(7) Providence vs. (4) Northeastern

Friday at 4:30 PM and Saturday at 12:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream available on ESPN+.

The Huskies are coming off a 3-2 OT over Maine last weekend. Providence had a weekend sweep of Merrimack. These two teams played on January 12 and Northeastern took an easy and surprising 4-0 win.

Providence has been an upstart team this season, with an early sweep of Boston College and a 9-2-1 record thus far. They'll be looking to respond to their earlier decisive loss and prove they deserve to be ranked atop Hockey East. Sara Hjalmarsson has taken on a bigger role on offense and is leading the team with 14 points. But they'll need to be better on defense if they're going to have a chance against Northeastern, who bring speed and great puck-handling. One advantage they have is Sandra Arbsteiter's size in goal. The 5'11" goalie forces shooters to reconsider angles. Unfortunately for the Friars, the Huskies have some of the best and most talented shooters in the country.

Northeastern dominated Providence, but was more sloppy against Maine this week. If they play the kind of defense they did in that game, Providence will be able to expose it. The Huskies have had an inconsistent schedule this season and that's showing in some of their game play. This is a talented team with even more potential and they have to find a way to be solid and steady over these last two months, even if they can't get on the ice as often as they're used to.

Mercyhurst at (9) Penn State

Saturday at 6:00 PM Eastern and Sunday at 2:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Both games available on a paid stream via BTN+.

Penn State has been nationally ranked for the past two weeks for the first time in their program's history. Their games last weekend were postponed, but they swept Robert Morris the week before. Mercyhurst has just six games under their belt and they skated to a loss and a tie against Robert Morris last weekend.

Mercyhurst has dominated the lifetime series between these two teams 4-20-9, but looking at how they've played against their common opponents, Penn State is the favorite this weekend. Freshman Kiara Zanon has been immediately impactful for the Nittany Lions. She leads the team with four goals and seven assists. Overall, the PSU offense has been impressive. Their average offensive output per game is up by more than a goal compared to last season.

The Lakers also have a freshman leading their scoring, with Sara Boucher tallying four goals and two assists so far this season. They're still finding their footing a bit on defense and in the net, and Penn State won't allow them to make a lot of adjustments.

(10) Clarkson @ Quinnipiac

Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 PM Central

Watch: Paid stream available via ESPN+.

Clarkson is coming off a convincing 8-1 win over St. Lawrence on Wednesday while the Bobcats set a number of program records over a weekend sweep of LIU.

This series should show us which team sits in the second spot in the ECAC. Colgate has shown they're a step ahead of these two, though Clarkson has gotten a win and a tie off the Raiders.

Quinnipiac is a younger team that is building while Clarkson has a much more experienced roster. Most notably, the Bobcats have played three different goalies in net over their six games as they look for a starter to emerge. Whoever gets the start will be facing last year's Patty Kazmaier winner in Elizabeth Giguere, who can place the puck at will. In Quinnipiac's favor is that they are historically one of the best defenses in the country. They'll try to limit Clarkson's access to the goal regardless of who's in it. The Bobcats do a great job of forcing teams to take shots from the perimeter and using their bodies to prevent players from getting to the net or taking dangerous shots.

Clarkson has struggled a bit to put all their individual pieces together. They've played Colgate six times, who have been especially frustrating to play against in terms of setting up in the offensive zone. The Golden Knights haven't been able to gel and a huge part of that has been Colgate's frustrating play.

Also worth a look:

  • Maine at Boston University – Saturday at 6:30 PM and Sunday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Stick Taps and Snark

Minnesota State's Jamie Nelson – The rookie leads the country with 16 points on eight goals and eight assists. Her 1.6 points per game is good for third in the country.

Minnesota – The Gophers were swept by Wisconsin last weekend and the Badgers replaced them as the number one team in the country.

Ohio State – The Buckeyes are 21-for-21 on the kill and are the only team in the country that haven't allowed a power play goal so far this season. They also won their first game in Duluth in five years.

Clarkson – The Golden Knights dropped to the number 10 spot in the rankings after two losses to Colgate.

Lacey Eden – The transfer slotted comfortably into the lineup with Wisconsin this weekend against Minnesota. She tied for the team lead in shots each game and scored her first goal on Saturday.

Penn State – The Nittany Lions moved up a spot in the polls after earning their first-ever national ranking two week ago.

(Photo: Providence Women's Hockey Twitter)

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