Women’s D-III picks: Feb. 14-15

As expected at this juncture in the season, jousting for conference seeding leaps to the forefront. For a number of teams on the periphery, this is not the time to falter.

Friday, Feb. 14


Manhattanville at Salve Regina
Living under the radar in the first half of the season, the surprising Seahawks ran off a string of nine unbeaten games since mid-January before falling to St. Anselm on the road last weekend in a 2-1 final. With two games remaining, Salve Regina (8-5-1) currently ranks third among the D-III schools in conference play with 17 points. Castleton, whuch faces off against Norwich in its final outing of the season, is a point ahead with an 8-4-2 slate. A win over the Valiants and a subsequent victory over Nichols the following night is a must for the Seahawks in order to gain a loftier seed. Salve took a 3-2 road win in the lone meeting between the clubs, last January. Salve Regina 4-2

Saturday, Feb. 15


Adrian at Lake Forest
Embroiled in a four-team jam in the conference, the result, barring a tie, would slide the winning team into second place behind current top seed St. Scholastica. This will be the third meeting between the two teams at the Alumni Memorial Rink. The season-opening series for both teams resulted in a split. The Foresters enjoy the largest goal differential in the NCHA, while Adrian forward Kelsey Kusch is the leading scorer in the nation. A friendly rink takes it in tight battle. Lake Forest 4-3

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 14-15


No. 8 St. Thomas at No. 9 Gustavus Adolphus (home-and-home)
Deadlocked at the top of the conference standings with 24 points apiece; this series is poised to be the tipping point in deciding the regular season champion. The Tommies watched a 10-game unbeaten string come to a halt last weekend in a 5-3 road loss to Bethel. The Gusties recovered nicely from a pair of upset wins by St. Benedict in sweeping St. Catherine in a home-and-home last weekend. St. Thomas goalie Alise Riedel and counterpart Lindsey Hibbard of Gustavus Adolphus are both ranked among the top eight goaltenders in the nation. Gustavus Adolphus 4-2, St. Thomas 3-2


No. 2, Middlebury at Williams (home-and-home)
Middlebury has a relatively comfortable advantage at the head of the NESCAC standings, while the Ephs hold a skinny, one-point edge over No. 10 Amherst. Williams, 0-2-1 against ranked teams, will need a big weekend from leading scorer Cristina Bravi and her linemates this time out to overcome the Panthers. Middlebury 5-3, 2-1