NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, December 9-11
- 4 min read

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, December 9-11

NCAA Women's Hockey: What to Watch, December 9-11 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.

(3) Quinnipiac vs. (10) Providence (home and home)

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

Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.

These two teams have not played each other much historically. They last met for a two-game series in October 2021, with both games ending in a tie. Overall, Providence hold a 9-2-2 record against the Bobcats.

Quinnipiac has proven themselves to be, arguably, the best team in the country. They have a single loss – to now #4 Yale at the beginning of November. That's it. They've been virtually untouchable, particularly on defense. They are the only team in the country with a goals against average lower than one, letting in just 0.82 goals per game. The Bobcats also have the country's best power play – they've allowed just two extra-attacker goals in 37 attempts over 17 games. The are solid, stingy and so good on offense that opponents barely get opportunities on the other end of the ice.

The Bobcats bring a mix of veteran and newcomer talent that have gelled well together. Sophomore Maya Labad leads the team with 11 goals and rookie Madison Chantler has added depth and dimension to what Quinnipiac can do on offense.

Providence are in second place in Hockey East, 11 points behind Northeastern with two games in hand. They've been on a six game win streak, mostly recently sweeping Merrimack last weekend. They have one of the best goalies in the country in Sandra Abstreiter and are solid on offense thanks to Sara Hjalmarsson and Nemo Neubauerova, plus Rachel Weiss and newcomer Reichen Kirchmair.

The Friars have shown a talent for shutting down prolific offenses. If they bring their best defensive game, this could be frustrating for the Bobcats.

(14) St. Cloud State vs. (6) Minnesota (home and home)

Friday and Saturday at 3:00 PM Central

Watch: Paid stream on BTN+.

St. Cloud State earned their fourth-ever win against Minnesota (in more than 100 tries) the last time these two met when they took down the Gophers 4-1. Now they'll be looking to replicate some of the magic they captured in that game. They'll need to block shots as well as be aggressive on offense and keep the special teams play at a minimum.

Minnesota has had some injuries and illnesses to deal with, so they're thin on defense and it's not a coincidence that they've recently had a bit of a slide. Emily Oden has done well for them as a forward playing on defense, but her absence is felt on the other end of the ice. She's very good on faceoffs and moving her has necessitated a shuffle of offensive lines that has yielded some bright spots, but mostly seems to not quite meet the chemistry they have when everything is working well.

The win in November was a non-conference game for the US Hockey Hall of Fame, so St. Cloud would like to get a conference victory here as well as prove that their win wasn't a fluke. The Gophers will be trying to show that this was one game at a neutral site and doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. They will also be looking for a reset and to head into the break on a positive note. They'll have almost a full month off to try and get players healthy.

Also worth a look:

  • Franklin Pierce at LIU – Friday at 3:00 PM and Saturday at 2:00 Eastern
  • Princeton at Mercyhurst – Friday at 3:00 PM and Saturday at 2:00 Eastern
  • Union at Brown – Friday at 6:00 PM Eastern

Stick Taps and Snark

HCA Players of the Month – Vermont’s Natalie Mlýnková and Saint Anselm’s Kelly Golini were named co-players of the month, Union’s Riley Walsh was named rookie of the month and Yale’s Pia Dukaric was selected goaltender of the month for November.

IIHF – How is is that we still don't know when and where the 2023 Women's World Championships are happening? The assumption at this point is April and we know they're in Canada, but those are two pretty big parameters. These teams get so little time together and only get to do that when something is on the calendar. The longer this goes, the worse it is for the sport.

Wisconsin's Casey O'Brien and Natalie Buchbinder – O'Brien registered her 50th career assist and Buchbinder tallied her 50th point in their 13-1 win over Bemidji State on Friday.

Quality of stream commentary – I watch a lot of streams and try to be very forgiving to the fact that many of the broadcasts are student-run. That being said, it seems clear that women's hockey is considered entry level and the students doing these broadcasts have little to no experience on air or with the sport. I understand that there will be mistakes, but I wish more of these commentators were willing to admit they gave wrong information or that they don't know. There is so much misinformation being spread because of these folks confidently repeating false info and never correcting themselves.

Hat tricks – Wisconsin's Britta Curl, Colgate's Elyssa Biederman, Clarkson's Gabrielle David, Penn State's Kiara Zanon, and St. Cloud State's Klára Hymlárová all scored hat tricks last weekend. All of them except David's were the first in the scorer's career.

St. Cloud State – The Huskies entered the polls at #14 this week. The last time they were ranked was back in January 2009.

(Photo: Twitter/St.Cloud State Women's Hockey)