NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, October 28-30
- 6 min read

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, October 28-30

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, October 28-30 by Nicole Haase

Come back each week for a preview of interesting NCAA games coming up and some thoughts on what happened in the previous week's action.

Welcome to a jam-packed preview this week as a ton of top teams are facing off and it was impossible to narrow down the must-watch games to just three. This isn't even all of them! There's no "also worth a look," there's only "set up multiple screens and enjoy!"

(2) Minnesota at (1) Ohio State

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

Watch: Paid stream on BTN+.

This is the Gophers' first big test, but Ohio State is coming off a pair of close wins over Minnesota Duluth last week – one of which came in overtime. Minnesota joined Wisconsin in discovering a tighter test in St. Cloud than they may have been expecting, though they also swept.

Last season, Ohio State was 4-1 against the Gophers, though two of those wins were in overtime. The Buckeyes took the opening two games of the season, but Minnesota was able to play them much closer in January, earning a win and OT loss before losing to them in OT in the WCHA tournament championship.

OSU returned much of their national championship roster, plus added back Emma Maltais, who has shown how much she grew in a year away with the Canadian National Team with her great vision and pinpoint passes. Of course Sophie Jaques and Jenn Gardiner continue to standout, but a player to keep an eye on is Jenna Buglioni, who was crucial to the team's two wins last weekend and just made her first USA senior roster for the upcoming Rivalry Series. However, they've been a bit more vulnerable on defense, allowing nearly two goals per game. Their offense is so prolific that hasn't been an issue, but it will be interesting to see what happens when they meet another high-scoring team in the Gophers.

For Minnesota, Grace Zumwinkle and Abbey Murphy lead the way. Reigning Patty Kazmaier winner Taylor Heise has been less prolific in lighting the lamp, but continues to shine in how well she sets up her linemates. Josefin Bouveng took a few games to find her footing in Minneapolis, but seems to be much more comfortable and adds another layer of depth for them.

(8) Cornell at (10) Princeton

Saturday at 6:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.

Cornell took a pair of wins from Mercyhurst last weekend, but the Tigers have not yet started their season. This is a harsh introduction, with a pair of games against Colgate and Cornell.

I may need a button or sticker that says "Sorry for talking about Cornell all the time," but I'm really high on the Big Red and liked how they looked in their first games last weekend. Importantly for them, freshman Alyssa Regalado was immediately impactful, netting a hat trick in the second game of the series. If Cornell is going to live up to my hype, they need their young players to be able to make splashes like this. The sample size is still too small, but it was a good start. In a conference full of teams I could see contending for the national championship, I think they've gotten a little overlooked. We'll see if that works to their advantage or not.

Princeton gets back Olympic sensation Sarah Fillier and hopes she'll prove a massive spark for them. The team was not the same without her last year while she was centralized and it's probably not great that so much of their success is hinging on one player. But she is a hell of a player.

(4) Colgate at (7) Quinnipiac

Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.

I picked the second game of the weekend because I think we'll learn more from these matchups, but it does leave me previewing a game without all the information we'll have when the puck actually drops (Princeton will play Colgate tonight at 6:00 PM Eastern). These are two of the stingiest defenses in the country – Colgate is allowing just .67 goals per game and Quinnipiac has allowed a whopping .86, good for first and third in the nation.

Colgate has the flashier offense, with Danielle Serdachny averaging two points a game for the Raiders and Kalty Kaltounkova right behind her with 1.89 points per game, but Quinnipiac's might be deeper - or at least more balanced. Colgate tends to be more aggressive on offense and will outshoot the Bobcats while being unafraid to aim for the net from anywhere on the ice. Quinnipiac tends to be a bit more deliberate, picking their shots and opportunities, but capitalizing on them when they do.

Each team has a standout rookie – Elyssa Biederman for Colgate, Madison Chantler for Quinnipiac – who have started to settle in and find their roles on their respective teams. But aside from them, the teams look remarkably like they did the previous season. When they met last November, the Bobcats took a 4-0 win, but Colgate took the final two meetings (each by a single goal).

These are two teams who know each other well and matchup well. Watch how Quinnipiac squares up on defense and contains the Raiders, particularly in transition.

(3) Wisconsin at (5) Minnesota Duluth

Friday and Saturday at 3:00 PM Central

Watch: Paid stream on BTN+.

We're going to start to see how the top teams in the WCHA – and the polls –  measure up to each other this weekend. UMD is coming off a pair of close losses in Columbus last weekend. After a loss to Penn State in the opening game of the season, Wisconsin has bounced back with nine straight wins in which they are averaging well over six goals per game.

The Badgers had a favorable schedule the past few weeks that may not have challenged them much but did allow their team to settle in. There are 10 players on this roster that did not suit up for the Badgers last season, whether they are rookies, transfers, injuries, or players returning from Olympic centralization. What they've shown is that the team is very deep. Last weekend against Bemidji State, 12 different goal-scorers were responsible for their 15 goals.

UMD has the advantage in goal – Emma Soderberg has frustrated the Badgers in the past and has a ton of experience between the pipes with the Bulldogs and internationally with Sweden. Wisconsin has been splitting time in net with Jane Gervais and Cammi Kronish. Neither came into the season with much experience and neither has been much tested since that Penn State game.

Wisconsin has been very bad at converting on the power play, though the special teams themselves have not looked bad. There is good puck movement and a belief that it's a slump and not a systemic issue, but in these razor-close series they can't afford to give up that advantage.

The Bulldogs will look to crowd the center of the ice and block shots while looking for transition opportunities while the Badgers will try to limit UMD's zone time to keep the pressure off the goalies, catch them with their speed in transition and hold possession as much as they can.

(6) Northeastern vs. (13) Providence

Friday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 7:00 PM Eastern (home and home)

Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.

It's been nearly a year since these two teams faced off. Back in November 2021, Northeastern got a win and a tie against the Friars. Providence is a team that has been able to consistently trip the Huskies up. In the 2019-20 season, they took two of three, and the season before, they upset Northeastern who were then ranked #3 in the country. This particular meetup looks interesting because the Huskies are coming off a split against Maine – their first loss of the season.

Northeastern is leading the country in shots per game and have averaged more than four goals per game so far. Providence is one of the best defenses in the country, allowing just more than a goal per game. They have a strong netminder in Sandra Abstreiter who is used to facing the Husky onslaught.

There's also the subplot of Maureen Murphy leading NU in scoring after having transferred there from Providence in 2020.

The Friars have an interesting offense with veteran Sara Hjalmarsson, transfer Noemi Neubauerová, and rookie Reichen Kirchmair leading the way. The Huskies have Alina Müller and Chloe Aurard as well as Murphy.

This is a home and home series. We may see different dynamics in each game, but I'll be especially watching to see how Northeastern hits the ice after last weekend's disappointing loss. I feel like Providence is well-poised to attempt to contain them in the same way Maine was able to.

Stick Taps and Snark

Northeastern’s Alina Müller –  Became Hockey East's all-time career
assists leader with her 85th helper in league play over the weekend,
surpassing the previous record of 84 held by former Husky Kendall Coyne Schofield.

Providence's Reichen Kirchmair – Is sixth in the country overall – and first among rookies – with seven goals (in just eight games).

Northeastern – Losses are rare for the Huskies. They had just five all last season. Their 1-0 shutout loss in Orono dropped them three spots in the national polls.

Colgate coach Greg Fargo – In his 11th season with the program, he earned his 200th career win last Saturday as his team swept Vermont.

(Photo: Twitter/Gopher Women's Hockey)