NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 25
- 5 min read

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

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 25 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 Sunday 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.

Both Hockey East semifinals and the championship game will be televised on NESNplus. The WCHA Championship game will be televised on Fox Sports North and Fox Sports Wisconsin Sunday at 2:00 PM Central.

(7) Clarkson vs. (6) Princeton

Saturday at 4:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream available on ESPN+.

Clarkson is the bubble team in that if anyone not ranked in the top 6 wins their conference tournament, the Golden Knights are out. Boston University getting knocked out early really helped them feel more secure. Of course, if they themselves win the ECAC tournament, they can just guarantee their position and not have to worry. That task might be easier than it initially looks because Princeton has never advanced past the conference semi-final. They are 0-for-4 in ECAC semifinal rounds, which is honestly a little shocking.

Clarkson may be at an advantage because they took down Colgate in two games, though they did need overtime in game one. Princeton needed nearly the equivalent of four games to defeat Quinnipiac, as they played into OT in game two and double OT in game three to get the series win. The Tigers basically ran with two lines throughout much of that final game, taxing their players even further. All that extra ice time adds up and I guess we'll learn a lot about how well Princeton recovered and their fitness when they hit the ice on Saturday. They can't be slow or sluggish against Clarkson or they'll be in an early hole it won't be easy to climb out of.

This game will be a matchup of some of the most dynamic and interesting forwards in the game, but where the Tigers may have the advantage is on defense. Their blueliners will have their hands full with Elizabeth Giguere and Gabrielle David, but they can't forget Michaela Pejzlová, who returned from injury last weekend and was a big force for the Golden Knights.

(5) Ohio State vs. (3) Minnesota

Saturday at 5:00 PM Central

Watch: Paid stream available on FloHockey.

Both these two teams will receive bids to the NCAA tournament, but where they end up in the standings is still up for debate. It doesn't appear that there's any way for the Buckeyes to earn their way into home ice, but their final position will play into where they might travel. The Gophers will host an NCAA game, but again, positioning will determine their opponent.

The two teams split their four game series this year, with each team winning and losing a game in each two-game weekend. It's overly simple, but the key for the Buckeyes is to find the back of the net. They scored four goals in each of their wins, but two goals or fewer in their losses. When they're clicking on all cylinders, they're dominant and they can control the game and play their style. When they let the Gophers have the puck too much, the game is much closer and the gap between the two teams shows a bit more.

Their first series was back in October and the second was in mid-January. What the Buckeyes have going for them is that their younger players have really started to come into their own as the season has progressed. Ohio State can reliably score from three lines right now, giving them depth and causing matchup issues for their opponent. It's not just about shutting down a couple of players anymore, and that makes them much more difficult to defend.

The other obvious but big key in this game is goaltending. Andrea Braendli can be absolutely shut down at times, but her performance is not always consistent. She shined against Wisconsin a few weeks ago, and if she can pick it up to that standard in the postseason, OSU will be a tough team to beat.

The same goes for Minnesota's Sydney Scobee. She's been stellar at times, but not always consistent and getting through this tournament will require a great performance in net. Whichever goalie really steps up her game will likely be a big factor in which team wins the tournament crown.

(8) Minnesota Duluth vs (2) Wisconsin

Saturday at 2:00 PM Central

Watch: Paid stream available on FloHockey.

One of the ridiculous quirks of the Pairwise this year is that if Wisconsin loses this game, they're pretty solidly guaranteed the second spot in the Pairwise. But if they win the semi-final, there are scenarios where they can drop to third.

Minnesota Duluth is playing for their lives. They have to win the tournament and get the auto-bid in order to reach the NCAA tournament. UMD is set to graduate a significant senior class that includes Maddie Rooney, Ryleigh Houston, and Sydney Brodt. They will not be going down without a major fight.

In the season series, Wisconsin won three games and the teams tied in their final meeting. But it took some heroics from the Badgers to earn the first win and the tie. The Bulldogs have shown they know how to score quickly against Wisconsin, putting in goals close together and taking leads in the first period. If the Badgers allow them to hang around, UMD has shown they can take advantage of the situation. For Minnesota Duluth, the longer the game is close, the better their chances of getting the upset.

Also worth a look:

  • Maine vs. (1) Northeastern – Saturday at 12:00 PM Eastern
  • CHA Championship game – Saturday at 4:00 PM Eastern
  • (10) Harvard vs. (1) Cornell – Saturday at 1:00 PM Eastern

Stick Taps and Snark

Patty Kazmaier Top-3 Finalists – Clarkson's Elizabeth Giguere, Northeastern's Alina Mueller, and Wisconsin's Abby Roque were named the top-3 finalists for the award.

Boston University – The Terriers, who looked like they'd receive an at-large NCAA bid, lost their Hockey East quarterfinal in two games to Maine, ending their season.

Conference award winners
CHA - Player of the Year Emma Nuutinen, Rookie of the Year Mae Batherson, Best Defender Lindsay Eastwood
ECAC - Best Forward and Player of the Year Elizabeth Giguere, Goalie of the Year Lindsey Browning, Best Defender Jaime Bourbonnais, Rookie of the Year Gabrielle David
Hockey East - Best Defender Skylar Fontaine, Player of the Year Alina Mueller, Rookie of the Year Hannah Bilka
WCHA - Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year Abby Roque, Defensive Player of the Year Jincy Dunne, Goaltender of the Year Sydney Scobee, Rookie of the Year Madeline Wethington

Having a single national award in women's DI hockey – As I wrote over at USCHO this week, it's time to add additional national awards. The Patty Kazmaier is not set up to recognize defenders or goalies and the oversight has to be reckoned with.

Connecticut's Natalie Snodgrass The junior became the fifth-ever Husky to record 100 career points, and she did it by scoring the game-winner that defeated Boston College and sent her team to the conference semi-final.

(Photo: Maine Women's Hockey Twitter)