The 2015 Four Nations Cup takes place next week in Sundsvall, Sweden. This means two things to fans: the opportunity to watch, or at least follow, some hockey from across the pond, and the loss of some high-profile players from collegiate rosters for as much as 10 days.
The impact of the latter isn’t quite as widespread this year because the United States roster only includes three current college players, all senior forwards: Stephanie Anderson, Bemidji State; Kendall Coyne, Northeastern; and Emily Janiga, Mercyhurst. The United States players should be available to their college teams through Friday, Oct. 30.
Canada has the largest contingent of current NCAA players with seven: Emily Clark, Wisconsin, sophomore forward; Renata Fast, Clarkson, senior defenseman; Halli Krzyzaniak, North Dakota, junior defenseman; Sarah Lefort, Boston University, senior forward; Emerance Maschmeyer, Harvard, senior goaltender; Sarah Nurse, Wisconsin, junior forward; and Sarah Potomak, Minnesota, freshman forward. These players will miss this entire weekend as well as the next.
For the European rosters, it’s a bit more guesswork, because I’m not always sure when I find a roster if it matches the right event. However, I believe that Finland’s roster includes three freshmen forwards: Anna Kilponen, North Dakota; Suvi Ollikainen, St. Cloud State; and Vilma Tanskanen, North Dakota. The only college player from Sweden participating in Four Nations is Maria Lindh, Minnesota-Duluth, sophomore forward, but the Bulldogs don’t play again until Nov. 13.
The final day of competition for the tournament is Sunday, Nov. 8. While waiting for the international action to get going, here are some games to take in closer to home.
No. 1 Minnesota at No. 7 North Dakota, Friday, 7:07 p.m. CDT
The Gophers lost two of the three games they played in the Ralph Engelstad Arena last year, and UND has beaten Minnesota at least once in four of the last five seasons. Friday is UND’s “Pack the Ralph” promotion.
Connecticut at No. 2 Boston College, Friday, 2 p.m. EDT, No. 2 Boston College at Connecticut, Saturday, 2 p.m. EDT
Surprisingly, the Huskies are two games above .500. If they are still above .500 after Saturday, then we’ll have news. Their pattern has been to fall behind, and then rally successfully. Connecticut did show a different formula in shutting out Penn State on Saturday. Good thing, because the fall-behind plan is a dubious strategy against BC.
No. 4 Clarkson at No. 8 Harvard, Friday, 7 p.m. EDT, No. 4 Clarkson at No. 10 Dartmouth, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EDT
Which stop presents the bigger challenge for the undefeated Golden Knights? After last weekend, we’re not so sure. Clarkson eked out a pair of one-goal wins on this trip last year, but needed overtime to pull the game out in Hanover. If it can get another sweep, Clarkson would establish itself as the team to beat in the ECAC, despite this being only the first full weekend of league play.
Princeton at No. 8 Yale, Friday, 7 p.m. EDT, No. 5 Quinnipiac at Yale, Saturday, 4 p.m. EDT
Will the Bulldogs be predators or prey in the ECAC? It’s likely that the answer will vary from week to week. The Bobcats doubling up on Yale last weekend suggests the latter, but now the action shifts to New Haven.
Syracuse at Robert Morris, Friday, 7:05 p.m. EDT, and Saturday, 3:05 p.m. CDT
After going winless in its first four games, Robert Morris has reeled off four straight wins. Now it kicks off its CHA season against the Orange, the preseason favorite in the conference whose last three losses have been by a single goal. Both games in Moon Township ended in ties last year, while Syracuse swept on home ice. The Colonials are winless in the last six meetings in this rivalry, and have won only one of the last 11 versus the Orange.