NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 12
- 4 min read

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 12

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 12 by Nicole Haase

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.

(4) Cornell at (6) Princeton

Friday at 6:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Stream available on ESPN+.

It's hard to pick a favorite game of this weekend, but if I had to watch one, I'd pick this one. They've played once already this season, with Cornell taking a  3-1 win. The Big Red took their first loss of the season last weekend when they split with Ohio State, so I expect that they'll be particularly looking to bounce back.

Princeton might be a bit flashier on offense, but Cornell is just as dangerous up front. And where the Big Red excel is on defense - they've allowed just nine goals in 11 games played. The top lines match well with each other, so this might be a fight of depth and goaltenders.

The Tigers might find an advantage on the power play – Cornell averages more than 10 minutes of penalties per game and Princeton converts on more than 25% of their extra-attacker opportunities. They won't be looking to let Cornell win a third straight game against them dating back to last season. They also need to protect their lead in the conference standings. Cornell has played three fewer ECAC games and is just three points back. The Tigers need to extend their lead and create a cushion since Cornell looks like they won't be dropping many contests this season.

One thing to watch for is which goalie gets the nod for Princeton. Rachel McQuigge and Steph Neatby have split time. They have the same record, so it's not clear who will get the nod, though Neatby played in the game earlier in the season. She's got a good bit of size on McQuigge and that might be what gives the Tigers an advantage against Cornell's offense, who are averaging nearly four goals per game.

(8) Boston College vs (9) Boston University

Friday and Saturday at 3:00 PM Central

Watch: NESN+.

Boston College is hobbled with a number of what look to be minor injuries after their trip to Nashville and that could affect the outcome this weekend, but with BU having Jesse Compher back, this might be the closest these two teams have been in a while.

When they played a few weeks ago, it looked like BU was in control and cruising to a victory before the Eagles made a serious third-period push to come from behind. Both teams will be working to make sure that game doesn't repeat itself – the Terriers don't want a late-game letdown and Boston College doesn't want to be in that kind of hole heading into the final frame.

The Eagles are playing with a lot of confidence right now after holding their own in Nashville against Wisconsin and Minnesota. If Hannah Bilka is out for this series, they might start second-guessing things, but as of last Saturday evening, they were feeling themselves and playing really light and loose. It can be really easy to get in your own head about rivalry games like this, so for BC's sake, I hope the players have been able to maintain that attitude.

The loss to BC is Boston University’s only defeat in a month. They've won three straight since and are looking to get back on track now that they’re playing at full strength.

(10) Minnesota Duluth at (1) Wisconsin

Friday and Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Stream available on FloHockey or BTN+.

The Badgers are coming off a stellar weekend in Nashville where they were the only team to take two wins. They faced push back in both games, but did not give up the lead and came out on top.

Wisconsin is very good at home and they're not playing a lot of games in Madison this year, so the team is extra attuned to playing in front of their home crowd, especially since the season is sold out from here on out. Minnesota Duluth has not been very successful against Wisconsin at LaBahn.

The Bulldogs have the talent and ability to challenge and likely beat most anyone in the country, but they struggle with consistency and being able to close out tight games. Gabbie Hughes has been incredible for UMD in big games against Minnesota and the Bulldogs would like to see her carry that fire through to big games with Wisconsin.

While the top line for the Badgers has been very good, they've also started to see more production from their second, third and fourth lines. Daryl Watts, Abby Roque and Sophie Shirley have carried the team offensively, but it means nothing but good things for Wisconsin that if the top players are neutralized, other folks can step up into those leadership roles.

Minnesota Duluth needs a big game from Maddie Rooney in net and the defense will need to block shots if the Bulldogs are going to have a shot at taking a game or two this weekend.

Also worth a look:

  • Mercyhurst at Robert Morris – Friday at 7:00 PM and Saturday at 5:00 PM Eastern
  • Vermont at Maine – Friday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 2:00 PM Eastern
  • Colgate at (6) Princeton – Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Stick Taps and Snark

Minnesota State defense –  The Mavericks lead the country in blocked shots with 296 and feature three individual players in the top fifteen shot blockers in the nation.

Minnesota and Cornell –  Both teams dropped a spot in the rankings this week. Cornell split a series with Ohio State, losing their first game of the season. Minnesota tied Boston College and beat Harvard.

Robert Morris senior Jaycee Gebhard – She became the second player in program history to reach 100 assists in her career. She is three assists away from setting a new program career record.

RPI – The Engineers are the last team in the country without a win.

Wisconsin senior Abby Roque – The Badger associate captain became the eighth player in program history to reach 100 assists.

Photo credit: Princeton Women's Hockey Twitter.