Women’s D-III weekend picks Feb. 22: Road to the NCAA tournament has begun

Kaleigh Martinson of Wisconsin-Superior (Marya Zajchowski)
Kaleigh Martinson leads a Wisconsin-Superior team looking to spring an upset on Wisconsin-River Falls.  (Marya Zajchowski)

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 22-23

NCHA — quarterfinals

St. Norbert versus No. 6 Adrian
Adrian has home-ice advantage for the entire NCHA playoffs. St. Norbert snuck into the playoffs at the end of the regular season. The Green Knights will have a hard time trying to upset a strong Adrian team. Adrian 4-1, 3-0

Concordia (Wis.) versus St. Scholastica
St. Scholastica has been taking care of business and winning their games. Concordia (Wis.) is a tough team to play, and they have beat St. Scholastica before during the regular season. The Falcons could steal a game during this series and force a mini-game, although with the way the Saints have been playing, I don’t see this outcome coming to fruition. St. Scholastica 4-3, 4-1

Trine versus Lake Forest
Trine has made huge strides in the development of their program. This second-year program landed fourth in a tough conference, passing teams in the standings who have been in the league for numerous years. Trine upset Lake Forest earlier in the year, but it was not in the Foresters’ home rink. The Foresters play too good at home for Trine to win a game. Lake Forest 3-1, 2-0

WIAC — semifinals

Wisconsin-Stevens Point versus No. 9 Wisconsin-Eau Claire
The Blugolds seem to be playing some of their best hockey, except for the loss to Wisconsin-River Falls. Wisconsin-Eau Claire should win this series convincingly, as the last time these two teams met, the Blugolds scored numerous goals. Wisconsin-Eau Claire 5-1, 2-0

Wisconsin-Superior versus No. 5 Wisconsin-River Falls
Wisconsin-Superior may have ended last in the WIAC standings, but they have great potential to beat Wisconsin-River Falls. Almost all the games the Yellowjackets have played this year were close in score. Even if they don’t beat the Falcons, they will without a doubt not make it easy on them. Wisconsin-River Falls 2-1, 3-2

Saturday, Feb. 23

MIAC — semifinals

No. 1 St. Thomas versus Gustavus Adolphus
St. Thomas is one of the strongest teams in the league this year, and no matter if they win the MIAC tournament or not, they will more than likely get a bid to the NCAA tournament. The game could be close in score, but the Tommies should come out on top. St. Thomas 3-2

No. 4 Hamline versus Augsburg
The Auggies are facing a strong offense with Hamline’s Bre Simon and Leah Schwartzman. These two combined have scored 40 goals during the year and will definitely be a difference-maker in this game. Hamline’s offense is too strong for Augsburg. Hamline 4-3

Colonial Hockey — quarterfinals

Salve Regina versus Morrisville
Morrisville is a strong team, and opponents who take them lightly will get beat, by a lot. Although the Mustangs got third in the Colonial Hockey Conference, they are still a top contender for the title. Morrisville 4-1

University of New England versus Canton
These teams have similar statistics, which makes picking this game difficult. University of New England lost to Canton twice toward the end of the year, but the score was close. I believe the University of New England will get the upper hand this time around. University of New England 3-2

NEHC — semifinals

UMass Boston versus No. 8 Norwich
Norwich may not be as strong as last year, but they should still win this conference tournament. It would more than shocking not to see Amanda Conway and the Cadets in the NCAA tournament this year. Norwich 4-1

Johnson & Wales versus Castleton
Castleton tied the NEHC powerhouse team, Norwich, during the regular season. Therefore, beating Johnson & Wale should be manageable for the Spartans. Castleton 2-1

NESCAC — quarterfinals

Wesleyan versus No. 7 Williams
Wesleyan beat Williams during the regular season, and as we have seen during the year in the NESCAC, anything is possible. Williams is the top team right now in this conference, and I can’t see them getting knocked out in the first round. Williams 3-1

Connecticut College versus No. 10 Middlebury
Middlebury has had a rocky regular season with multiple upsets, but they have also had a notable win against Norwich and tied Elmira. The Panthers will be hard to beat, and it won’t be in the quarterfinals. Middlebury 4-2

Colby versus Hamilton
Colby has the potential to beat Hamilton, as the Mules upset Williams and Middlebury, both ranked teams. During the regular season, Hamilton beat Colby twice, and that is why I will be picking them to win. Hamilton 2-1

Amherst versus Trinity
This game is almost to close to call, as their records and statistics are very similar. They split during the regular season, which does not give much insight to predicting this game. Nevertheless, I can see Trinity coming out with the win. Trinity 2-1

NEWHL — semifinals

Cortland versus Potsdam
Potsdam has the home-ice advantage, and I think that will play a factor in this game. At home, Potsdam’s record is 7-4-1, versus when they play away their record is 2-9-2. Potsdam 1-0

No. 3 Plattsburgh versus Oswego
Plattsburgh had a great regular season and made a strong case as to why we will seem them in the NCAA tournament again. Plattsburgh scored many goals against Oswego during the year, and the same should be expected in this game. Plattsburgh 5-0

UCHC — quarterfinals

Utica versus Manhattanville
Manhattanville seems to be the better team, but their inconsistency could cause them to lose this game. Despite being inconsistent, Manhattanville’s Amanda Sabia and Nicole Mensi should be strong enough to push past Utica. Manhattanville 2-1

Neumann versus William Smith
A good majority of William Smith’s games were high-scoring competitions. This game should be the same, with Herons coming out victorious. William Smith 5-3