NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 10
- 5 min read

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 10

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 10 by Nicole Haase

The holiday weekend is full of tournaments, plus many interesting non-conference matchups.

(4) Northeastern at (10) Princeton

Friday and Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.

The Tigers have two losses and a tie over their past four games and will be looking to get things back on track and prove they deserve to be in the ECAC and national conversation.

Northeastern has this series and a pair of games at home against Cornell before they head off to Switzerland to play in the World University Games.

The Huskies had some stumbles early on, but seem to have settled into a good rhythm, especially now that they have Alina Müller back from injury. Maureen Murphy has stepped up on offense. She's third in the country with 12 goals and her 22 points lead the team. Reigning Patty Kazmaier Award winner Aerin Frankel has a 0.92 goals against average and continues to be the solid presence from which the Huskies build their game.

Princeton has had to find ways to fill the roles of Sarah Fillier and Claire Thompson. Maggie Connors has seven goals through the Tigers' first eight games. The next four skaters on their leaderboard right now are a sophomore and three freshmen. This young team is trying to find itself and build an identity, which isn't easy to do without your top forward and team leader while playing some of the top teams in the country. I think they're still figuring themselves out and have acquitted themselves really well while they do. Goalie Rachel McQuigge was very impressive against Colgate on Friday. She gives her chance the team to win every time she's in net and that's a great confidence booster for the rest of her young team.

Boston College vs. (8) Colgate

Friday at 1:00 PM Central (Smashville Showcase)

Watch: The entire Smashville Showcase tournament is streaming on Twitch.

I'm excited this tournament seems to have a very accessible streaming option set up as there should be a number of great games in Nashville this weekend. The winner of this game will play the winner of Minnesota vs. Mercyhurst.

Boston College started their season on a six-game winning streak. They followed that with a four-game losing streak. They bounced back with two wins, but come into this tournament off a 5-4 back and forth loss to Boston University. When they score, they seem to score in bunches, but other than in their latest defeat, they've struggled to put more than two goals on the board in their losses. The defense has struggled. More often than not, the offense has been able to save the day, but BC has to get better at controlling the puck, keeping teams away from the net and getting in front of pucks.

Overall, their goals for and goals against are just .007% apart. The Eagles are balancing on a razor thing margin. They're about to face a team in Colgate that was averaging more than five goals a game earlier in the season. While they have come back down to Earth a bit, they're still averaging more than 4.5 goals per game. The Raiders are battling some injuries, but still bring a very potent offense that moves the puck well and is dangerous across multiple lines and from the blue line.

The Raiders just had a disappointing weekend where they tied Princeton and lost to Quinnipiac. They've slipped down the rankings and could use a win. The likelihood is that whoever takes this game will face Minnesota and the Raiders already suffered two losses at the hands of the Gophers this year (though they were much closer games than the ones played in the Twin Cities two seasons ago).

(6) Yale at (5) Quinnipiac

Friday at 6:15 PM Eastern (Nutmeg Classic at the University of Connecticut)

Watch: Free stream at CollegeSportsLive

This hasn't always been a must-watch in-state matchup, but it sure is this year. These two join UConn and Sacred Heart at the Nutmeg Classic, a celebration of the schools in Connecticut.

Yale and Quinnipiac are the two top-ten teams that I think have the most ceiling to grow into. The Bulldogs and Bobcats both have the ability to be even better than what we've seen from them so far. Yale has only been playing for about a month, so they're still finding their legs. Quinnipiac's biggest upside is in the young talent they are still developing. March is still a long way off and I think these teams have a ton of upside. If you're impressed with them now, know that the likelihood is they're only going to get better.

Quinnipiac has a couple of tough non-conference meetings this season. These games are a great chance to really check in with how they match up against other top teams and find the things they'll need to fine tune in order to make a postseason run. Last week I noted their depth and how well they were doing distributing the puck. I noted to myself at the time that I was surprised freshman Maya Labad had just one goal and one assist. She scored twice and had a helper in games against Cornell and Colgate last weekend. As she continues to settle in, she adds even more dynamic scoring to the mix.

Yale's success this season is made more impressive when you remember more than half their roster had never played a collegiate game and they spent most of the past 18 months not skating and practicing, much less together. Claire Dalton has grown quite a bit between her freshman and junior years. She's averaging two points a game right now and has been extra successful on special teams, with three power play goals and two short-handed goals to go along with her two game-winning goals.

The Bulldogs have been especially good on special teams – they have more power play goals than games played at this point.

Also worth a look:

  • (9) Clarkson at Maine – Friday and Saturday at 2:00 PM Eastern
  • (7) Minnesota Duluth vs. St. Lawrence – Saturday at 1:00 PM Eastern
  • Mercyhurst vs. Minnesota – Friday at 4:30 PM Central (Smashville Showcase)

Stick Taps and Snark

Minnesota State tennis player Avery Stillwell – The freshman stepped into the net for the Mavericks last weekend, making 84 saves in two games against Ohio State. A hockey goalie in high school, she hadn't been on the ice in more than six months, but is helping the team while injuries sideline their regular goaltenders.

Colgate – The Raiders dropped three spots in the polls after a weekend loss to Quinnipiac and tie with Princeton.

UMD's Elizabeth Giguère – The grad student had five assists on Friday – the fourth was her 250th career point. She became just the 1oth player in the NCAA era to reach the milestone.

Mercyhurst freshman Vanessa Upson – She leads the CHA with 11 goals and 20 assists. She scored her first career hat trick last weekend and is the highest-scoring rookie in the country.

(Photo: UMD Women's Hockey/Twitter)