Conference play still has yet to really kick in, which means there are interesting out-of-conference matchups to keep your eyes on during the weekend. Here’s four of the best games and series between now and next week.
#5 Duluth at #7 Ohio State
The Duluth Bulldogs are coming off of a tough weekend against Boston College where the BC Eagles put on another clinic in Conte Forum. Ohio State officially found a spot in the USCHO Polls after beating Minnesota twice - once in regulation and once in shootout
This series looms large for both teams as OSU continues to build a case for an NCAA tournament spot. Kassidy Sauve has been great between the pipes for the Buckeyes and will go up against a Duluth team that has struggled to find the back of the net this year. If OSU can put out the same offensive showing they had against the Gophers last weekend, it might be time to hit the panic button for the Bulldogs.
#4 Northeastern at #8 Colgate
The Northeastern Huskies have already played four regular season games this season, and we have all gotten a look at what they can do. The Colgate Raiders, however, finally played their first non-exhibition games last weekend against the St. Cloud State Huskies, winning 3-0 and 5-0. Colgate was 22-11-3 overall last season but finished sixth in the ECAC standings. They are a definite threat this season, and two dominating performances may give them the momentum to take on Northeastern in Hamilton.
Meanwhile, the Huskies will need to shore up their defense and goaltending heading into this series. If not for three crossbars from the BU Terriers - mostly from Victoria Bach who out-skated half of Northeastern, last Saturday’s matchup would have been much closer. This series could go either way, but there would be a huge swing in the standing for whomever comes out on top.
Vermont at Quinnipiac
This Battle of the Bubble Teams will take place in Hamden, CT, with big implications for both teams. Quinnipiac was a pre-season poll vote getter, ending up at #9 to begin the year, but a sloppy 2-2 start has taken them out of the standings and left them voteless this past week. In a wide open ECAC, they will need to take both of these games from Vermont to get back into the pollsters good graces. QU has yet to score more than two goals in a game this year, and against a Vermont Catamount offense that recently found its stride, things could get ugly.
This past Monday was an opportunity for everyone to learn a big name of the future: Eve-Audrey Picard. The sophomore scored four goals against Union, becoming the first Catamount to accomplish the feat in the program’s DI history. Vermont challenged for the Hockey East title last season and can use this out-of-conference series to give themselves a leg up in the Pairwise this year.
#4 St. Lawrence at Merrimack
Okay, hear me out: this is THE SERIES where we find out if Merrimack is for real. Did they fluke into a win against BU? How about that victory over Minnesota?
The Merrimack Warriors have scored one goal in each of their last three games against Minnesota and New Hampshire. St. Lawrence earned a decisive win over Mercyhurst, and then tied them the following day. A #4 ranking might be too high for the Saints, but they should still be able to handle the Warriors.
Stephen A. Smith voice: HOWEVA, the Warriors might earn a win, and they might gain the national recognition they deserve.
There are going to be a ton of exhibition games this weekend against some interesting opponents.
- McGill will face Harvard away on Friday, before playing Dartmouth on Sunday
- The Minnesota Whitecaps will be out west to face St. Cloud State twice
- Kunlun Red Star of the CWHL will play Brown
- Shenzen Vanke Rays of the CWHL will play Cornell
- Team China will play against Sacred Heart, Princeton, and Holy Cross on Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday respectively