga and Taylor Holze, a pair of Kaleigh Fratkin helpers, and a 20-save performance by Kerrin Sperry proved to be just enough in the opener in Storrs. Back in Boston, the top line took over as BU scored the game’s final three goals. Louise Warren had a hat trick plus a helper, and wings Samantha Sutherland and Sarah Lefort had three-point games, with Lefort netting the other two goals. Sarah MacDonnell and Michela Cava both had a goal plus an assist for the Huskies.

Buckeyes still ascending
Ohio State swept at St. Cloud State to improve to 6-1-3 in 2014. Goalie Lisa Steffes got plenty of support in the 4-1 and 6-1 wins; Claudia Kepler and Julia McKinnon had multi-point games in each. The victories and Minnesota-Duluth’s sweep of Bemidji State enabled the Buckeyes to move ahead of the Beavers and into fifth place in the WCHA.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 10 Mercyhurst celebrated a return to the rankings with a road sweep of Syracuse, 3-2 and 2-1. Sophomore Hannah Bale scored in each game, her first goals as a Laker. Amanda Makela totaled 57 saves in backing both victories. Coupled with the Robert Morris loss, the points moved the Lakers into a tie atop the CHA.

It was close but no cigar for Princeton versus No. 5 Harvard. Cassidy Tucker scored a rare power-play goal off of the Crimson penalty kill early in the third period to knot the score at 2-2. The Tigers committed only three penalties of their own in the game, but two came back-to-back midway in the frame, and Mary Parker capitalized to give Harvard a 3-2 win. Parker scored another third-period goal on Saturday to gain the Crimson a 2-2 tie at No. 9 Quinnipiac. Miye D’Oench had the other Harvard tally, while Shiann Darkangelo and Emma Woods lit the lamp for the Bobcats.

The Bobcats opened the weekend with a 3-1 triumph over Dartmouth, giving Rick Seeley his 100th win as Quinnipiac coach. After Emma Korbs opened the scoring for Dartmouth in the second period, Emma Woods drew Quinnipiac even in the stanza’s final minute and Morgan Fritz-Ward and Nicole Connery found paydirt for the Bobcats in the third period.

No. 4 Clarkson continued to look like a team on a mission, trouncing Union, 5-0, and Rensselaer, 5-1. Jamie Lee Rattray, the country’s leading scorer, scored a goal in each game and added four assists on Friday. Erica Howe’s shutout of the Dutchwomen gives her 10 on the season, a national best. Shannon MacAulay potted a pair of goals versus the Engineers.

A short-handed No. 3 North Dakota proved to be no match for No. 1 Minnesota, in more ways than one. Playing without three top scorers and a top defenseman due to international team absences and an injury to Meghan Dufault, UND scored the first and last goal of the weekend, but the Gophers scored eight straight in sweeping, 5-1 and 3-1. Minnesota’s power play converted on its first five chances to decide the series. Rookies Kate Schipper and Dani Cameranesi had two-goal games, while Meghan Lorence extended her personal streak to six straight games with a goal.