NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 25 [PLAYOFFS]
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NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 25 [PLAYOFFS]

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 25 [PLAYOFFS] by Nicole Haase

It's the playoffs! By Sunday evening, all the conference tournaments will be concluded and we'll know which eight teams get berths into the NCAA tournament. The selection show will be at 9:00 PM Eastern on

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.

Mercyhurst at (9) Robert Morris for the CHA tournament title

Saturday at 4:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream avaialble via the CHA.

RMU cruised through their semi-final while Mercyhurst needed overtime to eke out a win over Syracuse. They're going to be a bit gassed when they face the Colonials for all the marbles. The winner of this game gets an auto-bid to the NCAA Tournament. The loser's season is over.

The two teams split their season series, each winning two games. The Colonials have a bit more firepower, but Mercyhurst might have more depth. You can guarantee it will be a fight to the finish and a heck of a game.

Robert Morris won last year's tournament, but Mercyhurst won it two years ago.

(7) Minnesota at (5) Ohio State

Saturday at 5:00 PM Central

Watch: Free stream avaialble on

Bemidji State at (1) Wisconsin

Saturday at 2:00 PM Central.

Watch: Free stream avaialble on

There aren't a lot of scenarios in which Minnesota doesn't make the NCAA tournament with an at-large bid, but the Gophers would certainly love to control their own destiny. Rankings say they're the visitor, but they're playing at home in Ridder Arena. Of course, Minnesota has actually been significantly better on the road than at home this season, so who knows if that will be a bonus for them.

These two met very early in the season in Minneapolis and both teams have improved since then. The Buckeyes won three of their four meetings this season and the fourth game was a tie. It would seem OSU has the advantage, but Minnesota definitely has the experience.

Bemidji State upset Minnesota-Duluth in the opening round and they're a squad that has given every top team in the WCHA some difficulty this year. They have ties with Wisconsin and Ohio State; they beat Minnesota; and they took both the Gophers and Badgers to overtime before losing. They really seem to rise to the occasion and I don't expect this weekend to be much different.

The Badgers had last weekend off as their regular-season championship earned them a first-round bye. Earlier in the year, it was unclear if that would actually be a prize, but Wisconsin was rather banged up as the season wound down and that extra week of rest might be exactly what they needed for the final run to the Frozen Four. They need to not come out flat in the opening period for this game.

(8) St. Lawrence at (2) Clarkson

Saturday at 4:00 PM Eastern

Watch: All ECAC tournament games will stream live on ESPN3.

(6) Cornell at (4) Colgate

Saturday at 4:00 PM Eastern

Watch: All ECAC tournament games will stream live on ESPN3.

Clarkson won all four regular season games against St. Lawrence, but the Saints seemed to gain some momentum as the season wound down. They were 6-1-1 over their last eight games. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights have just one loss dating back to mid-November. Both teams lost to opponents they probably should have beaten, but usually that serves as a good wake-up call as the playoffs loom.

It will likely be a tight game, but Clarkson has the edge in nearly every category against St. Lawrence.

Cornell lost one of their first-round games to Princeton in overtime, but other than that, have been undefeated dating back to the end of January. Other than a loss to Clarkson, Colgate hasn't dropped a game since they were taken down by Cornell back on December 1st. Like Minnesota, Cornell is almost assuredly in the NCAA tournament, but would prefer to just outright win their bid to make sure.

Connecticut at (3) Boston College

Saturday at 1:30 PM Eastern

Northeastern at (10) Maine

Saturday at 4:30 PM Eastern

Watch: The second semifinal will air live on NESNplus, while the first semifinal game will air on NESNplus on a tape delay at 10:00 PM Eastern. The Championship game will air on NESNplus live at 1:30 PM Eastern.

Connecticut is the upstart of Hockey East right now. They didn't win their first conference game until January 13, but since then have gone 8-4-2 and played their way into seventh place. They upset #10 Providence in the first round of the tournament and now face Boston College. The Huskies earned two ties against BC in the regular season.

The Eagles have only gotten stronger, but UConn has nothing to lose and as they said last week, have been playing with their backs to the wall for weeks already. They can be a bit reckless and it will be interesting to see if they can slow down Boston College.

Maine is one of the surprise teams of Hockey East this season. The Black Bears weren't on many radars this year, but they finished third in the conference and have been flirting with the bottom of the national polls all season -- something they'd never done before in program history.

Northeastern is the only team have defeated both Wisconsin and Boston College, but the rest of their year was a bit streaky. Maine won both the regular season meetings between the two teams.

Stick Taps and Snark

↑Patty Kazmaier Top Three -- BU's Victoria Bach, Clarkson's Loren Gabel, and BC's Daryl Watts were named Patty Kazmaier Top Three finalists this week.

↓Providence and Minnesota-Duluth -- They were the only higher seeded teams to be upset in the first round of the conference tournaments, ending both of their seasons.

↑Boston College's Daryl Watts -- Watts became the second freshman (and first since BC's Kelli Stack in 2006-07) to be Hockey East's Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the same season.

↑Women's hockey freely available and on TV -- Aside from the CHA championship, every game this weekend is available on TV or a free stream. We've come a long way on that in recent years and it's nice to see. Please watch. The better these do numbers-wise, the more coverage we'll get in the future.

↑Connecticut -- Became the first 7th seed to advance to the Hockey East semifinals. No team ranked lower than 5th had ever done so.

↑Clarkson -- The Golden Knights took four of the six spots on the ECAC First Team All-League roster and swept the individual awards. Matt Desrosiers was named Coach of the Year; Savannah Harmon was named Best Defense; Loren Gabel won Best Forward and Player of the Year; Elizabeth Giguere won Rookie of the Year; and Shea Tiley was named Goaltender of the Year.

(Photo: UConn/Twitter)