Women’s D-III weekend picks Jan. 4: Top 10 tournament battles

Tory Harshman of Adrian (Adrian Athletics)
Tory Harshman leads top-ranked Adrian against No. 2 Plattsburgh (Adrian Athletics)
Friday, Jan. 4
Northland versus Bethel
Bethel is having a rough year, to say the least. This program has one win in the season against Chatham and zero wins in conference play. Northland is having a slightly better year than Bethel with a 3-7-1 record. This MIAC versus NCHA matchup will be an opportunity for either team to get a couple victories in their win column. Northland has better stats, which is why I’m picking them to win both games. Northland 4-1, 2-1   
Amherst versus No. 6 Middlebury
Amherst faced both average and above-average teams during the first half of their season. The results proved indicative that Amherst’s play is inconsistent, as they played well against tough opponents and then not well against weaker teams. Middlebury is a powerhouse, and it’ll take a lot for any team to take them down. I don’t see Amherst winning a game against Madie Leidt and the Panthers. Middlebury 4-1, 3-2 
Saturday, Jan. 5
St. Scholastica versus No. 7 St. Thomas
The Saints are a stronger team then their record in the first half shows. St. Thomas has had an incredible start, allowing only five goals in 12 games. The Tommies are a hard team to score against, but I think the Saints might be able to sneak a goal or two behind Kenzie Torpy, if indeed she plays. Even with the promise of a goal or two, I don’t think it will be enough for St. Scholastica to pull off a win, as St. Thomas has home-ice advantage. St. Thomas 3-1
No. 9 Wisconsin-Eau Claire versus No. 10 Gustavus Adolphus 
This matchup will be a contest to determine who will stay in the top 10 ranking, with the loser dropping out. These teams played earlier in the year and ended in a tie. Gustavus has only beaten one ranked team, while Hamline and Wisconsin-Eau Claire have yet to beat a ranked opponent. This game has great potential to bring playoff level hockey for both sides. Gustavus has the home-ice advantage, but I don’t think it will be a factor in the outcome. Wisconsin-Eau Claire 2-1 
Sunday, Jan. 6
No. 1 Adrian versus No. 2 Plattsburgh 
Adrian faced Plattsburgh earlier this year and beat them 1-0. Plattsburgh will without a doubt be looking to prove to everyone that loss was a fluke and take the first-place ranking back. Adrian had a significant break compared to other schools over the holiday, and that is why I will be picking Plattsburgh to win this game. Plattsburgh 2-1
No. 3 Norwich versus No. 5 Elmira
The last time Elmira played in a holiday tournament, they choked, terribly. The Soaring Eagles lost both games in the Cardinal/Panther Classic. This time around, I don’t see the same outcome for Elmira. Norwich lost to Elmira earlier this year, and I’m sure they will be looking to rebound from that loss. In the end though, Elmira seems to be the better team with more experience against ranked opponents. Elmira 4-3