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The Takeaway: Highlighting the women’s Hockey Humanitarian Award nominees

Hockey Humanitarian Award nominees include Jessie Eldridge, Annie Pankowski, Jacyn Reeves, Samantha Ridgewell

Northeastern defender Brooke Hobson defends Colgate forward Jessie Eldridge during an NCAA game at Matthews Arena in Boston, MA on Oct. 12, 2018. (Photo by Michelle Jay)
Colgate senior Jessie Eldrige is one of four women’s college hockey players nominated for the 2019 Hockey Humanitarian Award.
Michelle Jay

In the first edition of The Takeaway, our new bi-weekly NCAA women’s hockey column, we fill you in on some standout student-athletes, a record-tying hat trick, and the biggest wins and performances last week in Division I play.

5 Things to Know

2019 Hockey Humanitarian Award nominees announced: Four of the 17 nominees were women’s players: Jessie Eldrige (Colgate), Annie Pankowski (Wisconsin), Jacyn Reeves (Ohio State), and Samantha Ridgewell (Merrimack). All four are seniors. With their respective nominations, these players are being recognized for the contributions they’ve made to their teams on the ice, as well as in their communities and in the classroom.

At Colgate, Eldridge is involved with the Learn to Skate program, which helps local children with disabilities learn to skate, and Pathfinder Village, a community and school serving young adults with Down syndrome. Pankowksi houses and trains future service dogs for an organization called OccuPaws, and also helps with the group’s fundraising and mentoring efforts. Her community service also extends to the Badger Backpack and Flat Bucky programs, Caleb’s Pitch, and visits at UW Children’s Hospital.

Reeves was named the Elite 90 recipient at last year’s Frozen Four for having the highest GPA out of all participants. Throughout her career at Ohio State, she’s dedicated her time to food pantries, the Make-A-Wish foundation, Ronald McDonald House, and the 2nd and 7 Foundation. Ridgewell is the first Hockey Humanitarian nominee in Merrimack women’s hockey history, and her play between the pipes has propelled the Warriors to a surge up the Hockey East standings, all while setting an example in the community.

Ohio State upsets Wisconsin, 1-0, at home: For the most part, things have been status quo at the top of the Division I rankings for the last couple of months, with Wisconsin only losing one game to the Gophers on Oct. 27. But Ohio State shook things up a bit this weekend with a 1-0 win over the Badgers on home ice. Junior defender Jincy Dunne scored the game-winner on a 5-on-3 power play in the first period, and goaltender Andrea Braendli made 32 saves to stave off the Wisconsin offense. To their credit, the Badgers responded with a 5-2 win in the series finale, avoiding the sweep in what is notoriously a difficult rink to visit. In both losses this season, Wisconsin has been shut out, so that’s something to note heading into the upcoming Border Battle with Minnesota.

Gabel’s record-tying hat trick: In Clarkson’s 6-0 win over Union this weekend, senior forward Loren Gabel tied the program record for career points. She tallied a hat trick to tie Golden Knights great and 2014 Patty Kazmaier winner Jamie Lee Rattray with 181 career points (95 goals, 86 assists). Gabel is averaging the second-most points per game in the nation this year with 1.85.

BC picks up a much-needed win: Boston College halted its midseason skid with a big 7-5 win over Northeastern on Saturday, though not before falling to the Huskies on Friday by a score of 4-1. Still, it was a big win for the Eagles in a couple of ways. For starters, they finally got their offense rolling again, scoring seven goals in a game for the first time this season. Friday evening’s loss marked their sixth defeat in seven games, so they needed a response on Saturday, and they answered the call. BC outshot Northeastern 13-4 in the opening period and put up three goals in the frame as well.

The Huskies have been a difficult team to knock out of games this season. In their series against Clarkson, for example, they trailed 2-0 and scored three goals in 35 seconds to take the lead against a team that is traditionally strong defensively. Northeastern got itself back in this one, too, and made it a one-goal game twice in the third period, but BC stuck to it, stayed focus offensively to net a few more goals, and did not let the Huskies tie it up.

Princeton and RPI hold strong in the ECAC standings: There were a few noteworthy results in the ECAC last weekend, like Princeton’s huge 5-0 road victory over Cornell and Colgate’s comeback against the Tigers the next day to force a 4-4 tie. It’s been quite the run for Princeton this season, who is now unbeaten in 18 straight games, extending a program record. In terms of upsets, Rensselaer earned a nice one in overtime against St. Lawrence, defeating the Saints 3-2. RPI is holding down its spot in the ECAC standings at six, despite being the only team in a playoff position with a negative goal differential in conference play. That’s largely due to the play of goaltender Lovisa Selander, whose .942 save percentage is now the third highest in the country.

Top Performers

Celine Tedenby, Freshman, Forward, Maine: Tedenby scored twice for the Black Bears against Holy Cross on Saturday, and her last-second goal (literally, it came at 19:59 of the third period) helped the Black Bears avoid an upset and earn a 2-2 tie with the Hockey East newcomers.

Delaney Belinskas, Junior, Forward, Boston College: Going into Saturday’s matchup against Northeastern, Belinskas had one goal and three assists on the season. She doubled her point total in one game with a monster two-goal, two-assist effort in BC’s win.

Jessie Eldridge, Senior, Forward, Colgate: Eldridge had three points in the Raiders’ 4-4 tie with Princeton, including a goal with only nine seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime, which is approximately the millionth time in her career she’s scored a last-second goal (we can’t completely confirm this number, but it’s up there).

Maggie Connors, Freshman, Forward, Princeton: Connors scored twice and added two assists against Cornell, and then tallied two more goals in that tie with Colgate, including a go-ahead goal late in the third period.

Lindsay Reed, Freshman, Goaltender, Harvard: Reed made 27 saves, including 15 in the third period alone, to preserve a 1-0 win for the Crimson over Dartmouth and earn the shutout.

Mikyla Grant-Mentis, Junior, Forward, Merrimack: She factored into all four goals that the Warriors scored in a 4-1 win over Vermont on Friday (two goals, two assists). Both goals she scored came while Merrimack was shorthanded.

Don’t Miss It

Upcoming games to watch for:

Wisconsin at Minnesota (Friday, Jan. 18, and Saturday, Jan. 19): It’ll be a battle for first place in the WCHA, and likely the nation’s No. 1 ranking, when the Badgers take on the Gophers next weekend. Both teams have only lost twice this year: once to each other, and once to Ohio State.

Cornell vs. Colgate (Home-and-home, Friday, Jan. 25, and Saturday, Jan. 26): The Raiders have been up and down this year, but that hasn’t stopped them from providing us with some exciting back-and-forth games. We should be in for the same as they go against a talented Cornell squad that hasn’t quite shown its best lately.

Merrimack vs. Boston University (Home-and-home, Friday, Jan. 25, and Saturday, Jan. 26): The Terriers have come on strong as the season’s gone on, earning a sweep over a ranked Providence team this past weekend to tie the Friars in points in the Hockey East standings. The Warriors haven’t been a team to look over this year, either, and they’re only three points behind BU in the standings, so this series should have big implications in terms of playoff seeding.