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.
(2) Ohio State at (6) Minnesota Duluth
Friday and Saturday at 3:00 PM Central
Watch: Paid stream on BTN+.
UMD started their season with a sweep of Long Island University last weekend. Mannon McMahon scored four goals in the first game and Clara Van Wieren had a hat trick in the second, so if there are questions on how the offense will fare after Gabbie Hughes graduated, I think these two answered them.
After splitting a series the opening weekend with Colgate, Ohio State had last weekend off to dissect tape and prepare for their first conference matchup. The Buckeyes were a little flat in the first game against the Raiders, but rallied later in the game. They definitely came out stronger in the second, but still needed overtime to get the win. With so many new players, the off week can only be helpful for them to keep working on team chemistry.
Last season, the teams met five times. Ohio State took two regulation wins and a on overtime win in the regular season, plus a 2-1 win in the WCHA tournament. UMD's regular season win also happened in overtime.
OSU has had the slight edge, but these two teams have been incredibly close. Every matchup was decided by a single goal. The Buckeyes look to have more depth, both at forward and with some offensive blueliners, but the Bulldogs' strength against them has been in shutting them down defensively. UMD has young goalies this season and used both of them against LIU, so it will be interesting to see if that had to do with the opponent or whether Eve Gascon gets both starts.
Minnesota Duluth has always been able to count on timely if not prolific scoring from players like Van Wieren, but with bigger names on the roster, those players haven't been relied on. Now the Bulldogs need some of those secondary scorers to step up. We'll see if they can keep it up against a tougher opponent this week.
(11) St. Lawrence vs. (12) Vermont
Friday at 5:00 PM and Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern
Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.
St. Lawrence makes their first appearance on the polls this season after starting the season 4-0 and sweeping #15 Providence last weekend. Thus far, 11 different players have scored for the Saints and 17 different players have registered points. That balanced attack and depth on the line chart has proved really successful and would be a welcome new dynamic for a team who had just six skaters with 20 or more points last season. In addition, the Saints are averaging 5.0 goals per game – fully double what they scored last year.
Vermont opened their season with a loss to #9 Clarkson, but rebounded with a tie and shootout win in the second game of the series. Their roster has turned over a lot, but it looks like they've been able to adjust well and it was good to see them skating with a top 10 team on the first weekend.
I think these two match up well together, which should make for a really interesting and exciting pair of games. The Catamounts use speed and go directly to the net often on offense, but we might see more passing and puck movement from St. Lawrence. If the defenses do a good job clogging up the middle, I think SLU has to the edge in terms of finding seams and not getting frustrated from the perimeter. I'm excited to see how UVM looks after another week of practice and for the Saints to show they can continue at this scoring pace.
(13) Penn State at (10) Cornell
Friday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern
Watch: Paid stream on ESPN+.
Jeff Kampersal never makes it easy on himself and his team with their non-conference schedule and this season, the Nittany Lions have struggled in the early going, earning a 1-4-1 record through the first three weeks. The lone win came over #5 Northeastern is a very close series, which makes the loss and tie to Connecticut a little more surprising. The games against Colgate showed Penn State's youth and relative inexperience with this particular lineup playing together. The Raiders' style doesn't allow room for indecision or timidity and I don't think PSU played with enough confidence in the face of that.
Cornell won their two exhibition matches, but officially start their season with these games. The expectation is that the Big Red will be strong on defense, but the question is where they'll find some scoring. Just four players scored double digit goals last season.
The Big Red had the incoming class I was most excited about last season and they bring in another group of intriguing names this year, but I'm more cautious on what to expect after last season. They have a lot of potential, so for me, their season hinges on how well and how quickly they can turn that into chemistry, skill, and most importantly goals.
Also worth a look:
- Minnesota State at (1) Wisconsin – Thursday and Friday at 7:00 PM Central
- Providence vs. (8) Quinnipiac – Friday at 6:00 PM and Saturday at 3:00 PM Eastern
- Harvard at Dartmouth – Friday at 6:00 PM Eastern
Stick Taps and Snark
↑ Minnesota Duluth coach Maura Crowell– Congratulations to UMD's bench boss, who recorded her 250th win as a college coach with the Bulldogs’ 6-0 victory over LIU on Friday. She currently has 251 careers wins, 155 of which game at UMD.
↓ Penn State – The Nittany Lions are coming off the best season in program history and their first NCAA Tournament appearance, but haven't been able to carry that into the new season and are 1-4-1 to start the year.
↑ St. Lawrence's Emma-Sofie Nordström and Quinnipiac's Logan Angers – These are the only two goalies in the country to have started four games and still have a perfect 4-0 record.
(Photo: UMD Women's Hockey/Twitter)