NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 20
- 4 min read

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 20

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 20 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.

(7) Clarkson at (4) Cornell

Friday at 6:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream available on ESPN+.

There's a bit of a log jam in the ECAC, with four teams all vying for the 2-4 seeds in the conference tournament. Barring a major meltdown, Cornell has the top spot all but locked up. But the next four teams are all within a single point of each other and one of those teams won't receive home ice in the first round of the tournament.

At the moment, Clarkson is tied with Yale at 20 points, one point behind Princeton and Harvard. Clarkson has the added bonus of being in a precarious position nationally. They've received a bid to the past seven national championships, but could be in danger of losing out on an at-large bid. Of course, they could win the ECAC tournament and get an auto-bid, but if they don't, they're in a position to be easily knocked out if any team below them in the rankings pulls an upset to win their conference's tournament. Boston University is also not far behind them in RPI right now, so there are a number of ways they could fall out of the top eight and miss out.

That makes a win in this game all the more crucial. They need the conference points and they need the quality win bonus points that would come from upsetting Cornell. That being said, the Big Red still haven't lost a conference game this season and they've given up just eight goals in 14 ECAC games played. They are a shutdown team with a smothering defense and arguably the top goaltender in the country.

Clarkson has the offensive weapons to give Cornell problems, but they haven't always been able to play consistently this season. This is one of the marquee matchups of the final month of the season and could have a lot of implications both in the ECAC and in the national rankings.

(9) Minnesota Duluth at (2) Minnesota

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

Watch: Paid stream available via FloHockey and BTN+.

The Gophers have lost three of their last four games, dropping a game to Ohio State at home and getting swept by Wisconsin in Madison. When these two teams met back in November, the Gophers took a one-goal win and the teams tied, with UMD winning the extra conference point in 3-on-3 overtime.

The Gopher defense has struggled of late and it won't get any easier for them against the Bulldogs, particularly Gabbie Hughes. The sophomore has played the best hockey of her career against Minnesota. In November, she was a part of four of UMD's five goals. She has posted at least one point in each of her against Minnesota and has 13 points on six goals and seven assists those in eight games.

One key for Minnesota will be whether Olivia Knowles is able to suit up. She did not play in the Gophers' second game against Wisconsin, leaving them with just five defenders. It put strain on an already weak blue line corps and Minnesota will certainly have been coming up with alternative options should she be unavailable.

Minnesota is still in second place in the national polls, but their lead is slim and they're in danger of dropping down if they don't have a solid showing in this series. They have the comfort of playing at home and finally getting back on the ice at Ridder should help them settle in some.


(10) Harvard vs (3) Northeastern
Boston College vs (8) Boston University

Tuesday at 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Stream available via NESN+.

The 42nd iteration of the Women's Beanpot gets started on Tuesday, with the championship taking place a week later, on February 11.

Boston University is hosting this year and as such gets the later game. No offense to the Terriers, but the more intriguing matchup is happening in the earlier game with Harvard playing Northeastern. The Crimson started the new year strong, but have fallen into a 1-4-1 skid since then, with losses to Colgate, Cornell, Quinnipiac, and Clarkson. Despite the recent struggles, they are still tied for second place in the ECAC. Now they head into the Beanpot, which they haven't won since 2015. The Crimson lost last year's tournament in overtime to BU and are looking to return for another shot at the title.

In their way is Northeastern, who have all but been on cruise control this season. They have Aerin Frankel, who is also among the best goaltenders in the country, and a number of scoring threats led by Alina Mueller. There aren't a lot of apparent holes in their game and they haven't lost since they played Wisconsin the first week of December.

Boston College has been a bit all over the place this season and it seems like you never know what kind of game you're going to see from them when they hit the ice. Boston University have already won two of three games against the Eagles this season and the Terriers have really improved as the season has progressed.

Regardless of the rest of their games this season, these two are rivals and this is one of the biggest games they'll play all season. Relative talent and past results won't much make a difference here. I believe the Terriers have better goaltending and defense, which should make the difference for them, but they'll have to be on the lookout for fast-breaks from the Eagles.

Also worth a look:

  • (6) Princeton at Yale – Friday at 6:00 PM Eastern
  • Bemidji State at (5) Ohio State – Friday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 3:00 PM Central
  • Franklin Pierce at Sacred Heart– Friday at 4:00 PM and Saturday at 2:30 PM Eastern

Stick Taps and Snark

Hat tricks St. Lawrence freshman Julia Gosling, Northeastern sophomore Chloe Aurard, Cornell senior Kristin O'Neill, and Wisconsin senior Abby Roque all recorded hat tricks last weekend. As part of her hat trick, Roque also tallied her 50th career goal.

Minnesota – The Gophers were swept by Wisconsin and lost three of their last four – something that hasn't happened to them since January of 2018.

Robert Morris' Jaycee Gebhard – The senior had two goals and an assist against Lindenwood to set a new program record of 182 career points.

RPI – The Engineers remain winless.

Clarkson's Michaela Pejzlová - The senior notched her 100th career assist in the Golden Knights' win over Harvard last Saturday.

(Photo: Clarkson Women's Hockey Twitter)