Action heating up
All of the teams have returned to the ice in 2013, with the exception of New Hampshire; the Wildcats make their first appearance on Tuesday at Union. The rest of the clubs provided much to discuss, particularly near the top of the rankings, so that’s where we’ll start this week.

How the Top 10 fared
The highlight of the week came on Sunday when two Frozen Four participants from 10 months ago met, as No. 4 Cornell visited No. 3 Boston College. For the second time in just over a week, the Eagles came away with a 4-3 win in overtime against an NCAA tournament team from last year. Sophomore Emily Field made something happen on a seemingly innocent rush and whipped a forehand from below the faceoff dot into the top corner on the far side that eluded Lauren Slebodnick’s glove 91 seconds into the extra session. Haley Skarupa scored an extra-attacker goal in the final minute of regulation to draw the hosts even, her second tally of the game. Freshman Monika Leck had staked Cornell to a 3-2 lead late in the middle period. The difference was likely that the Eagles’ stars were able to impact the game more positively than the top players for the Big Red. Field, Skarupa, Alex Carpenter, and Blake Bolden combined for three goals, five assists, and a plus-8 aggregate; Brianne Jenner, Jilliane Saulnier, Lauriane Rougeau, and Laura Fortino collectively countered with a single assist and an even rating.

That was BC’s third triumph of the week, as it pulled away from No. 9 Northeastern over the final two periods for a 6-2 victory and smoked Vermont, 7-2, behind a five-point hat trick from Skarupa and 62 shots on goal. Corinne Boyles has started nine straight games in net for the Eagles, all wins, and is now 14-1 on the campaign.

Northeastern fell to the Big Red on Saturday, 4-2, despite leading 2-1 at the midpoint of the game. Jenner had three points and Jessica Campbell two goals, including one while short-handed, to fuel Cornell. It remains to be seen whether that costs that Huskies in the polls, because the teams closest on their heels in the voting each suffered a pair of defeats as well.

No. 10 Ohio State couldn’t get its offense untracked in Madison and went down by scores of 4-1 and 2-1 to No. 8 Wisconsin. The Badgers got 49 saves from Alex Rigsby and two goals and two assists by Brianna Decker in the series.

Sitting just outside the rankings, North Dakota did better offensively than anyone else has this season against No. 1 Minnesota, but had no answers for Amanda Kessel and Hannah Brandt at the other end of the ice and lost consecutive 6-3 decisions. Kessel got loose for six goals, including a four-goal game on Friday, and added four assists, while Brandt had a seven-point weekend. UND provided the Gophers with some film to analyze, as four of its goals came on the power play, including three from Michelle Karvinen.

No. 2 Harvard got shutouts from Laura Bellamy and Emerance Maschmeyer and took care of Providence, 3-0, and Quinnipiac, 4-0. The Crimson have opened up a four-point gap in the ECAC race.

No. 5 Clarkson squeaked out a sweep on the road. Brittany Styner supplied both goals to best Brown, 2-1. Goalie Erica Howe made Jamie Lee Rattray’s first-period, short-handed goal stand up for a 1-0 win at Yale.

No. 6 Boston University ventured to Maine and came home with 5-2 and 4-2 victories. Louise Warren had a goal and an assist in each contest, including a successful penalty shot on Sunday. Warren had the same line on Tuesday at Connecticut in another 4-2 triumph, while her linemates, Isabel Menard and Kayla Tutino, each had a goal with two helpers.

Sophomore Amanda Makela limited Syracuse to one goal on 54 shots as No. 7 Mercyhurst claimed 1-0 and 4-1 verdicts. Rookie Emily Janiga opened the second game with a pure hat trick.

CHA chaos
If something unexpected is going to happen, expect it to happen in the CHA. Lindenwood recorded its first road win in the conference by taking down Robert Morris on Friday by a 5-2 margin. Alison Wickenheiser and Kendra Broad each scored twice. The Colonials reversed the score on Saturday behind a pair of goals by Maddie Collias.

RIT lost its second one-goal decision of the season to Colgate of the ECAC. An early two-goal lead for the Tigers evaporated, and the Raiders’ Brittany Philips completed her own pure hat trick in OT for a 3-2 win.

Penn State fell a goal short both days at Union; the Dutchwomen posted 1-0 and 2-1 wins to up their win total to a program-best seven.

Big week for Big Green
Dartmouth earned three wins in a span of four days versus Vermont, Quinnipiac, and Princeton by scores of 4-2, 5-2, and 6-2 respectively. The offensive highlight was yet another natural hat trick, this time courtesy of Camille Dumais versus the Tigers. The Big Green improve their record to 11-5-2 on the season.

Storied programs trying to rally
Three teams with no shortage of past glories but coming off of rough first halves registered much-needed sweeps. Senior Jessica Wong moved back up front for Minnesota-Duluth, centering Jamie Kenyon and Jenna McParland as their line accounted for seven goals in 3-1 and 8-2 wins over St. Cloud State. Haley Frade had a three-point weekend for Providence to enable the Friars to escape Rensselaer by scores of 2-1 and 3-2. St. Lawrence got at least one scoring point from 10 different skaters in beating Yale, 5-1, and eight more Saints contributed offensively in a 4-3 win at Brown.

  • Guest

    DU & UND a “possible Final Five Championship preview” – let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here…

    • Guest

      Or this? ”
      No team in the WCHA matches Minnesota’s depth at forward”.
      Minnesota’s depth at forward ends after Rau and Bjugstad.  Patterson better hope he is on top of his game when Rau and Bjugstad are having lack luster performances.

      • RBTGT

         Notwithstanding that UNO has one of the better penalty kills in the nation.

      • GoldyTheGreat

        6 forwards with double digit goals is pretty good depth.

        • Scott Reed

          yes, but their other forwards are seeing a lot better matchups and would not be doing as well if it wasn’t for your first line drawing all the attention.  but you are right, depth at forward is not a problem for the gophers

          • GoldyTheGreat

            I don’t really understand your line of reasoning.

          • Scott Reed

            doesn’t surprise me… your a gopher fan there is probably a lot of things you don’t understand

          • GoldyTheGreat

            Ha. Just giving you a chance to elaborate Scott. Your comment was ridiculous and didn’t make any sense. The Gophers swept Omaha by the way…

          • Scott Reed

            Hindsight is 20/20… I too can read the news. 

          • Mike Brodkorb

            The first line is DOMINANT. The 2nd and 3rd are also excellent, and could be a first line at many other programs.

          • GoldyTheGreat

            Yeah exactly.. And our first line is made up of 1 Freshmen (Rau), 1 Sophomore (Bjugstad) and 1 Red shirt Sophomore (Budish). Honestly this line has dominated and will only get better in the future.

          • 2/3rds of that line will be gonzo next year.

            So much for the future.

          • Phoenixfyre1313

            highly doubtful.  Maybe 1/3, but that is unlikely also.

          • GoldyTheGreat

            Ha. Hopefully.. Then you’ll be able to sleep at night.

          • Scott Reed

            None of them will graduate a gopher

          • Goldy

            Since when has a top college athletes main goal to get a diploma?

          • Scott Reed

            It never has been but when the conversation goes down the road of the gophers future… and the its all based around a freshman and a shopmore.  The point that they aren’t going to stay 4 years, (the future) is a very valid point that your obviously not smart enough to grasp

          • Phoenixfyre1313

            Budish likely will, but then that wasn’t the direction of the conversation.

          • DMOLDS19

            im not sure i understand, i feel like you basically said “if you didnt have GREAT players (first line) your team wouldnt be GOOD”. but we do have a few great player so our team is good.

          • Scott Reed

            No not really what I said at all.  If the first line wasn’t so good then the rest of the lines would see tougher matchups more often and not have as good of numbers.  

      • Steven Pfeiffer

        Have you ever watched a Gopher game,or are you just spewing incoherently?

      • xTEDxTHExREDx

        UMD is comparable if not better than UMTC when it comes to forwards. You guys can spew all the stats you want but the point is while you guys were padding your stats against absolute crap compitition the Bulldogs were busy playing teams like Notre Dame, western michigan, and providence. Rau would be a 3rd or 4th liner for UMD. I can’t wait to play the Gophers (final five/NCAA’s) again I really like our chances this time around.

        • xTEDxTHExREDx

          P.S. Reiter runs rings around Patterson.

          • Phoenixfyre1313

            Ted, Ted, Ted you have an argument about the first lines for UMD and the Gophers, but your comment about Patterson and Reiter is way off base.  Let’s review the facts shall we?  On the national level Patterson is the 9th ranked goalie, Reiter 26th.  wins Patterson 21, Reiter 18, save% Patterson .917, Reiter  .910, GAA Patterson 2.09, Reiter 2.44 shutouts Patterson 7, Reiter 3.  In the WCHA, Patterson is ranked as the #1 goalie, Rieter 6th.  Wins Patterson 17, Reiter 13, Save %  Patterson .922, Reiter .905, GAA Patterson 2.00, Reiter 2.61, shutouts Patterson 4, Reiter 3.  So show me exactly where Reiter runs rings around Patterson, except in your head????  Next time you care to spew senseless garbage, how about backing it up with facts or just keeping it to yourself!

          • GoldyTheGreat

            Nice burn.

        • guest

          Wait a minute…this Providence team you’re referring to isn’t by chance the same team that’s nowhere to be found in the PWR top 32, is it? It’s also funny that you failed to mention UMD had that real gut-checking series against Alabama-Huntsville. By the way, the Gopher’s played Notre Dame too, along with Michigan State. Know stuff about stuff before you subject us all to your ignorance-laden rants.

          • xTEDxTHExREDx

            your team is crap and we are gonna expose you son.

          • jdhockeyboyz

            I suggest more ice and more mix.

          • xTEDxTHExREDx

            Providence is middle of the table in Hockey east buddy. i was just stating that the gophs stats are inflated from beating SACRED HEART 15-0 over a weekend.

          • guest

            Providence is .500 in the conference and below .500 overall, barely a resume to base your argument on, but that’s beside the point. Are you saying that UMD didn’t put A-H on their schedule to pad their stats as well? The fact that UMD was unable to put up more points against their “cream puff” has nothing to do with Minnesota handling their business when they played Sacred Heart.

          • Several points:

            There’s a reason the UAH goalie is transferring to NoDak–because he’s better than Sacred Heart’s ‘tender..

            UAH has no conference.  UMD–along with Miami, Denver, Omaha, Maine, Western Michigan and Ohio State–threw them a bone so they could actually HAVE a hockey program.

            Quick question: Does Gophers remember that there is actually college hockey played after the second weekend in March?

          • GoldyTheGreat

            Didn’t your team lose to Alaska Anchorage and get blasted 5-0 by Michigan Tech?.. 

          • Let’s see: Niagara (cupcake), Vermont (cupcake and a loss), Sacred Heart (cupcake), Northeastern (loss), Michigan State (loss & tie), Notre Dame (loss)……

            Looking at which team took care of business in the non-conference schedule, it’s no wonder we’re ahead of y’all in the PWR.

            If you’re gonna schedule cupcakes, you sure as h*ll better win.

          • GoldytheGreat

            Lol… Ya’ll? Is that how you guys talk up there in Duluth? You’re going to penalize us for beating down Sacred Heart and Niagra? Didn’t your team barely beat the worst team in college hockey (Huntesville)? Don’t forget about being swept by the Gophers at home earlier this season. And if those loses don’t count for some odd reason (which apparently to Duluth fans they don’t) then our early season losses are irrelevant.

          • WCHA HOCKEY

            These two Bulldog fans are on their own in this one, they don’t rep UMD as a whole at all.

          • skiumah2

            And UMD had a chance to “pad” their stats against Alabama Huntsville but didn’t. A great hockey mind you are not.

          • Gopher record vs. CCHA teams: 0-2-1

            UMD record vs. CCHA teams: 3-1-0

            Eat it.

          • Phoenixfyre1313

            As I recall you play in the WCHA, too bad you couldn’t post similar number against your conference opponents…..

        • WCHA HOCKEY

          Rau is a first liner where ever he goes, as a Bulldog fan as well, I can’t see where in the line up he would ever end up on the 4th line. Caleb Herbert is a great freshman and was starting for the Bulldogs, but he is not better then Rau, so this is nonsence. If Rau went to UMD he would go great with Jack and Travis on the first line.

    • Scott Reed

      we’ve seen crazier things… but your right…on the other hand they are both playing hot at the right time of the year. 

    • Aj Sollom

      The final five championship refers to the final five games in the wcha tournament. So its the 6 teams left after first round of playoffs. Having said that, it is quite possible denver and nodak could play each other in that second round, and thats what the author meant. He was not reffering to the final five championship game, although i can see where you may have been confused

  • Scott Reed

    Bulldog sweep at home, gophers split on the road losing friday night, UND/denver split.  that puts the dogs and gophers tied at 36 and denver at 32 and a tie for 4th at 29. That leaves a final weekend with all 3 places in the conference up for grabs.  Its going to be a great couple fo weeks for WCHA hockey!