What to Watch: Super Saturday

Less than 23 percent of the teams that we’ve followed all season remain, and that sparse herd gets thinned even further on Saturday, perhaps the most dramatic day of the schedule. It can be such a crushing defeat. All year it has been everyone’s dream to play in Durham in a week, and four teams will come so agonizingly close but still be left home.

The quarterfinal round has served up some absolute classics. Marathon games that looked like they might never end have asked the participants to give everything and still demanded more. The best quarterfinal round ever played out nine years ago with three overtime games, and the only host team to advance needed four overtimes to do so.

Where to watch? NCAA.com is a good starting point, and if that proves too laborious to navigate, then go to the schedule page on the host team’s website and look for a video link.

Here are some things to note on Saturday when you do watch.

Kazmaier trio
All three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award will be in action on Saturday, two on the same ice at Boston College.

The day also offers a very rare opportunity to watch winners of three Kazmaiers participating in the NCAA tournament on the same day. Amanda Kessel already owns one; Alex Carpenter does as well. A week from Saturday, either Carpenter will add a second, or Kendall Coyne or Ann-Renée Desbiens will be joining the Kazmaier club.

Whose house is this?
Boston College has won both previous times it played Northeastern at Conte Forum. Obviously — it has won every time it played anyone anywhere. However, both of those wins were one-goal games until a late empty-netter. The Eagles defeated Northeastern in the two games played elsewhere by a 13-1 composite score.

The first five minutes or so have given a good indication of which script the game will follow. When BC has dominated, it took the lead quickly. In the two close games, the Huskies were the squad with the early tally.

Not much thrill for the visitors in this chase
In another game matching two teams with quite a bit of history this season, Clarkson has spent much of the first three games versus Quinnipiac playing from behind, and the Golden Knights have never led. The most one-sided of the three games is the one that stayed scoreless the longest.

Back in November, nobody tallied for the first 36 minutes and change. Once Taylar Cianfarano did score, she doubled the lead 97 seconds later and completed her hat trick just over 11 minutes after that. In the game that ended in a 2-2 tie, the Bobcats led for more than 52 minutes. On Sunday, after 18 minutes of scoreless hockey, Nicole Brown put Quinnipiac back in the driver’s seat.

Undoubtedly, the Golden Knights would like their chances if they could be the team in front for once.

Second-period barometer
Offensively, the second period has been the best period for Minnesota. The Gophers have scored 74 of their goals in the middle stanza, and that’s when they often put opponents away. They’re 28-0-0 when leading after 40 minutes. However, they’ve not won a second period in any of the five games that they failed to win. The scoreless tie had a scoreless second period, obviously. In the overtime loss at Wisconsin, each team scored twice in the second frame. In the other three losses, Minnesota was outscored by a total of 5-0 in the second periods.

How about Princeton? The Tigers don’t much seem to care. They outscore opponents by roughly two to one no matter the period. However, they are winless (0-3-2) when trailing at the second intermission.

More of the same
Such trends are even more pronounced for Wisconsin. The Badgers have won all 24 games where they’ve led after 20 minutes, and all 33 times that they’ve taken a lead into the second intermission. On the other hand, they are winless at 0-3 when trailing at either intermission. Because Wisconsin so rarely allows a goal — they have 22 shutouts in 38 games — games tend to be over once it scores.

That’s not a good sign for Mercyhurst. It has been shut out in three of its last four losses.

Saturday’s game probably comes down to who scores first. The Badgers are 32-0 when they get the first goal, but they have a losing record if they don’t. The Lakers are 14-3-1 when scoring first, and also have a losing mark if the opponent strikes first.