Women’s D-III picks: Feb. 21-22

It’s the final weekend of the regular season in some conferences, while conference playoffs get going in others.

 Saturday, Feb. 22

ECAC East Tournament

No. 8 New England College (3-13-0) at No. 1 Norwich (16-0-0)
The Pilgrims failed to score a goal in two regular season meetings with the Cadets.  A 3-1 upset of Southern Maine earlier this month marked the lone victory for NEC in its last seven games of the season. The Cadets are proficient with an extra skater, ranking third in the nation with a 30.1 success percentage, while the Pilgrims, who have dropped 16 consecutive road games dating back to last season, are second in the nation in average penalty minutes per game. Cadets will take full advantage of any NEC miscues in a first-round triumph. Norwich 6-0

No.5 Massachusetts-Boston (7-8-1) at No. 4 Manhattanville (6-7-3)
Junior forwards Sydney Asselstine and Alla Traun have combined for 10 of the Valiants 15 power-play goals during the regular season. Down the stretch, however, specialty teams have had sporadic results at 4-of-23 in the last five games. The Beacons, who enjoyed a seven-game unbeaten run in early November, have since taken the roller coaster path to the postseason. The Valiants have played at a .500 level on home ice. Massachusetts-Boston 3-2

No. 6 Southern Maine (7-9-0) at No. 3 Castleton (9-5-2)
At 1-8 over their last nine outings, the Huskies have free-fallen from the ranks of the conference standings. USM has managed to find the net just four times in as many games. By contrast, the Spartans have registered four or more goals 10 times this season. Castleton’s lone loss to a conference opponent at home came at the hands of top-seeded Norwich last November. Castleton 5-2

No. 7 Plymouth (3-11-2) at No. 2 Salve Regina (10-5-1)
Head coach Michael Cox, now in his eighth season with the Seahawks, has piloted his club to a program-best winning percentage of .680. Salve has not lost a home game on friendly ice since early in the first half of the season. Cox’s club has benefited from a balanced scoring attack, as 14 players have scored goals. On the defensive side, the Seahawks have received quality starts from freshman goalie Colleen Marcik. The Panthers fell 4-3 in the only meeting between the two clubs. Salve Regina 4-1


 St. Scholastica at St. Norbert
The Saints swept a weekend series on Green Knights’ ice in the first half of the schedule. St. Norbert has an optimum postseason seeding at stake and could swap slots with second-place Lake Forest, providing the Foresters fall to Concordia (Wis.) and Marian on consecutive nights. St. Norbert gets the green light. St. Norbert 4-3

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 21-22


Gustavus Adolphus at Bethel (home-and-home)
The Golden Gusties’ penalty-killing performance ranks just behind Plattsburgh in efficiency, while Bethel checks infourth in the nation at 90.9. Sophomore goalies Lindsey Hibbard of Gustavus Adolphus and Erika Allen of Bethel are among the conference’s leading netminders. A matchup between high-profile scorers Cristina Masten of Bethel and Allison Eder-Zdechlik of Gustavus Adolphus is one to watch. The Royals require a pair of wins and assistance from St. Benedict, who will take on St. Thomas, to have an opportunity to secure the MIAC regular season title. Bethel 4-3, Gustavus Adolphus 3-2