October 29, 2021

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 6



5 min readby Nicole Haase



NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 6

(9) Cornell at (10) Harvard
(5) Colgate at (10) Harvard

Friday at 5:00 PM
Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid streams available on ESPN+. Friday. Saturday.

Harvard opened their season with two wins last weekend and kick off their Ivy League schedule by hosting Cornell on Friday. The Big Red started their season with a series split against Mercyhurst. Colgate is coming off a sweep at the hands of Minnesota.

The Crimson have an older, experienced roster that's anchored by goalie Lindsay Reed on defense and powered by Becca Gilmore and Dominique Petrie on offense. Freshman Ellie Bayard scored two goals in the opening weekend and first-year defender Mia Biotti added two assists.

On paper, I believe in the Crimson this year, but I feel like they've had a ton of potential that hasn't been realized in recent seasons, so I'm going to need to see more from them before I totally buy in. This weekend is a tough test for them. I'd like to see at least one win from them here to believe they're going to be a contender.

On Friday, they'll match up with Cornell, who bring their own star goalie in Lindsay Browning. The Big Red graduated a number of talented players in the past two years and will need to see their younger players step up. It's a small sample size, obviously, but it bodes well that sophomores Lily Delianedis and Claudia Yu, along with freshman Rory Guilday, lead the team in points.

Sophomore Ashley Messier was meant to be a highly touted rookie, but thanks to COVID-19 interruptions, she is now a well-regarded sophomore looking to get back on the ice and show off. Senior Gills Frechette brings maturity and experience to the offense.

On Saturday, the Crimson face Colgate, who have played 10 games already. The Raiders also played last season and return pretty much their whole roster. In terms of familiarity and on-ice experience, they're eons ahead of Harvard and they'll try to use that to their advantage.

The second half of Colgate's home and home with Minnesota was much closer for the Raiders. Despite the two losses, they have to feel great about the improvement they showed. Those were their first two losses of the season and they have yet to give up a power play goal. They lead the country in scoring offense, averaging more than 5.40 goals per game, and their top line of Kalty Kaltounkova, Dara Grieg, and Danielle Serdachny are all among the top ten scorers in the country.

(4) Boston College vs (6) Northeastern (home and home)

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

Watch: Free stream available on CollegeSportsLive.

Boston College are 6-0 to start the year. The first five wins were by a one-goal margin before the broke out for a 5-2 win over Maine on Saturday. Northeastern rebounded from losses to Providence and Boston University with three straight wins.

The Eagles are being led by Hannah Bilka and have gotten a great contribution from rookie Abby Newhook, who's second on the team in scoring with four goals and two assists.

I've worried about the close margins in their early games, but there's also something to be said for pulling out the win in tight games. They've both come from behind and held off late pushes from opponents. Surviving being tested and resiliency will serve them well as the season wears on.

Northeastern has not had the start the the season anyone expected. They're missing the injured Alina Müller, but the rest of the lineup is incredibly capable of scoring. Freshman Skylar Irving already has two goals and two assists to start the season. Aerin Frankel has started five of the Huskies' gams so far, giving up just four goals.

These two are rivals no matter their records, but BC is looking for a marquee win to prove they belong among the top teams in the country and Northeastern needs to show poll voters their earlier losses were bumps in the road. This should be a great series played at an extremely high level.

(3) Minnesota at Bemidji State

Friday at 3:00 PM and Saturday at 2:00 PM Central

Watch: Paid stream available via BTN+.

The Gophers swept Colgate last weekend while Bemidji took a win and a tie from Clarkson.

Bemidji is just 2-3-1 on the season, but proved last weekend that they are better than their record and can still stymie teams on defense and take advantage of opportunities on offense. They aren't as much of an offensive threat as they've been in years' past, but as they settle into the season, more players are getting comfortable in their roles and putting more shots on net.

Minnesota opened the season losing three of four against Ohio State and UMD, but have bounced back with four straight wins. Fourteen different Gophers have tallied points already this season, lead by Taylor Heise and Abigail Boreen.

The Beavers are known to frustrate and shut down otherwise strong teams and this weekend could be a bit of a trap for the Gophers. When BSU gets a great performance from their goaltenders and clogs up the middle of the ice, they make it very hard to score. I expect Minnesota to control possession, but it will depend on whether they can stay patient and find lanes to the net.

Also worth a look:

  • Penn State at Mercyhurst– Friday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 2:00 PM Eastern
  • Princeton at Yale – Friday at 6:00 PM Eastern
  • Clarkson at RPI – Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Stick Taps and Snark

Penn State's Natalie Heising – A goal and an assist in Sunday's win over Brown gave Heising 105 points in 131 games played, setting a new Nittany Lions record for career points.

Colgate, Providence – The Raiders dropped to fifth in the rankings and the Friars fell out of the top-ten after weekend losses.

RPI – The Engineers are on a four-game winning streak, have already scored more goals than they did in 2018-19 (the last time they took the ice) and received votes in the national poll for the first time since 2009.

Minnesota's penalty kill – The Gophers have allowed eight power play goals on 26 opportunities for a 69.23% penalty kill percentage – fourth worst in the country. They gave up seven total PP goals in 2019-20. The program's worst season PK was in 2015-16, when they ended with a 83.7% kill (14 goals given up in 86 attempts).

Equity in college sports – Though none of this is new or groundbreaking information to fans of women's sports, the NCAA External Gender Equity Review Phase II report had case studies of a number or sports, including men's and women's collegiate hockey. Read Gabs Fundaro's thoughts here and Nicole's here.

(Photo: RPI Women's Hockey/Twitter)



Filed under: NCAA; minnesota; harvard; Cornell; colgate; Boston college; northeastern; bemidji state; Natalie Heising; ice hockey

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