NCAA week 11 preview: top two border battle

Four of the top five teams face each other in an important weekend

Week 10 saw Merrimack prevail over Yale to win the Nutmeg Classic while Clarkson beat Vermont to win the Windjammer Classic. Week 11’s slate is dominated by the top two teams in No. 1 Wisconsin and No. 2 Minnesota duking it out in Madison while No. 3 St. Lawrence kicks off their series against No. 5 Clarkson on Thursday in Potsdam.

John Mazza previews Week 11:

No. 2 Minnesota @ No. 1 Wisconsin, Saturday, Dec. 3, and Sunday, Dec. 4

  • After sweeping Bemidji State, the Gophers are looking to keep up the momentum against rival Wisconsin.
  • Saturday afternoon, Minnesota shut out the Beavers 4-0 at home. Redshirt junior Sidney Peters (Geneva, Ill.) made 18 saves to ensure the blank slate.
  • The next day Minnesota defeated Bemidji 4-1. Kelly Pannek (Plymouth, Minn.) and Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth, Minn.) each scored twice to lead the Gophers to victory.
  • Wisconsin is coming off a sweep of Cornell and hoping to keep the No. 1 spot.
  • Going into the third, the Badgers and Big Red were scoreless. At 11:14 in the final frame, Baylee Wellhausen (Williams Bay, Wis.) opened up the floodgates. Adding two more goals, Wisconsin shut out Cornell 3-0, giving netminder Nikki Cece (Oakville, Ont.) her first career shutout.
  • During the 5-2 win the next day Annie Pankowski (Laguna Hills, Calif.) continued her scoring streak. She now has six goals in the last three game and doesn’t look to be slowing down. /

No. 5 Clarkson @ No. 3 St. Lawrence, Saturday, Dec. 3

  • Clarkson won the Windjammer Classic last weekend.
  • After skating to a 3-3 tie with Robert Morris, the two teams went to a shootout to decide who would move on to the final. In the fourth round, Savannah Harmon (Downers Grove, Ill.) found the back of the net while goaltender Shea Tiley (Owen Sound, Ont.) made the save, pushing Clarkson past Robert Morris.
  • In the final, Clarkson scored two goals in the third period to defeat host Vermont, winning the tournament. Cassidy Vinkle (Belleville, Ont.) scored the game-winning goal early in the final frame and was named MVP of the tournament.
  • After sweeping Penn State, the Saints had Thanksgiving weekend off.
  • The Monday before Thanksgiving, St. Lawrence shut out Penn State 3-0. Kennedy Marchment (Courtice, Ont.) scored two goals in the victory.
  • The next day saw another blank slate, the fifth in a row for the Saints. With the 2-0 shutout, Grace Harrison (Auckland, New Zealand) now holds the program record for most shutouts in a single season. /

RIT @ Syracuse, Friday, Dec. 2, and v Syracuse, Saturday, Dec. 3

  • RIT split the series last week against Rensselaer.
  • Freshman Tori Haywood (Pickering, Ont.) scored her first collegiate goal, but Rensselaer scored five power play goals, defeating the Tigers 5-1.
  • The Tigers bounced back the next day, defeating the Engineers 3-1. Sophomore Kendall Cornine (Kinnelon, N.J.) recorded a career-high three points (1G, 2A) to lead RIT to the win.
  • In a weekend that should have seen two losses, Syracuse split the series with No. 7 North Dakota.
  • Towards the end of the first period, the Orange went on the power play. Lindsay Eastwood (Kanata, Ont.) found the back of the net, scoring the game-winning goal in the 3-0 shutout of the Fighting Hawks.
  • Syracuse could not carry that momentum to the next day, getting shut out 3-0 by North Dakota. Netminder Abbey Miller (Anoka, Minn.) turned away 22 of the 25 shots she faced. /

Vermont @ No. 10 Northeastern, Saturday, Dec. 3, and Sunday, Dec. 4

  • Last weekend Vermont hosted the second annual Windjammer Classic, losing in the final.
  • The Catamounts defeated St. Cloud State 5-1. Senior Bridget Baker (Los Gatos, Calif.) scored her first career hat trick, pushing Vermont to the final.
  • Facing No. 5 Clarkson in the final, Vermont couldn’t hold an early lead and fell 3-1. Sarah Kelly (Vestal, N.Y.) scored midway through the first period, but Clarkson tied it before the end of the period. After a scoreless second period, Clarkson scored twice in third, winning the tournament.
  • Northeastern only played one game last weekend, against No. 6 and Hockey East rival Boston College.
  • Trailing entering the third period, the Huskies scored twice in under two minutes to take the lead. This lead only lasted 24 seconds, and BC scored three unanswered goals to win 4-2. McKenna Brand (Nevis, Minn.) scored her third shorthanded goal this season in the loss, tying for the NCAA lead. /

Robert Morris @ Penn State, Saturday, Dec. 3, and Sunday, Dec. 4

  • Placing third in the Windjammer Classic, Robert Morris is hoping to break into the top 10 this week against Penn State.
  • In the shootout loss to Clarkson, blueliner Kirsten Welsh (Blackstock, Ont.) scored two goals, including the game-tying goal late in the third.
  • RMU went on to face St. Cloud State in the consolation game. Freshman Jaycee Gebhard (Plenty, Sask.) scored her first collegiate hat trick, helping defeat the Huskies 5-3.
  • Penn State was swept by St. Lawrence just before the Thanksgiving break.
  • In the first loss, Hannah Ehresmann (Minnetonka, Minn.) made 34 saves but could not keep her team from being shut out 3-0.
  • The Nittany Lions were shut out again the next day, this time 2-0. Again netminder Ehresmann had a stellar game, making 33 saves, but the offense could not find the back of the Saints net.  /

Note: All rankings listed are from Week 10’s SB Nation’s Women’s College Hockey Division 1 Poll.