McCloskey out at New Hampshire
Brian McCloskey became the second coach in Hockey East to be removed during the current season. New Hampshire ended McCloskey’s employment on Dec. 5 in response to an incident with one of his players on the team’s bench during the team’s game versus Ohio State on Nov. 30. He was midway through his 12th season in charge of the Wildcats, having led them to 252 wins, six straight Hockey East regular season titles from 2004-09, league tournament crowns in the last four of those years, and five NCAA Tournament appearances from 2006-10, including reaching the Frozen Four in 2006 and 2008.
For the immediate future, the Wildcats will be directed by associate head coach Jamie Wood and assistant Stephanie Jones. After falling to Harvard, 5-0, on Friday, the team got its first win of the post-McCloskey era on Sunday, defeating Dartmouth, 2-1. After Lindsey Allen gave the Big Green a first-period lead, Jessica Hitchcock and Hannah Armstrong scored in the second and third periods, respectively. Ashley Wilkes recorded 24 saves to get the win.
In a series that promised to have huge implications come March when selections are made for the national tournament, No. 4 North Dakota and No. 6 Clarkson split 2-1 decisions. UND sandwiched goals from Josefine Jakobsen and Lisa Marvin in the odd periods around a Shelby Nisbet tally in the middle stanza. Shelby Amsley-Benzie’s 26 saves ensured that two goals would be enough.
The host Golden Knights struck back on Saturday, when Jamie Lee Rattray put them ahead to stay just 26 seconds into the game. Her second goal on a power play late in the second frame proved to be needed insurance as Amy Menke put UND on the board with 13:05 left. Erica Howe closed the door the rest of the way, finishing with 25 stops.
Another top-10 deadlock
No. 5 Harvard and No. 6 Boston College were also unable to decide anything in a single-game tilt, skating to a 1-1 tie. It looked like the Eagles would be unable to solve Emerance Maschmeyer, and Miye D’Oench’s early goal would prove decisive. However, Katie King Crowley went to her bag of tricks early, and just after the Crimson rang their second pipe of the third period, she sent out an extra attacker earlier than usual, and 25 seconds later, Emily Pfalzer beat Maschmeyer with 87 seconds remaining in regulation. Nobody scored in overtime, although each team came close. Maschmeyer finished with 51 saves and Corinne Boyles handled 35 chances at the other end.
In the Harvard win over UNH, Maschmeyer got the night off and rookie Brianna Liang remained perfect as a collegian by stopping all 29 shots. Hillary Crowe’s two goals and an assist fueled the offense.
The country’s busiest goaltender, Lindenwood’s Nicole Hensley, made 46 saves at Syracuse on Friday to steal a 2-1 game for the Lions. Katie Erickson’s power-play goal with six seconds remaining decided the outcome. Syracuse was able to get three pucks by Hensley out of another 47 shots on Saturday, and it added an empty-net goal for a 4-1 triumph. Margot Scharfe and Nicole Ferrara each had a goal and a helper for the Orange. For the season, Hensley’s 638 saves are 150 more than the next goalie in that category, Minnesota State’s Danielle Butters.
More naughty than nice
If Santa Claus has been watching, then Ohio State wound up on the wrong list heading into Christmas. The Buckeyes showed No. 1 Minnesota just why they are on record pace for penalty minutes with 376 minutes and an average of 20.9 per game, including 29 minutes in their final contest of 2013. That style of play has dropped Ohio State to the WCHA’s cellar halfway through the league slate.
The Gophers took home 9-2 and 5-1 wins from Columbus. Rachael Bona’s first career hat trick highlighted Saturday’s victory, in which Maryanne Menefee and Dani Cameranesi also had multi-goal games. On Sunday, Sarah Davis and defenseman Milica McMillen found the net twice apiece; Bona and McMillen had six-point weekends.
The start of the Yale at Princeton game was delayed by two and a half hours when the scoreboard became stuck on the ice. Once the problem was resolved and the game started, freshman Phoebe Staenz kept the scoreboard moving. She bagged four goals and Jaimie Leonoff made 38 saves as Yale upended Providence, 5-1. Four goals in a game by a Bulldog was last accomplished by Lisa Meyers versus Boston College on Feb. 4, 2001.
Winless no more
The last team without a win ended that frustration on Friday when Maine dropped Brown, 2-1. Katy Massey and Brianne Kilgour scored in the opening frame and freshman Mariah Fujimagari turned aside 20 shots to earn her first win as a Black Bear. Saturday, Brown jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Janice Yang, Jennifer Nedow, and Catherine LeBoeuf. That ended Fujimagari’s day; Meghann Treacy came on in relief and shut Brown down the rest of the way. The Bears were giving two goalies a chance to get their first action in net in place of usual stalwart Aubree Moore. Freshman Monica Elvin handled all 23 shots cleanly, but when sophomore Micaela Ross entered just after the game’s halfway point, Maine rallied. Brittany Huneke, Audra Richards, and Kelly McDonald all scored, the last two coming in the final five minutes. Overtime ended with a 3-3 tie.
How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 2 Wisconsin swept a matchup of backup goalies over Bemidji State. With Badger Alex Rigsby out with a lower-body injury and BSU’s Brittni Mowat ill, Wisconsin won, 7-2 and 5-0. Ann-Renée Desbiens took over for Rigsby and earned both wins, including the shutout. Madison Packer netted a hat trick and Katy Josephs a pair of goals in the opener. Packer had a goal and two assists to spur Sunday’s win.
No. 3 Cornell spotted Syracuse a pair of early goals and stormed back with the game’s final five tallies to win, 5-2. Defenseman Cassandra Poudrier did the most damage with two goals, and Paula Voorheis made 39 saves to claim her first win for the Big Red.
Shiann Darkangelo scored twice and Kelly Babstock added three points in No. 8 Quinnipiac’s 4-2 defeat of Union. Kathryn Tomaselli had both goals for the Dutchwomen. Darkangelo, Nicole Brown, and Morgan Fritz-Ward all had two-point games the next day in the Bobcats 3-1 win over Rensselaer.
Sarah Lefort, Louise Warren, and No. 9 Boston University all enjoyed huge weeks. Lefort had a hat trick and a helper in a 5-2 win over Northeastern on Tuesday. Warren scored the other two goals and assisted twice. Lefort had two more goals with an assist in a wild 6-5 contest with Minnesota-Duluth. Warren had a goal and a helper, as did Samantha Sutherland and Rebecca Russo. Lara Stalder had three helpers for the Bulldogs. The Terriers completed the sweep by a 4-2 score on Saturday. Lefort (2-2-4) and Warren (2-1-3) were the offensive heroes once more, and Victoria Hanson’s 33 saves gained her the win. For the week, Lefort finished with an impressive seven goals and four assists, with Warren not far off with five goals and four assists.
It wasn’t easy, but No. 10 Robert Morris swept RIT on home ice, 2-1 and 4-2. Brittany Howard and Thea Imbrogno contributed a goal and an assist to the opener. Maeve Garvey scored twice in the second game, as the Colonials answered immediately to wipe away two one-goal deficits. Jessica Dodds was in net for both contests and upped her personal mark to 13-0-1 in her first campaign.
Knocking on the door
Mercyhurst indicated that it wants back into the rankings, trouncing Penn State, 7-0 and 8-0. Christine Bestland had a hat trick with an assist, Kaleigh Chippy a pair of tallies, and Emily Janiga added four assists in the first game as Amanda Makela denied all 35 shots. Chippy scored two more, Shelby Bram added a helper to her two goals, and Christie Cicero assisted three times in support of Julia DiTondo’s shutout.