February 26, 2021

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 14



4 min readby Nicole Haase



NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 14

This is the final week of regular season play for some conferences and the start of conference tournaments for others.

(1) Wisconsin at (7) Minnesota Duluth

Friday at 2:00 PM and Saturday at 4:30 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream available on FloHockey.com

There's a lot riding on this series in Duluth. If Wisconsin wins at least one game, they clinch the WCHA regular season title. If Duluth sweeps, they get the title. The outcome of the weekend will also determine the Bulldogs' seeding for the WCHA Tournament. They could end up with any of the four seeds based on how many points they win in the series.

A UMD sweep gives them the top seed. Winning one game would give them the second spot. Earning two points on the weekend would put them in the third slot and a Badger sweep gives Minnesota Duluth the fourth seed.

The Bulldogs are an NCAA tournament bubble team. Due to WCHA scheduling and missing some games due to COVID shutdowns, their strength of schedule isn't what it would normally be. They could really use a marquee win and beating the top team in the country the final weekend of the regular season will certainly stick in the committee's mind.

Lastly, UMD coach Maura Crowell is two wins away from 100 for her career.

The Bulldogs have everything to gain and literally nothing to lose in WCHA positioning. They also know they're capable of pushing the Badgers. In the final game on last season, Wisconsin had to score two miraculous goals in the final minute of regulation to salvage a 5-5 tie.

These should be two of the most interesting and entertaining games of the season.

St. Lawrence vs. (9) Clarkson

Friday at 5:00 PM, Sunday at 1:00 PM, and Monday at 7:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream available via ESPN+.

These two are playing an unusual three-game set to close out their regular season. Clarkson is another team who is on the bubble for the NCAA tournament. They need to finish strong. Though the Golden Knights dominated their only other meeting this year 8-1, St. Lawrence has shown improvement and they split a series with Colgate last weekend.

It's unfortunate for Clarkson that at the exact time they needed to be reminding the committee how good they are, they had a three-week gap in their schedule as their school shut down due to COVID protocol. They last took the ice on February 7, making these three games even more crucial in making their case for an NCAA bid.

With just eight games played this season, St. Lawrence has justifiably struggled to find their footing and get up to the level they'd like to be at. They've had strong play from Shailynn Snow, Anna Segedi, and Julia Gosling up front, and Lucy Morgan has been strong in net despite having to average 30 saves a game.

Hockey East Tournament Quarterfinals - Sunday - all times Eastern

  • Boston University at (10) Providence at 1:00 PM
  • Maine at Vermont at 2:00 PM
  • Connecticut at (7) Boston College at 4:30 PM
  • New Hampshire at (2) Northeastern at 7:00 PM

Watch: Free streams available via College Sports Live. UConn/BC and UNH/NU will both be televised on NESN.

Hockey East has stretched out their conference tournament over the course of about 10 days. New Hampshire defeated Holy Cross in the play-in game and now gets the dubious honor of playing Northeastern in the quarterfinals.

That being said, none of these matchups are clear cut for any of the higher seeds. Boston University is probably the likeliest lower seed to pull an upset, but neither BC nor Northeastern can rest easy. UNH tied the Huskies earlier in the year, one of just two blemishes on their record. The Eagles swept UConn in the regular season and BC is playing for their life, but those Huskies have pulled out some magic in the postseason before.

Boston College has improved mightily as the season has progressed and Abbey Levy was particularly strong in goal for them against BU last week, but they still aren't assured an NCAA bid. One place the Eagles have struggled in recent years is winning games they're "supposed to" win. Usually we'd be seeing best-of-three series at this point in the conference tournament, but due to the COVID-abbreviated schedule, it's down to one and done and I'm not sure that favors BC. They have to stay focused and build on the momentum of a strong win in the second game last weekend.

Also worth a look:

  • (5) Colgate at Quinnipiac – Friday at 5:00 PM and Saturday at 3:00 PM Central
  • (8) Penn State at Mercyhurst – Friday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 2:00 PM Eastern

Stick Taps and Snark

Patty Kazmaier Top Ten Finalists – Congratulations to Clarkson's Elizabeth Giguere and Caitrin Longergan; Minnesota's Grace Zumwinkle, Ohio State's Emma Maltais; Northeastern's Alina Mueller, Skylar Fontaine, and Aerin Frankel; Penn State's Kiara Zanon; and Wisconsin's Daryl Watts and Sophie Shirley.

Auto-bids – It was discovered this week that even though the NCAA will award a fifth conference – NEWHA – auto-bid status, they will still only be issuing four auto-bids each and they will go to the four teams with the highest Pairwise rankings.

Northeastern's Chloe Aurard – The junior notched her 100th career point on Saturday.

The National Championship will be televised – Thanks to a new contract with ESPN, the first semi-final at the women's Frozen Four will stream on ESPN3 and the second semi-final and the championship game will air on ESPNU.

(Photo: UMD Women's Hockey Twitter)



Filed under: NCAA; minnesota duluth; wisconsin; Boston college; northeastern; boston university; new hampshire; vermont; maine; connecticut; clarkson; st. lawrence; patty kazmaier

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