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Quinnipiac wins ECAC for first time
No. 4 Quinnipiac secured its first ECAC Hockey title with a 9-0 drubbing of Union on Friday. Taylar Cianfarano scored four of the goals and assisted on another, Nicole Kosta had a goal and three assists, while Nicole Connery and Emma Woods had three-point games that included two goals and one goal, respectively. Sydney Rossman had the shutout. The Bobcats took a victory lap on Saturday with a 4-0 win over Rensselaer, upping Rossman’s season shutout total to 15. Emma Greco’s first goal of the year four minutes in was the only offense she’d need, but Connery and Kosta wound up with three points apiece.

No. 5 Clarkson finished as the runner-up. The Golden Knights pounded Brown, 7-0, on the strength of a hat trick by Loren Gabel and two goals and an assist from Olivia Howe. Clarkson needed every minute to win a special-teams battle over Yale, 3-2, on Saturday. Ryhen McGill decided it with a power-play goal with 25 seconds left in regulation. Clarkson’s Shannon MacAulay and Yale’s Krista Yip-Chuck also scored power-play goals, while the Golden Knights’ Geneviève Bannon and the Bulldogs’ Eden Murray struck short-handed. Ultimately, McGill’s goal ended Yale’s season, as the Bulldogs fell a point shy of a playoff spot.

Third place goes to No. 8 Princeton. Versus Rensselaer on Friday, Karli Lund scored with three minutes left to give the Tigers a 3-3 tie. That point proved to be enough to get the Engineers into the postseason. They’ll start the playoffs right where they finished the regular season, at Quinnipiac. Fiona McKenna and Kiersten Falck also scored for the Tigers. RPI got 50 saves from Lovisa Selander, two tallies by Shayna Tomlinson, and an unassisted goal by Alexa Gruschow. Princeton ran into another 50-save performance on Saturday, this by Union’s Melissa Black, but the Tigers prevailed, 4-2, after scoring the game’s first four markers. The Dutchwomen’s season comes to an end without a victory.

When it came to fourth place and the final host spot for the quarterfinals, No. 10 Colgate lost the battle to Harvard but won the war. The Crimson prevailed over the Raiders on Friday, 3-2, when Grace Zarzecki scored with less than two minutes gone in the third period. Annika Zalewski had struck twice for Colgate in the middle frame to tie the game, after Miye D’Oench and Sydney Daniels had given Harvard a first-period lead. That outcome tied the two teams in fourth, but the Raiders went back in front with a 1-0 win over Dartmouth. Ashlynne Rando saved all 32 shots, while Christie Honor stopped 34 for the Big Green, but Breanne Wilson-Bennett finally got a puck by her a quarter of the way through the final stanza.

Harvard had to settle for fifth when it lost on Saturday at Cornell, 3-2, meaning Harvard will head back to Colgate for a playoff round. Hanna Bunton fed Jess Brown in front, and the Big Red’s first shot of overtime, 47 seconds into the extra session, lifted them into the playoff field as the seventh seed. Daniels had brought the Crimson back from two goals down, her second goal coming with an extra attacker on the ice and only 26 seconds remaining in regulation.

Cornell combined that win with its 1-0 victory over Dartmouth on Friday to move from ninth up to seventh over the weekend. Paula Voorheis stopped all 28 shots, and although Robyn Chemago countered with 30 saves for the Big Green, Kaitlyn Doering’s short-handed goal midway through the first period was the difference. That earns the Big Red a trip to Potsdam to face Clarkson in the quarters.

The best that St. Lawrence could hope for heading into the weekend was sixth, and a 2-2 tie with Yale and a 3-0 defeat of Brown were enough to achieve that for the Saints. Hannah Miller and Justine Reyes gave SLU leads, but Jamie Haddad and Janelle Ferrara tied it up for the Bulldogs, who in the final analysis needed another goal somewhere on weekend, either scored or denied. Reyes scored twice for the Saints in the win over the Bears. Next weekend, St. Lawrence will travel to Princeton.

CHA follows a familiar formula with Mercyhurst emerging
The Lakers took it down to the final seconds as to whether they’d win the league outright or share it with Syracuse, but a tie with Penn State on Saturday left them alone on top. Brooke Hartwick scored the winning goal 3:21 into the final period on Friday in a 3-1 victory to clinch a share of the crown for Mercyhurst. Emily Janiga and Amy Peterson of PSU had traded goals earlier, and Jaclyn Arbour hit an empty net. Hartwick scored both goals for the Lakers in the 2-2 tie, while Peterson and Laura Bowman connected for the Nittany Lions.

After losing the CHA tourney in overtime last year, Syracuse finished a heartbreaking second once more. The Orange swept Lindenwood, 6-1 and 2-0, but lost out by one point in the standings. Stephanie Grossi’s hat trick highlighted the first game, and Alysha Burriss also had three points. Maddi Welch stopped all 17 shots in the second game, and Grossi and Jessica Sibley scored.

Carly Payerl’s goal with 34 seconds left in overtime gave RIT a 3-2 win on Saturday and denied Robert Morris the league’s third seed. The Colonials finish tied with Penn State, but the Nittany Lions had a 2-0-2 record in the head-to-head play with RMU. Jess Paton and Darcy Henderson also scored for the Tigers. Anissa Gamble and Mackenzie Johnston struck for Robert Morris, the latter short-handed. Brittany Howard scored twice to give the Colonials a 2-0 win in the series opener, with Jessica Dodds saving all 16 shots.

Mercyhurst and Syracuse receive byes into the semifinals, while RIT visits Penn State and Lindenwood is at Robert Morris.

Final shuffling complete in Hockey East
No. 1 Boston College put the finishing touches on its perfect regular season with a couple of blowouts of Providence, 7-1 and 9-1. In the first game, Dana Trivigno scored twice with two helpers, Alex Carpenter and Haley Skarupa each had a goal with two assists, Megan Keller had three helpers, and Toni Ann Miano tallied twice. In the finale, Andie Anastos netted a hat trick plus an assist, and Skarupa and Miano enjoyed three-point games. Next weekend, the Eagles host Maine, which was idle.

No. 6 Northeastern won the home half of its home-and-home series with Boston University, and in so doing held onto the league’s second seed. The Terriers won, 3-2, on Friday, thanks to 48 saves by Erin O’Neil and goals from Dakota Woodworth, Jordan Juron, and Victoria Bach. The Huskies bounced back with a 6-2 triumph, with Kendall Coyne clicking for two goals and an assist, and Ainsley MacMillan chipping in with three helpers. Northeastern hosts Providence in the first round.

New Hampshire and Connecticut split 2-1 decisions in Durham, and that was enough to lift the Wildcats to the fifth seed and set up a rematch next weekend between the two squads in Storrs. Carlee Toews scored the winning goal on a UNH power-play with 2:42 left on Saturday. The Wildcats also got a goal from Jonna Curtis and 18 saves by Kyra Smith. On Sunday, Theresa Knutson scored her second goal of the game 1:25 into overtime for the Huskies after Elaine Chuli had made 29 stops.

Merrimack finishes its first season with a three-game unbeaten streak, and that development dropped Vermont down to the sixth seed. The Warriors triumphed, 2-1, over the Catamounts on Friday. Paige Voight and Paige Sorensen scored power-play goals and Samantha Ridgewell turned away 25 shots. Down 3-0 after 6:27 on Saturday, Merrimack rallied for a 3-3 tie, capped by Annie Boeckers’ extra-attacker goal with 61 seconds left. Vermont will face Boston University in its quarterfinal.

Order unchanged in WCHA
WCHA teams came out of the final weekend in the same order that they entered.

Despite being swept at No. 3 Minnesota, No. 2 Wisconsin will be the league’s top seed and will host Minnesota State. Amanda Kessel scored twice, the second giving her 100 goals as a Gopher, in her team’s 4-0 win on Friday. Hannah Brandt had two assists, giving her 161 for her career, moving her ahead of Jocelyne Lamoureux for the most assists in WCHA history and into second place in the NCAA behind Julie Chu. Amanda Leveille’s 35-save shutout gives her 30 in her career. Kelly Pannek scored with 54 seconds left in overtime to lift Minnesota to a 4-3 win on Saturday; she also had two helpers. Annie Pankowski had tied the game on a third-period penalty shot.

No. 7 Bemidji State swept Minnesota State, 3-1 and 2-1. Brittni Mowat made 23 saves on Friday for the Beavers, who got a short-handed goal from Stephanie Anderson, a game-winner by Summer Thibodeau, and an empty-netter via Kaitlyn Tougas. Anna-Maria Fiegert gave the Mavericks a lead on Saturday, but BSU won on goals by Lauren Miller and Kristen Huber. Next up, the third-seeded Beavers will host Minnesota-Duluth.

No. 9 North Dakota split with Ohio State. The Buckeyes took Friday’s contest, 3-1. Alex LaMere made 31 saves, and Maddie Field, Dani Sadek, and Claudia Kepler scored, Kepler’s into an empty net. Down 2-0 before Saturday’s game was three minutes old, the Fighting Hawks rallied to a 3-2 win on goals by Amy Menke, Becca Kohler, and Meghan Dufault. Next weekend, the Buckeyes head to Minneapolis, while UND hosts St. Cloud State.

The Huskies finished fifth after trading 3-2 wins with Minnesota-Duluth. Katie Fitzgerald made 31 saves to preserve Friday’s win, in which SCSU raced ahead on goals by Molly Illikainen, Lauren Hespenheide, and Lexi Slattery. On Saturday, the Bulldogs’ Michelle Löwenhielm scored the winning goal with five minutes left, 45 seconds after Julia Tylke had tied it up for the Huskies.

  • Redhawk fan13

    Unfortunately OSU has a two point lead over Miami and Western.

    • Paula Weston

      Thanks.  

      • Fox5 2

        Ladies and Gents can we change the subject for a minute.The hockey poll voters are getting as bad as those for ncaa football.Can anyone give me an explaination on how teams can lose six straight games and 3 out of 4 and stay in the top 7?It just doesn’t make sense 2 me.CCHA best conference in the country going 2 miss it.

  • Decatur Spartan.

    With just 6 pts separating first from eighth, it looks like a very fun race to the end of the season. No team can take another for granted any longer.
    Time to hold your breath!
    Go Spartans!
     

    • Paula Weston

      This season is awesome!  I hope that the CCHA’s last year, next season, will be as thrilling.  

  • John Fitzgerald

    “Histories of sustained success?”  Journalistic Creativity at it’s best.  Berenson has traditionally used the GLI as a springboard, and this year seems no different as their slump was in November and December.  However nobody fears the Block(head) M any longer as the “Yost Ghosts” were chased away in 2011 by many teams.  History is a class, not a predestined determination of an outcome of a sport played by 8-24 yr old males.

    The CCHA standings are condensed due to a surprising 1st year by Anastos @ MSU and Murray has kept the Broncos staying relevant (although the offense took the weekend off vs Miami of Ohio), plus as you’ve mentioned recently, the 3 points earned for a regulation W.  Miami of Ohio, OSU and U of M have all played 2 extra games so far, so other than Bowling Green living in the basement this year, almost every contest during the next six weeks will be a “pivotal positional” game.

    GO BRONCOS!!

    • Paula Weston

      Um, maybe I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that 21 consecutive NCAA appearances is a history of sustained success, nor do I think it’s a stretch to say that a team that has had a run of six consecutive NCAA appearances — and Frozen Four appearances in 2009 and 2011 — makes an argument for a history of sustained success.

      The Broncos were in the NCAA tournament last year for the first time since 1996.  They look like they’ll make the tournament again this year.  This is a good start toward building a history of sustained success — but they haven’t done so yet.

      Players in programs with ongoing success understand better than players from emerging programs how to be successful — even when it appears that they’re slumping.  They may not achieve that success, but they have far more experience at their disposal than players in other programs.

      No one fears Michigan?  Really?  Given their history, I doubt that any coach in the league is thinking, “Gee, I’d really like to face Michigan in the playoffs.”  I’m not sure any coach in the country would say that.  Same goes for the RedHawks.  

      • Hawks

        Any school from Boston would want to face the Redhawks :/

      • John Fitzgerald

        Other than my “Go Broncos” sign-off, this wasn’t about the Bronco’s and their recent success as much as it was the Michigan Hockey Team’s past success not being relevant in 2012.  Yes, players have to learn how to win, and that confidence is developed with the influence of others.  But sports in general has examples of “teams rising above and surpassing their historical results.  Underachievers and overachievers are why games are played and not decided based on “Statistics”.  And yes, any coach/player lacing up their skates that is should want to play Michigan or Miami University anywhere, anytime, otherwise I don’t want them playing for WMU.  Call Andy Murray and ask him if he “really wants to play Michigan in the playoffs”. 

    • Bob

      All’s I’m saying is this is another case in point of delusional Western Michigan fans having come out of the woodwork lately.

      • John Fitzgerald

        Bob….This has nothing to do with the 1 and 1/2 years of improved play at Western Michigan, but more that Michigan has proven that they can be vulnerable and their history isn’t relevant this year.  They’ve got great players, but the parity in the CCHA that is apparent in the 2011-2012 is more relevant than the overall coaching record of Red Berenson. 

        • UM Deker

          The biggest reason for the UM Nov slump was turnovers in the defensive end. (3 unassisted goals by Union was the low point) After 7 game winless streak, UM was still 5th in scoring nationally. Since getting Merrill back the defense has been much improved and they have only one loss (@ND).

  • Miami

    John who is Miami of Ohio?

    • LoveAndHonor

      Miami University … Love and Honor