NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 8
- 4 min read

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 8

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 8 by Nicole Haase

I started writing this on Monday and half the games I picked out to feature were cancelled or postponed. So, that's kind of where we're at with NCAA hockey right now.

(9) Clarkson at (5) Colgate

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

Watch: Paid stream available on ESPN+.

The ECAC had just three teams playing before the new year and New York state had limited the amount these teams could travel, so they've all been piecing together a schedule as best the can.

In a season that is more chaos than consistent, Colgate has been incredibly steady. The started with a sweep of Syracuse and moved into a four game stretch with Clarkson where they went 2-1-1. They followed with two wins over Quinnipiac and head into the second half looking solid and prepared.

The Raiders had the advantage of returning almost their entire roster from last year, making it easier to find their footing with limited time on the ice.

Clarkson is coming off a season riddled by injuries that hampered their ability to reach their full potential. They have those players back and of course still have Elizabeth Giguere, meaning they are capable of playing with any team in the country. The Golden Knights are still looking to find their equilibrium in a way the Raiders didn't need to, but with more time on the ice since November, this should be an even closer series.

(1) Minnesota at (2) Wisconsin

Friday and Saturday at 2:00 PM Central

Watch: Friday's game available on a paid stream via BTN+. Saturday's game televised on Fox Sports Wisconsin/Fox Sports North.

I said on Twitter to start the week that at this point I think Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio State are fairly interchangeable - meaning all three teams are about even. The only two who haven't played each other yet are the Badgers and Gophers. Seeing how these two match up should help get a slightly clearer picture of how to rank these three teams against each other.

This series will mark the 11th and 12th-consecutive Border Battle meetings that either Wisconsin or Minnesota has been ranked No. 1 in the country. The Badgers have been the top team in the country since the first poll of the season, but the Gophers took over the number one ranking this week after Wisconsin lost in overtime to Ohio State.

The Gophers looked the strongest they have all season in three wins over St. Cloud State last week. More time on the ice showed in their play and it's clear some of their younger players are finding their footing as the season progresses.

Wisconsin announced the addition of Lacey Eden to their roster, a transfer from Princeton. The Minnesota native played prep and internationally with a number of players on the UW roster, which should help her slot in quickly. The Badgers struggled with sloppy passes, too many icing calls and not quite being in sync last weekend as the Buckeyes pressured them. They'll need to play cleaner this weekend. They're still thin on defense, though the blue liners played well against OSU. Minnesota has more dangerous scorers, though, and the Badgers have to find a way to give up fewer turnovers.

(3) Ohio State @ (6) Minnesota Duluth

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

Watch: Paid streams available via FloHockey.

The Buckeyes are playing some of the best hockey in the country and have cemented themselves as on par with teams like Wisconsin, Minnesota and Northeastern. They executed amazingly against the Badgers last weekend. If there's one flaw in their game right now, it's finishing. They have been consistently out-shooting opponents and holding possession, but they've not done a stellar job of using those advantages to put an opponent away. Some of that comes down to facing great goaltenders, but they also have to be a bit better in shot selection.

Once Ohio State is able to fine tune and hone in on a way to get in on the net a bit more, they're going to be incredibly hard to beat. Their defense, which I thought could be a place they needed to grow this year, has been shutdown. Now they need to find that last bit of killer instinct to really finish off opponents.

Minnesota Duluth hasn't played a game since December 5. They are facing an incredibly tough task to come back after a long break and with players having battled illness. They'll be counting on Emma Soderberg, who has done an incredibly good job stepping into the starting goaltender role after the graduation of Maddie Rooney. Before their break, Naomi Rogge was showing she had returned to the ice in fine form after missing last season to injury. There are a lot of great pieces on their roster that have shown a lot of potential and I hope we get to see more of them here in the second half.

Also worth a look:

  • Mercyhurst vs. Robert Morris – Friday at 4:00 PM and Saturday at 2:00 PM Eastern
  • Maine at (4) Northeastern – Sunday at 2:00 PM Eastern

Stick Taps and Snark

Minnesota's Taylor Heise – The junior forward recorded her 50th career helper in the Gophers 4-0 win over St. Cloud State on Sunday. She had a stellar weekend on the ice - a +6 rating, 5 points, 4 goals, 2 game-winning goals and 1 hat trick

Wisconsin – The Badgers dropped out of the top spot in the polls for the first time this season.

Penn State – The Nittany Lions received their first ever national ranking this week, showing up at #10 in the polls.

Bemidji State – The Beavers suffered their first weekend sweep at the hands of Minnesota State since 2008.

Mercyhurst and Ohio State Penalty Kill – The Lakers are 21-for-21 and Ohio State are 15-for-15 on the kill, the only two teams in the country that haven't allowed a power play goal so far this season.

Transfers – Former Providence player Maureen Murphy was finally allowed to complete her transfer to Northeastern and former Princeton player Lacey Eden announced she'd be joining Wisconsin this week.

(Photo: Ohio State Women's Hockey Twitter)