NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, November 4-6
- 4 min read

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, November 4-6

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, November 4-6 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.

(5) Minnesota Duluth at (1) Minnesota

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

Watch: Paid stream on BTN+.

The Gophers took over the top spot after taking 4 of 6 points from Ohio State in Columbus last weekend. They seemed to have a response for everything the Buckeyes could do and really seemed to cement their ranking. They ended the weekend with a tie, but are among three unbeaten teams left in the country. Minnesota Duluth had an overtime win and loss against Wisconsin at home last weekend. The Bulldogs have a knack for late game heroics and the fact that they never believe they are out of any game makes them even more of a threat. They get stronger as the game progresses.

Not only are these two teams fighting for position in the WCHA and nationally, but this is an ongoing in-state rivalry. Last season, the Gophers dismantled UMD in the WCHA tournament before the Bulldogs got revenge the following week in the NCAA tournament. The coaches and players know each other so well that I expect we'll see quite a bit of feeling each other out and testing limits, particularly in game one.

Minnesota Duluth has the edge in goal in this matchup with veteran Emma Söderberg. Skylar Vetter has taken the majority of the starts for Minnesota and is playing well, but Söderberg just has so much more experience. On offense, Abbey Murphy has found an expanded role up front. She leads the Gophers in goals and is tied with Grace Zumwinkle for the team lead with 14 points. Against Wisconsin last week, the Bulldogs received contributions from a number of players, showing a depth they can rely on when players like Gabbie Hughes are neutralized.

These games tend to be physical and Minnesota just spent what felt like half a game against Ohio State in the penalty box. Inconsistent officiating is supposed to be a focus this season, but so far we haven't seen that play out. How tight the refs call this game will have a big impact for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that neither team has excelled on the penalty kill or power play.

(4) Quinnipiac at (8) Yale

Friday at 6:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.

These are the other two undefeated teams left in the country. The Bobcats have been on an absolute roll and coach Cass Turner said her team is gelling so well that the coaches are focusing in on the kinds of details that they don't usually talk about until the second half. Everything seems to be clicking for Quinnipiac; they added the confidence of an NCAA tournament win last season and that intangible feeling of "we belong here," which has made them unstoppable so far. Their younger players have gotten up to speed quickly and they have a veteran group that's leading the team on and off the ice. Everything seems to be coming together for them and it's only the beginning of November. It will be interseting to see how they handle being at the front of the pack and maintaining their dominance over the long season.

Yale has played just two games so far. They, too, have the confidence of a team that advanced further than most and a sense of belonging. It's difficult to stand out in the crowded field of the ECAC. Add in their later season start, and I think the Bulldogs have been off people's radar a bit. But they are still a team that kept up with Ohio State every step of the way in the national semifinal last year.

These two faced off three times last season and Quinnipiac took the win each time. Yale needs to work on limiting the Bobcats' possession and press them in the neutral zone if they want different results from last season.

(10) Clarkson at (9) Cornell

Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.

Cornell opened ECAC play with a loss to Quinnipiac and win over Princeton. Clarkson has rebounded with six straight wins after dropping a game to Mercyhurst. They defeated Dartmouth and Union to open conference play last week.

Watching the Big Red last weekend, it was clear how much potential this young team has. It was also clear they need a bit more time to put it all together. They need some more time on the ice together to learn each others' tendencies, but the flashes of brilliance over the course of the weekend made me excited to watch them grow this season.

Clarkson has had a favorable early schedule, which has been helpful as they've adjusted to injuries and a line sheet that isn't what they planned in the offseason. I think that's helped them figure out their new identity and should give them more of a chance to push against the higher ranked teams in the conference than I initially thought upon hearing about their losses.

Transfer Anne Cherkowski didn't make as big of a splash last season as I thought she might, but seems to have settled in this year. She is tied for the lead in the country with 10 goals. Darcie Lappan's 21 points are tied for most in the nation, as well.

Also worth a look:

  • Clarkson at Colgate – Friday at 6:00 PM Eastern
  • Boston College vs. Connecticut home and home – Friday and Saturday at 6:00 PM Eastern
  • Sacred Heart at Minnesota State – Friday at 3:00 PM and Saturday at 1:00 PM Central

Stick Taps and Snark

HCA Players of the Month – Colgate's Danielle Serdachny is Player of the Month; Wisconsin's Caroline Harvey is Rookie of the Month; and Northeastern's Gwyneth Philips and Clarkson's Michelle Pasiechnyk are co-Goaltenders of the month (as named by the Hockey Commissioners Association).

Northeastern – A loss and a tie over the past two weeks have dropped the Huskies from 3rd to 7th in the polls.

Ohio State's Sophie Jaques – The Patty Kaz finalist is off to a fantastic start this season. She leads the country in goals per game and power play goals and has been on the ice for 21 of the Buckeyes' 39 goals this season.

Ohio State – For the first time since the February 28, 2022 poll, the Buckeyes do not occupy the top spot.

Quinnipiac – The Bobcats have started getting some respect from poll voters, moving from 7th to 4th this past week.

(Photo: Twitter/Yale Women's Hockey)