This week's NCAA roundup is going to be a little different. Usually, I'm just one overworked girl rounding up all the news that's fit amongst a few dozen teams in the NCAA's top division. This week, though, I'd like to give some shine to the DIII teams doing their thing as well. There's a lot of exciting hockey flying under the radar, and I wish I could give it all attention (alas, I do not have 48 hours in a day), but here's what I'd like to catch y'all up on when it comes to Division III women's hockey.
UW-River Falls undefeated in 2023
The Badgers aren't the only UW team absolutely lighting up the nation. University of Wisconsin-River Falls has yet to lose a game this season, taking the No. 1 rank in the nation and beating last year's champion Gustavus Adolphus (whom we'll talk about in a moment) twice already. At 12-0-0, they have a quintet of players all performing at over a point per game, with one (senior Maddie McCollins) scoring nearly 2.5 per match. The Falcons seem just as dangerous on the penalty kill (four SHG scored) as they do on the power play, and they have a pair of goalies who share a name and a win streak, with senior Jordon O'Connor (.938) and sophomore Jordan O'Kane (.952) showing no signs of slowing down.
Gustavus Adolphus still near the top
The Golden Gusties are still at the top of the MIAC, with a sparkling 6-0-0 record, but the two losses to the Falcons have them ranked just shy of the No. 1 spot overall. Still, they've made short work of the first half of their schedule, with seven of their nine wins coming via shutout. Seniors Hailey Holland and Brooke Power head the stat sheet with 14 and 13 points, respectively, but a quick look down the roster indicates there's been a good amount of depth.
Amherst, Middlebury, Plattsburgh rounding out the top five
It's been a successful few seasons for the Amherst Mammoths – they were top-ranked to end the regular season last year, falling only to Gustavus in the DIII final after three (3!) overtime sessions. This season, they're 6-0-1 so far, starting their season late but certainly with a bang; their one tie this season has come at the hands of Middlebury College, the 2022 DIII champs who are tailing them in the rankings currently. Their most recent win was a decisive 5-0 shutout against Manhattanville, where 13 different Mammoths players hit the score sheet (bringing a whole new meaning to the term "scoring by committee").
Middlebury, for its part, is 5-2-1, not in a position to reprise their unreal undefeated performance in 2022 but still right in the mix with the best of them. They kept it fairly close against Plattsburgh in a 3-1 loss and were able to split the weekend with Amherst at the beginning of this past month; similar to the Mammoths, though, their one drawback has been on the offensive end, with five of eight games featuring fewer than three goals forced. Granted, this is a roster on the younger side age-wise, with four of the top five scorers being underclassmen, so I'm impressed with their ability to keep up with some of these other teams.
Lastly, we have the pride of the State University of New York system: Plattsburgh. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cardinals were the undisputed dynasty of not just SUNYAC but of Division III overall. They'd won five of the six championships held from 2014-2019, and they have always been in the conversation when it comes to postseason. Senior Julia Masotta leads the Cardinals in scoring with 19 points, but freshman Zsofia Pazmandi has also been a huge standout, with 11 points (9 G, 2 A) in 11 games and an astonishing four game-winning goals.
You can check the full, most recent DIII rankings here at USCHO.com.