NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 2
- 4 min read

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 2

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 2 by Nicole Haase

I seriously considered writing a "What Not to Watch" and listing all the games that have been cancelled since 16 of 41 women's college hockey programs aren't playing this week; but here we are, still playing games in a season that probably shouldn't be happening.

(1) Wisconsin at (4) Ohio State

Friday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 2:30 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream available through BTN+.

This is a rematch of the last game played in women's college hockey before the shutdown happened back in March. Ohio State won their first-ever WCHA tournament championship with a 1-0 overtime win over Wisconsin thanks to a goal from Tatum Skaggs.

Ohio State split their series with Minnesota last weekend. The Buckeyes well out-shot the Gophers in their 4-0 loss, but could not seem to break through. They responded with a 2-1 win and are likely fairly happy with that outcome in their first games in eight months.

The four goals against were uncharacteristic for goalie Andrea Braendli and the OSU defense. While the Buckeyes return the bulk of their roster, one big missing piece is blueliner Jincy Dunne. There look to be some growing pains for Ohio State there as they work out what the defense looks like without the leader they've counted on for so long.

These will be the Badgers' first games of this season. They'll also be looking to answer questions about their defense. Coach Mark Johnson said he wasn't going to tell his team who was starting in net until Thursday. There are four netminders on the Wisconsin roster, but I believe the expectation is we'll see starts from Mercyhurst transfer Kennedy Blair and rookie Jane Gervais this weekend. They'll also be looking to Natalie Buchbinder and Grace Bowlby to step up and lead the blueliners after the graduation of Mekenzie Steffen.

Both teams have potent top lines, so this game may be won or lost on the play of their second and third liners.

(3) Minnesota at (6) Minnesota Duluth

Friday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 3:00 PM Central

Watch: Paid stream available through FloHockey.

Minnesota Duluth swept their series with Minnesota State last weekend and showed a lot of offensive depth, with nine different goal scorers and 16 different Bulldogs tallying points. Emma Soderberg was solid in net in her first two games as the starter after the graduation of Maddie Rooney.

UMD has the ability to grind teams down and the fact that there's little drop off between their lines means they bring a consistently deep attack that is difficult to match up with shift after shift.

The Gophers split their opening series with Ohio State and did so with an impressive 4-0 win despite being doubled up on shots. Grace Zumwinkle continues to be a stellar play-maker for Minnesota and Madeline Wethington adds really good depth for the Gophers from the blue line. She's a big, strong defender, but she's also strong on the puck and does a great job setting up the rest of the squad.

Bemidji State transfer Lauren Bench was solid in the net for Minnesota, posting a shutout while getting peppered in that first game. It's clear she and the defense are still learning each other, but the players in front of her were great with clearing rebounds and she handled the change of pace well. They won't get a reprieve when facing UMD, so these first two series will be a good indicator of how the Gopher defense will fare this year.

(9) Colgate vs (5) Clarkson (home and home)

Saturday at 4:00 PM and Monday at 5:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream available on ESPN+.

Colgate swept Syracuse last weekend, while these will be Clarkson's first games.

Clarkson had what for them is a down year last season as their roster was riddled with injuries all year long. They look to return back to top form and are led by 2020 Patty Kazmaier Award winner Elizabeth Giguere. The Golden Knights are one of just four ECAC teams that haven't cancelled the season, so filling out their schedule and finding a rhythm is going to be a challenge for them this season. They've already had their games next weekend with Quinnipiac cancelled and they will play Colgate again instead.

The Raiders came back from being down 2-0 midway through the third to earn an overtime win in their first game against Syracuse. There was some rust to knock off, but Colgate responded and played a solid game on Saturday to get the sweep. They bring back talented roster that will be tested with four games against the Golden Knights.

Also worth a look:

  • (7) Boston College vs. Providence (home and home) – Friday at 1:00 PM and Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern
  • Lindenwood at Penn State – Sunday and Monday at 2:00 PM Eastern

Stick Taps and Snark

Boston College freshman Gaby Roy – The rookie scored four goals in her collegiate debut to lead the Eagles to a 6-2 win over New Hampshire.

Playing games – As I mentioned up top, 16 programs have cancelled or paused their season thus far. Hockey East is playing just one series this weekend and it's not one that was originally on the schedule. I don't know what the breaking point is, but as Hockey Canada had to shut down their World Juniors bubble because of positive cases, I can't help but wonder how long this will last and if it even should.

Women's hockey on TV – For now it's on the East Coast only with NESN, but the hope is that more WCHA games will be televised in the new year.

Expensive streaming options – Though there were some hiccups today with the free stream by CBS while NESN was televising the BC/Providence game, Hockey East will be providing free streams of all their games. But the WCHA is having to use two different services and neither is inexpensive. ECAC teams will be using ESPN+, which is $5 per month. It would be nice if trying to watch the women's game wasn't so difficult and costly.