NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 22
- 4 min read

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 22

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 22 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.

(6) Ohio State at (2) Wisconsin

Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 PM Central

Watch: Paid stream available on BTN+ or FloHockey.

Both teams had disappointing showings last weekend and will be looking to rebound. In the final weekend league play last year, Ohio State kept the Badgers from winning the WCHA regular season title and a good showing this weekend would go a long way to making that happen again.

Wisconsin is in a much less precarious situation than the Buckeyes with four games to play. The Badgers have a two point lead on Minnesota, who are idle this week. Ohio State sits in third, but they are just a single point ahead of Minnesota Duluth. I'm not sure where they end up in the WCHA matters much, but they are fighting to hold on to an NCAA tournament bid.

The Badgers swept Ohio State in Columbus earlier in the year. But they've played the last two weekends without goalie Kristen Campbell and we won't know until game time whether or not she'll be healthy enough to return. Breanna Blesi played well for Wisconsin two weeks ago, but didn't have the best showing on Saturday in Mankato.

Of course, she wasn't helped by a defense that has struggled this season and the fact that the Badgers could only score one goal. Wisconsin has to put that loss behind them and not get in their own heads about the number of missed opportunities. Ohio State can't be happy with losing both games to Minnesota Duluth last weekend, either. They'll be looking to get back on track, gain momentum and gain a quality win or two.

On Sunday, the teams take part in Wisconsin's semi-annual Fill the Bowl in the Kohl Center. Wisconsin says they've sold more than 12,000 tickets, but they're hoping to sell out and have more than 15,000 fans there. It will be loud and a very different environment for both teams, but more importantly, they'll be playing on a sheet of ice that's slightly bigger than LaBahn and significantly wider than at OSU. The wider ice can be a boon or a burden, so it'll be interesting to see how both teams handle it. The more open space could be a problem for Wisconsin blue line. The Badgers have been very good in transition and it's one of the ways they were able to beat the Buckeyes earlier this season. Having even more room in the neutral zone could play a crucial part in the outcome.

(5) Princeton at (6) Clarkson

Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream available via ESPN+.

Similar to Ohio State, Clarkson is trying to keep a hold on a spot in the NCAA tournament. At the moment, they're in seventh in RPI rankings, with Minnesota Duluth just a hair's breadth behind. One upset in a conference tournament would knock them out, so they're hoping to gain some security in their spot. They're also playing for position in the ECAC. Currently third behind Cornell and Princeton, they only have a single point on Harvard. The ECAC tournament will be one of the most competitive and the difference between second and fourth could mean the difference between an early exit and winning it all.

When these two met early in the year, Princeton won 2-1 and outshot the Golden Knights 47-21. Clarkson didn't score until the third period and they'll be looking to come out much quicker and stronger this game. Sarah Fillier really seemed to dominate for the Tigers, firing off seven shots over the first two periods, two of which turned into goals. She was a difference-maker for Princeton and Clarkson has to find a way to keep her in check if they're going to have a chance.

The Golden Knights have a very good defense that was able to keep Princeton off the boards even though they were holding the zone, peppering the net and controlling play. Clarkson needs to find a way to clear it out more often and give Elizabeth Giguere chances to jump the play and take off in the other direction.

Robert Morris at Mercyhurst

Friday at 3:00 PM and Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream available via StretchInternet.

The CHA plays one more week of regular season games than the other conferences because they play their conference tournament in a single week. Robert Morris currently has a one point lead on Mercyhurst in the standings and Syracuse stands two points behind the Lakers, making it a very tight race.

Syracuse has an easier weekend and could gain a lot of ground, especially since the mostly likely outcome is that RMU and Mercyhurst will split this weekend. They're two very evenly matched teams on both offense and defense. Both teams have a couple of very talented forwards that can make a huge difference in a game and will require their opponent to try to keep in check. Jaycee Gebhard is wrapping up a stellar career with the Colonials while Emma Nuutinen has made herself at home with the Lakers since having to leave UND.

There's a lot on the line in these games and both teams have the ability to sweep the other. If either one does dominate, they'll be all but locking up a regular season title.

Also worth a look:

  • (10) Quinnipiac at St. Lawrence – Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern
  • (8) Minnesota Duluth at Minnesota State – Friday at 7:00 PM and Saturday at 3:00 PM Central
  • (9) Boston University vs New Hampshire– Saturday at 2:00 PM and Sunday at 2:30 PM Eastern

Stick Taps and Snark

100 points milestone Cornell's Jaime Bourbonnais and Maddie Mills and Clarkson's Ella Shelton all scored their 100th career point last weekend.

Wisconsin – The Badgers dropped out of the top spot in the polls after losing to Minnesota State last Saturday.

Sacred Heart – Clinched their first-ever NEWHA regular season title.

RPI – The Engineers still remain winless on the season.

Penn State's Natalie Heising – The junior moved into second place in career goal scoring with 43. She's 19 away from taking over the top spot in program history.

Cornell – The Big Red sit atop the national polls for the first time since 2010.

(Photo: Ohio State Women's Hockey Twitter)