Nicole Haase

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 21

Come back each week for a breakdown of the most interesting upcoming games, how to watch or listen to them, and some thoughts on the movers and shakers from the previous week.

Here are the games to watch this weekend:

(2) Minnesota-Duluth at (1) Wisconsin

Saturday at 2:00 PM CT; Sunday at 12:00 PM CT

Watch: Available online through BTN2GO $9.95 for a Wisconsin monthly pass (which gets you these two and the two versus Minnesota next week, so it's $10 well spent). Saturday's game audio will be available free here.
Sunday's game audio will be available free here.

It doesn't get bigger than number one hosting number two for two sold-out games. The two teams split their series in Duluth earlier in the year, though the Badgers were without goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens. This time, UMD will be without a star, as Lara Stalder is off at pre-Olympic qualifiers for Team Switzerland.

Wisconsin is averaging almost a goal more per game than the Bulldogs and is still allowing less than a goal against on defense.

While Stalder, Ashleigh Brykaliuk, and Catherine McGovern have been on fire on UMD's top line, things thin out for the Bulldogs after that. Stalder alone is responsible for nearly 20% of the Bulldogs total points and their line is responsible for 48% of UMD's points.

As goals will likely be hard to come by against both the Badgers' stingy defense and Desbiens's excellent play, Stalder's absence is going to loom large.

(10) Princeton at (4) Clarkson

(9) Quinnipiac at (3) St. Lawrence

(9) Quinnipiac at (4) Clarkson

(10) Princeton at (3) St. Lawrence

Saturday at 6:00 PM ET and Sunday at 3:00 PM ET

Watch: Games at St. Lawrence are available here for $8 each. Games at Clarkson are available here for free.

Four of the top five teams in the ECAC face off this weekend. St. Lawrence is just one point behind Clarkson for first place, while Princeton and Quinnipiac each have 24 points and sit in fourth place. Only one of them will receive home-ice advantage in the conference tournament.

St. Lawrence and Clarkson won their previous meetings with Quinnipiac and Princeton. Both the Saints and Golden Knights are averaging about 3.50 goals a game in offense. Quinnipiac will be looking to take advantage of extra attacker situations and they'll all be counting on their top goaltenders.

North Dakota at (5) Minnesota

Friday at 7:00 PM CT and Saturday at 4:00 PM CT

Watch: Paid stream is available [through BTN2GO].(http://www.btn2go.com/game/n-dakota-at-minnesota-on-02102017)

The two teams tied up in Grand Forks earlier in the year. This is as physical a rivalry game you'll see all season. No matter how up or down either squad is, they'll be sure to bring it for this game when pride is on the line.

Minnesota has a one-point lead on Minnesota-Duluth for second place, so every point matters. They're also looking to keep up their five-game winning streak and earn back some notice in the eyes of poll voters.

Also worth a look:

  • Northeastern at (6) Boston College -- Friday at 2:00 PM ET (Free stream via BCEagles.tv)

Stick Taps and Snark

↑Boston University's Maddie Elia -- Maddie Elia scored her 100th career point in the Beanpot consolation game.

↓Top squads faltering -- Clarkson tied Harvard, BC tied Connecticut, and Princeton lost to Yale.

↑Minnesota-Duluth's Lara Stalder and Princeton's Steph Neatby -- Stalder was awarded the inaugural Women’s Hockey Commissioners’ Association National Division I Player of the Month for January, after producing an NCAA-best 2.67 points-per-game and +16 rating. Neatby received the Rookie of the Month Award.

↑Televised games -- Big Ten Network signed a four-year contract to air the women's Frozen Four. In 2017, it will be just the championship game, and in 2018, 2019 and 2020, it will be the full tournament.

↑Wisconsin -- UW became the 10th program in NCAA Division I women's hockey history to reach the 500-victory plateau last Friday.

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