To say that parity has swept the D-III women’s hockey world by storm is an understatement. After the first semester, three teams are left undefeated and then there is a pack of 10 or so teams that have all had impressive victories to date and can be considered contenders to make the NCAA Tournament.

Just in the last weekend, Elmira and Plattsburgh split after Plattsburgh came in undefeated and Elmira was having an average year to date by the Soaring Eagles’ standards. Norwich lost to Trinity and then two days later avenged its loss from last year’s national championship by beating Amherst 5-2. Adrian split with .500 Concordia (Wisc.) and Cortland won its first game of the year against Utica after the Pioneers played two close games with Elmira last weekend.

Meanwhile, RIT and River Falls have asserted theirselves as the team’s to beat in their respective regions as they both carry undefeated records into the holiday break. RIT (13-0-0, 8-0-0 ECAC West) finished up its first semester schedule with a 7-1 win over Hamilton, while River Falls (10-0-0, 6-0-0 NCHA) affirmed its title as the team to beat in the West with a 4-2 win over Gustavus Adolpus.

Middlebury is also undefeated with a 6-0-0 record, but the Panthers have only played one team with a winning record so far in Bowdoin. They’ll get their first major tests right at the start of the second semester on Jan. 2 and 3 when they play Elmira and then either Amherst or Plattsburgh at the Cardinal-Panther Classic in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Player of the Week – Sophie Leclerc, Norwich

Leclerc scored the game-tying goal to help spark Norwich’s run of four third-period unanswered goals to rally past Amherst 5-2 in a rematch of last year’s National Championship game. Leclerc also scored the fourth goal, which gave the Cadets some breathing room. The senior captain also scored the Cadets’ lone goal in Friday’s 2-1 loss at Trinity. She is tied for the nation scoring lead with 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points along with RIT’s Katie Stack.

Goalie of the Week – Laura Sullivan, Elmira

Laura, a sophomore from Toronto, Ont. made 25 saves to help backstop Elmira to a 3-2 win over Plattsburgh on Saturday. She made 36 saves the next night to help the Soaring Eagles stay in contention in a 2-1 loss to Plattsburgh. Sullivan is 7-3-1 on the season with a 1.44 goals against average and a .937 save percentage.

Rookie of the Week – Henriette Ostergaard, St. Norbert

Henriette, a freshman from Herning, Denmark scored four goals and added an assist in a 10-1 win against Marian. She then followed up with a goal in the second game, a 8-0 win over the Sabres. Ostergaard has six goals and three assists on the season for nine points.

This week I’ll be handing out my mid-season awards in my column and then I’ll be taking a few weeks off for the holidays before returning in late December/early January for the Panther-Cardinal Classic Preview.

  • Tc

    Blood is dirty! Just a long line of thugs that Hakstool recruits. And all the nodak fans think it is good hockey!!

    • HHG2737

      The last time I looked, hockey was a contact sport. It’s a fast and physical game, and if those from Hockey East and the ECAC don’t know how to play it, or are confused as to how this game is to really be played, then watch a different sport that may be more appealing and alluring for you…like…volleyball, or underwater basket weaving. But just because the WCHA plays a physical game, we will take penalties. But it is a physical game.

  • LtPowers

    RIT doesn’t have semesters. (Yet.) They’re already in Winter Quarter.

  • David_macalpine7

    are any of theses games televised>

    • After Further Review

      ESPNU and

  • Tricky

    Who were the clowns in stripes and where did they come from? At least they were consistent, but very little flow to the game and I don’t think either team’s 4th line ever saw the ice!

  • Tricky

    Televised on ESPN U

  • guest

    I’m thinking the Michigan goal was a bad call. The puck could have been in but with an original no goal call. The puck has to be 100% over the line with evidence. Does it not?

    • After Further Review

      Definitely agree, it was called no goal on the ice and there is no angle that shows that puck crossing the goal line… bad call.

  • BobbyFal

    An impressive performance by Air Force which shows that physical stamina and puck discipline can keep any game close. There is a very thin margin between the #1 and #16 seed in the tournament as Minnesota recalls from their loss to Holy Cross a few years back.

    • I had a “crucify the gophers” sign taken away from me at said UM-HC game. I guarantee that was the first and last time the crusaders ever have 11000 people cheering like madmen for them

  • bunnylaroque

    the NCAA ought to be ashamed of the rink an
    d ice conditions in Bridgeport. The arena was about 70 degrees (it was 40 degrees outside, so no external excuse), the ice was terrible, with the puck sticking and bouncing all night. The end boards and glass – particularly at the end where the game winner was scored – were uneven, leading to consistently unpredictable bounces. The glass needed resetting at least three times during the game.

    The NCAA seems preoccupied with making sure that arenas are “NCAA Ready” – no outside advertising, all-NCAA all the time, when they should be spending the bulk of their time ensuring that playing conditions are optimal. If they were as good as they could have been last night, then the tournament shouldn’t be held in Bridgeport in the future. It is a shame for the teams to get to this level of the season and play under conditions that did not allow them to play the game at the level that they are capable of playing.

    • KN

      Agree. There were also some crazy bounces off the boards in Manchester. The puck traveling around the boards jumped out in front of the goalie for a close scoring chance. And their camera-man was terrible. Not that it was entirely his fault… the camera was way too far from the ice and far too low. Anytime the play came to the near side, he lost sight of the puck and was zooming the camera around for the next 30 seconds, trying to catch up to the puck.

  • Bridgeport venue was horrendous. I’ve been going to regionals since 1992 and yesterday was pitiful. The ice surface was so soft players routinely over skated the puck. To think you play all year for the chance to get to the Frozen Four and after making a brilliant deke to squeeze between 2 defenseman (Lamarouex of AF), you fan on your shot. Plays like that happened all game for all 4 teams. Next there was the problem with the boards/glass. Same issue arose 2 years ago in Bridgeport – nice to see they fixed it (not!). Concessions were pitiful. There were lines 100 deep between periods with a limited staff working. Obviously didn’t plan on having people attend. Finally, there was the PA announcer/disc jockey. The PA was so loud I found myself physically ill after 6 hours of sonic boom announcements. Yale brought their pep band with them to the game. I know because I saw them. I never heard them because of the obnoxious DJ, but I did see them sitting up under the eaves in the corner….nice kids. Seriously, what a joke. I’d hesitate to go back.

    • KN

      I wasn’t there, but as a hockey fan trying to watch on television, I agree. The constant interruptions to fix the glass were dreadful. And they did have to stop play to repair the ice after what felt like 30 seconds of play.

  • KN

    Congrats Minnesota-Duluth! Valient effort from Yale who played very well in the conference finals and against Air Force. Well done Air Force for giving Yale just about all they could handle! Good luck in the future!