Goaltending matters
This is hardly a revolutionary concept, but the game provides constant reminders of the fact that goaltender is the most vital position.

Consider Providence. On Saturday while hosting Mercyhurst, the Friars played all three of their goaltenders in a 5-0 loss. Starting goalie Sarah Bryant yielded three goals on eight shots and was yanked with just over three minutes gone in the second period. Nina Riley finished up the frame and was touched for two power-play goals on 12 shots. Allie Morse played the third period, stopping all 16 shots she faced. So who did coach Bob Deraney turn to on Sunday? Bryant again, and it was apparently the right choice, because she saved 47 out of 49 shots as Providence gained a split with a 3-2 win.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the ice in that series, the Lakers’ Amanda Makela went from a 31-save shutout to being beaten by three of 23 shots on goal in the loss. Obviously, not all shots that goaltenders face are equal, but I’m guessing it would be safe to conclude that each starting goaltender played better in the game her team won than she did in the loss. What a difference a day makes.

Further evidence of goalie importance was displayed in Minneapolis. On Friday, No. 4 Wisconsin entered the second period tied with the No. 1 Gophers and proceeded to fire 18 shots on net over the next 20 minutes, many of them high-quality scoring chances. Minnesota sophomore Amanda Leveille handled them all. Her team came out of the second intermission still tied, played better, and was able to score a goal to decide the game. It wouldn’t have had that opportunity for the 2-1 win without Leveille’s heroics. She faced far fewer point-blank chances in the series’ second game while earning a 2-0 shutout, with Kelly Terry supplying both goals in the third period.

Oh, those two-goal leads
In a key conference clash in Grand Forks, both No. 9 Minnesota-Duluth and No. 6 North Dakota had an opportunity to hold a two-goal lead, the supposed worst lead in hockey, without success. The Bulldogs led 3-1 on Saturday, thanks in part to two Jenna McParland tallies. Michelle Karvinen set up a pair of goals 50 seconds apart early in the third stanza, and Josefine Jakobsen won it for the hosts, 4-3.

UMD had a three-goal run of its own Sunday in just over four minutes late in the second period to take a 3-2 lead. Once again, the Bulldogs were unable to close it out, and once more, Jakobsen was the hero, knotting the game at three with under four minutes left. After overtime failed to determine a winner, Susanna Tapani had the only shootout goal to earn her team the extra WCHA point.

Union improving in defeat
The Dutchwomen (2-3-0) lost a pair of heartbreakers at home. Coach Claudia Asano Barcomb said coming into the season that her team has struggled to finish close games, and that proved true again. Northeastern scored two third-period goals, a short-hander by Kelly Wallace and a final-minute goal from Maggie DiMasi, in defeating the hosts on Friday, 2-1. The next day, Boston University tied the game at two on an extra-attacker goal by Louise Warren with 32 seconds remaining, sending the game to overtime, where sophomore Rebecca Russo’s second goal of the game won it for the Terriers.

Squeakers abound
Of the 27 games played over the weekend, there were four ties. The contests produced 11 one-goal games, two of which were won in overtime, meaning only 12 games had multiple-goal margins.

How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 2 Boston College swept St. Lawrence by 5-2 and 2-1 scores. Haley Skarupa’s hat trick made the first game easy in comparison to Saturday, where rookie Andie Anastos’ third goal of the season was the difference.

No. 3 Clarkson won the road half of a home-and-home series with Syracuse, 2-1, thanks to a pair of Carly Mercer goals. She had another three points on home ice, where Erica Howe backed a 4-0 shutout.

No. 7 Boston University opened with a 2-2 tie with Rensselaer. Jordan Juron and Rebecca Russo collaborated on both goals. The Terriers got into the win column the next day at Union.

No. 10 Ohio State had to settle for a 2-2 tie on Friday when St. Cloud State’s Cari Coen scored with 10 minutes left. Ali Tarr, Danielle Gagne, and both Kari and Sara Schmitt had two-point efforts in a 4-2 Buckeyes win on Saturday in Columbus.

No. 8 Harvard is still idle, and Cornell, tied for the fourth spot with Wisconsin, opens by hosting Northeastern on Saturday and Sunday.

  • Paula Weston

    There’s OSU basketball Friday night in the Schott … but I still don’t understand why that means a noon game Friday rather than some other solution for VCA’s secondary tenants (a.k.a., men’s ice hockey).  Thanks for the email, KG.

  • Ctodt

    SECONDARY? If Barry Manilow came to town, he’d take precedence over OSU Hockey! 

  • Bob

    Ohio State has a hockey program?

  • Swoop12

    I know Miami is rebuilding but there is no way Miami will get swept by the rodents.

    • streaker

      Where I agree that Miami is not an easy place to sweep, especially for Michigan, anything is possible. I call split, too, but only b/c it’s in Oxford. We’ll see if the Hawks young guys mature come Feb when they go to Yost. I guess losing Cannone, Camper and Miele meant that they can’t score anymore even with ten seniors and a couple juniors- and mind you, they were preseason #1. I’m not buying into the rebuilding nonsense.

      • Bob

        I didn’t know you guys knew who “That Miele Guy” was!

      • Paula Weston

        Maybe “rebuilding” is the wrong word, streaker, since they don’t have rebuild from top to bottom.  We’ve all seen before, though, when a team is too reliant on a small group of scorers or one really great goaltender — and then falters after key players depart.  I never suspected this would have been the case in Oxford.  Clearly, the weekend against Michigan — which is absolutely a top team — indicates that there are other things going on in the program.  It’s hard to say.  

      • Bob

        It’s reasonably simple. Miami is replacing three of the most dynamic scorers in school history and is starting 5 freshmen forwards. It’s only a matter of time until they start to gel.

  • KAW

    Lake State and Ferris split. Miami surprises the rodents with a split, too. Northern will get the sweep.

  • Rick Rhoades78

    The Wildcats are winless in 5 game but getting it down with some quality teams! #getrdone

  • OSU Hockey fan

    Paula. This weekend at VCA there are two OSU Hockey games, one men’s basketball and one womens basketball game. Too expensive to rent out Nationwide Arena. They could have had the game in the old ice rink.

    • Paula Weston

      I know that.  What I don’t know is why a Friday nooner was the only solution.  It’s a first. 

  • KAW

    Paula, you were spot-on with your analysis of WMU before the season. They have it together, but they need a good starting goalie to back it all up. Outshooting your opponent 40-16 and then losing 3-2 is completely unacceptable.