The National Women's Hockey League continues its offseason with numerous player signings, its first international draft and several front office moves. In case you've missed anything over the last few weeks, let's take a look at what's happened in the league.
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 of the previous week.
There's a small slate of games this week and then women's hockey will go into winter hiatus for exams and the holidays. A few teams will play the first week in January, but the full slate of games -- and this column -- will return on January 8. Check back for some women's college hockey features in the meantime.
Here are the games to watch this weekend:
(1) Wisconsin at (9) North Dakota
Friday, 7 PM CT; Saturday, 4 PM CT
Our only meeting of two ranked teams this weekend.
Wisconsin silenced a lot of doubters and proved themselves to be legit last weekend when they swept Minnesota.
Badger coach Mark Johnson preaches to his team about preparing for each game exactly the same way -- there are no lesser or greater opponents. It's unlikely the Badgers will experience a let-down as they head to Grand Forks, but it's still possible Wisconsin could have a bit of a hangover after the excitement of this past weekend.
The Grand Forks trip is the Badgers' longest road trip of the season.
North Dakota has been unable to put together a complete series this season; they tend to shine in one game but fail to carry it through the weekend. The newly-anointed Fighting Hawks will have to bring their A-game against Wisconsin if they hope to end the Badgers' perfect season.
It'll be a treat for viewers to watch two of the better goalies in the country over the past few seasons. Shelby Amsley-Benzie and Ann-Renée Desbiens can both be brilliant in the net and a privilege to watch.
NoDak will need to find some consistency and also a scoring threat. They've been able to maneuver a good game from one of their top three each time, but never all at the same time. Amy Menke, Meghan Dufault and Becca Kohler will all need to be skating - and shooting - well for the Fighting Hawks to upset Wisconsin.
Also worth a look:
- Minnesota-Duluth at Ohio State, Fri @ 7 PM CT, Sat @ 3 PM CT
- Robert Morris at Lindenwood Sat @ 2 PM CT, Sun @ 12 PM CT
Stick Taps and Snark
↑Wisconsin -- The Badgers shook the monkey off their back, beating Minnesota for the first time in four years and sweeping them for the first time since 2009.
↓Momentum -- As the league takes a break for finals and the holidays, all teams will look to regroup and either keep their team on the same path despite the pause or take the time to find a new groove.
↑Boston College milestones -- Coach Katie King Crowley recorded her 200th win and Haley Skarupa became the third Eagle to notch 200 career points in the team's win over Syracuse Thursday night.
↓Union -- Still the lone winless team left. They'll have to wait until 2016
↑BC's Alex Carpenter and Northeastern's Kendall Coyne -- The two have both broken through to topple the Hockey East career scoring record. Now we have the pleasure of watching them duke it out for the rest of the season to see who'll end up setting the top mark. Carpenter was drafted first overall by the New York Riveters in the 2015 NWHL draft; Coyne went third overall to the Boston Pride.
↑Bemidji State's Britni Mowat -- With a win over North Dakota on Sunday, Mowat set the Bemidji State career victories record. She surpassed BSU great and fellow All-American Zuzana Tomcikova.
Filed under: college hockey; NCAA; wisconsin; north dakota; shelby amsley-benzie; alex carpenter; Kendall Coyne; Ann Renee Desbiens; katie king crowley; ice hockey
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