Women’s DI weekend picks November 22: Gophers and Bulldogs renew an in-state rivalry and Princeton looks to take down Clarkson

(1) Minnesota at (10) Minnesota Duluth

The Gophers won two, lost one and the teams tied over the course of four games last season. In both their wins, Minnesota netted five goals. In the loss and tie, they put just two in the net. Minnesota Duluth put two or three goals on the board in each game, so for them, it’s about finding ways to get in front of the puck, force Minnesota to shoot from the perimeter and, if they can, limit shots altogether – the Gophers peppered the net with an average of 43 shots on goal per game in the teams’ four meetings last season. This in-state rivalry means most anything can happen, but with home dominant the Gophers have been I think I have to pick them until someone gives me a reason not to. I’ll take them to sweep, but think it’s very possible for the Bulldogs to get points this weekend.

(2) Wisconsin at St. Cloud State

St. Cloud hasn’t beaten the Badgers since 2015 and are currently on a 21-game losing streak against them. The Badgers lost focus in the third period of their game against Minnesota State last weekend and let the Mavericks get close, but Wisconsin responded with a 6-1 win the following day. I doubt we’ll see a similar letdown in this series. The ice is 10 feet wider in St. Cloud and the Badgers can sometimes struggle to quickly adjust to that extra space, but I don’t think it gives the Huskies enough of an advantage for Wisconsin to worry about. The Badgers sweep.

(3) Cornell at Syracuse

Syracuse has just two wins this season and the Big Red have cruised through the beginning part of their schedule. This is a convenient upstate non-conference game, but it isn’t likely to be very evenly matched. The Orange lost a lot of talent to graduation after making their first-ever NCAA tournament and they aren’t likely to be able to keep up with the pace and power of the Big Red over the course of 6- minutes. Cornell wins this one.

Maine at (4) Northeastern

The two teams have been fairly even over their last ten meetings, with Northeastern holding a slight 5-4-1 edge, though the Huskies have been more dominant of late, including in a 6-1 win over the Black Bears already this season. The Huskies are coming off a dominant showing over Boston College on Tuesday and have shown that they should be considered the top team in the conference. Hockey East teams particularly seem to be vulnerable to in-conference losses to teams they should beat. This feels like it could be one of those traps for the Huskies and they have to stay focused and not get ahead of themselves. They should sweep the weekend.

(5) Clarkson at (8) Princeton

Clarkson leads the all-time series against Princeton 19-15-2. The Golden Knights have controlled the series of late, going 19-5-1 over the last 25 meetings. Last year, Clarkson took both of the teams’ meetings and will look to continue that streak. Freshman Gabrielle David has been a huge addition to Clarkson’s top line and is serving as a great linemate for Elizabeth Giguere. The teams are evenly matched in team offense and defense, but Princeton has been better on both sides of special teams, so they may be able to find a way to upend Clarkson that way. I’m picking the Tigers to win at home.

Connecticut at (6) Boston College 

UConn handed BC their first loss of season when they took a 5-2 victory two weeks ago. Before that, BC had won five in a row against the Huskies. The Eagles are coming off an uninspiring loss to Northeastern on Tuesday where their potent offense that is averaging nearly four goals per game was completely shut down. What BC fans want to see is their team to bounce back from the loss and to take the Huskies seriously after possibly looking past them earlier in the season. Unfortunately, BC struggles with rebounding after losses and reacting the way you’d want to see respond in these kinds of situations, so it’s difficult to say exactly how this game will go. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they don’t like UConn beat them a second time.

(7) Ohio State at Colgate

The teams split a pair of games in Columbus last season, but before that had never played each other. Colgate won their last two games, but before that went through a rough stretch where they managed just one win in five games. The Raiders are playing a difficult non-conference schedule, but have gone 0-for-3 against WCHA teams so far this season. I think Ohio State has the ability to sweep this series, but it’s most likely going to end up in a split, again.

St. Lawrence at (8) Princeton

The Saints are a team that can give Princeton fits. The Tigers needed overtime to earn a 4-3 win during the regular season where they scored with just three second left in the additional period to take the victory. St. Lawrence took the final game of the season, helping ensure Princeton finished fourth in the conference. Princeton responded, ousting St. Lawrence from the ECAC playoffs in two games.

New Hampshire at (9) Harvard

These two teams tied the only game they played last season. Harvard came back down to earth a bit this week with a 6-2 loss to BU on Tuesday. The Crimson are still a really intriguing team, but it’s difficult to understand if they’re more like the team that beat Princeton 6-2 or the team that lost to Boston University 6-2 this week. New Hampshire is a team that’s going to give opponents difficulties all year. This is one of the more interesting games this week, in my opinion. I’ll take Harvard at home.