NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, November 18-20
- 4 min read

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, November 18-20

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, November 18-20 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.

(1) Minnesota at (3) Wisconsin

Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 PM Central

Watch: Paid stream on BTN+. Saturday's game televised locally in Madison and the Twin Cities.

One of the biggest rivalries in women's college hockey is renewed this week in Madison. The Badgers are coming off two straight bye weeks, meaning they haven't played a game since their October 29 win over Minnesota Duluth. The Gophers are coming off a single bye week, so both teams will be well-rested, if not a little rusty.

Wisconsin can have a tendency to come out flat after a break in their schedule, so this extra long pause could have more of an impact on this series than they'd like. The last time these two teams met when Minnesota was ranked #1, the Badgers swept the series. Over the past 10 meetings, Wisconsin is 5-3-2. However, Minnesota still holds the all-time series lead 55-45-14.  

This should be a major test for the Badgers, who've been able to ease into conference play a bit. While Minnesota, UMD, and Ohio State have all faced off, Wisconsin has only had to play the Bulldogs so far. It does not seem like UW has managed to put all the pieces together so far this season. There is clear potential and talent on their roster, but whether or not that can live up to that promise remains to be seen.

Minnesota suffered their first loss of the season a week ago Monday in a surprise upset by St. Cloud State. It was a non-conference, neutral site game, but you can bet those qualifications don't change the sting of dropping the game. They've have nearly two weeks to stew upon it while preparing for a set of games in Madison that requires no extra motivation to be circled on the calendar.

Both teams have high-powered offenses – the Badgers lead the nation with 5.67 goals scored per game while Minnesota sits second at 4.82 goals per game. However, the Gophers are allowing almost a goal more per game on defense.

The officiating is usually pretty forgiving in these games, but special teams will still likely be a factor. Wisconsin has struggled to find the back of the net on the power play, scoring just seven goals in 43 attempts – or 16.28 percent. That being said, just six teams in the country are worse than Minnesota on the penalty kill.

(10) Clarkson at (5) Quinnipiac

Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.

This is one of the matchups I look forward to every year. In recent history, it's proven to be one of the most intense and interesting set of games over the course of the season. I like how the teams matchup up stylistically and the chess match that ensues between the coaches as they try to find an advantage.

Clarkson rebounded last week with a pair of one-goal wins over St. Lawrence after losses to Colgate and Cornell the week before. Darcie Lappan is having a breakout season. She's tied for first in the country with 26 points and 16 assists. She's taken on a bigger role this season and is stepping up in a big way. The Golden Knights will need a bit performance from their defense and goalie Michelle Pasiechnyk to try and disrupt the flow of Quinnipiac's play.

The Bobcats are so strong at possessing the puck and not allowing their opponents a lot of opportunities or time in the zone. Clarkson has to try to find a way to break up or pick off passes and hold on to the puck themselves.

(11) Penn State at (6) Yale

Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.

These will be just the fifth and sixth games of the season for the Bulldogs. They are the only undefeated team left in the country, going 4-0 so far in their young season. They handed Quinnipiac their only loss of the season and are looking to regain momentum after the bye week.

Penn State is 8-1-1 over their last ten games. These games are just the next in a long line of non-conference meetings against top-ranked teams from around the country. They'll be hoping to use the chemistry and camaraderie they've cultivated for the past two months to their advantage against the Bulldogs.

Expect Penn State to frustrate Yale by clogging lanes, keeping the puck wide and blocking shots. They'll try to use their speed to turn a block into a turnover and quick transition. However, the Bulldogs have no problem shooting from the perimeter and looking for deflections in front of the net. They're a very experienced team who get contributions up and down the roster.

Also worth a look:

  • (10) Clarkson at (15) Princeton – Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern
  • Maine at (13) Providence – Friday and Saturday at 2:00 PM Eastern
  • Harvard at (7) Minnesota Duluth – Friday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern

Stick Taps and Snark

Minnesota Duluth's Naomi Rogge – The senior forward scored her 100th career point on Saturday against St. Cloud State.

Poll discourse – One of the top teams has four games to their name; there's a whole lot left to play and voting is arbitrary at best. But somehow, every week there's a fanbase (and occasionally official team handle) looking for reasons to bemoan their team's spot in the rankings. We have calculations that determine rankings, so it's pretty easy to see where a team "should" be versus where its fans think the vibes place it. It's also easy to see that there are very bad votes being made, but that's the nature of this beast. But don't be surprised if I start posting screenshots of the calculations to snap back at a complaint. (Official rankings are determined by polls, and there are various mathematical models that are used to inform those voting, such as the Pairwise.)

New signees – Congratulations to all the high school players who signed National Letters of Intent this week. We look forward to watching you play!

International hockey is back – We still don't have a date for the World Championships, but the Rivalry Series kicked back off with a number of collegiate players on the November roster; European teams have been back on the ice; and we got our first U18 World Championship roster, as the US announced their team this week. The U18 tournament is just 50 days away.

(Photo: Twitter/Minnesota Women's Hockey)