NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 18
- 4 min read

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 18

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, Week 18 by Nicole Haase

Schedules have been in flux due to COVID, with a number of series getting canceled, called off, and rescheduled. All information here is current as of the time of publish, but is subject to change.

(2) Minnesota at (3) Ohio State

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

Watch: Paid stream on BTN+.

The Gophers are coming off a sweep of Wisconsin while Ohio State split their series with Minnesota Duluth – though their loss was a 1-0 defeat that came in the final minute of the game. Ohio State probably should have been given the number one spot in the polls this week and they play best when they feel like they're not getting the respect they deserve. They thrive on an underdog mentality and you can bet coach Nadine Muzerall has been using this to pump up and motivate her players this week.

These two teams played each other very early in the season and the Buckeyes swept that series in Minneapolis, 4-2 and 4-1. The good news for Minnesota is they are basically a completely different team than they were then. It took them awhile to find their footing. The bad news for them is that Ohio State has also improved and they were already plenty good in that series.

The Gophers' defense and goaltending will be an important part of this game. Both teams are among the best in the country on offense, but Minnesota averages two goals against per game and have not fared well when they allow more than three goals to their opponents.

Sophie Jacques continues to be a major scoring threat from the blue line. When she's on the ice, it stretches defenses and forces them to pressure, leaving more open ice for the rest of her teammates. As always, Taylor Heise is a key for the Gophers. She leads the country in points and is the heart of their offense.

(9) Colgate at (7) Quinnipiac

Friday at 6:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.

After a stellar beginning to their season, Quinnipiac has stumbled a bit since the new year. They are 2-3-1 in their last six games after having just one loss and two ties the entire first half. The losses and tie all came to ranked teams, but if the want to reach the postseason and be successful, the need to find a way to get wins in those types of games. In their last two losses, they came back to make them one goal games, but couldn't finish them out. Cass Turner said after their games in Madison that the team is still young and learning and this is one of those things that they'll need to develop if they want to become the kind of team that is ranked year after year.

Colgate has been pretty steady and consistent this season. They are averaging nearly four goals per game on offense while Quinnipiac has one of the stingiest defenses in the nation. Something will obviously have to give there. The Raiders have to be patient and not get frustrated. If they can hold possession, it will go a long way to keeping Quinnipiac at bay.

(10) Clarkson at (6) Harvard

Friday at 6:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.

Clarkson might be the top 10 team that has me the most confused. They are talented across the board and have shown they're capable of being a top-tier team at times. But they also managed one point in a series with Bemidji State earlier this season. We might have been able to write that off as growing pains early on, but then the Golden Knights suffered an overtime loss to RPI followed by a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Cornell, both games they were expected to win.

RPI played a shutdown game and kept Clarkson off the board despite the Golden Knights' barrage of shots. But Cornell just plain out-played them and Clarkson never really looked like they had a shot to come back and win that game. No offense meant to the Big Red, but they're a .500 team that's in seventh place in the ECAC. That game shouldn't have been as easy a win for them as it was.

I said earlier in the season that I wasn't prepared to believe in Harvard. It's long past time I admit I was wrong. The Crimson's losses have all come to ranked teams. The were swept by Minnesota Duluth at the new year, but have won five straight since then and their most recent previous loss before that dates back to mid-November.

They've worked themselves up to #6 in the polls and they've done it with a team effort. No Crimson player is among the highest scoring in the country or points per game. But nine different Harvard skaters are in double digits for scoring. They're sixth in the country, averaging 3.74 goals per game. Anne Bloomer leads the team with 13 goals. Becca Gilmore has 11 goals and 12 assists to lead the Crimson with 23 points.

Also worth a look:

  • Franklin Pierce at Saint Anselm – Friday at 7:30 PM and Saturday at 4:00 PM Eastern
  • Minnesota State at (5) Minnesota Duluth – Friday and Saturday at 3:00 PM Central
  • Mercyhurst at Penn State – Friday and Saturday at 2:00 PM Eastern

Stick Taps and Snark

RPI – The Engineers defeated Clarkson for the first time since 2010 on Friday.

Wisconsin – The Badgers were swept by Minnesota last weekend. The Gophers took three wins and a tie from Wisconsin this season. The Badgers dropped in the polls after the losses.

BC's Kelly Browne and Minnesota's Amy Potomak – Both players reached the 100 point mark in their careers last weekend.

Quinnipiac – The Bobcats lost to Harvard and took a hit in the polls this week.

RIT and Union – Changing a rule that hindered RIT and Union, NCAA Division III membership voted to allow all multi-divisional institutions to apply Division I rules to their Division I programs, including financial aid. Clarkson, RPI and St. Lawrence had already been grandfathered into this rule, so RIT and Union were the only women's hockey schools left that were affected.

(Photo: Harvard Women's Hockey/Twitter)