Last week, I opened up with a solid 5-1-1 (.785) record, but what I would like to point out before getting into this week’s picks is how I should have bought some lottery tickets after the Adrian/Wis.-River Falls series. Don’t ask me how, but I successfully nailed both scores of both games in that series, with the correct winner in each. Beginner’s luck we’ll call it. :)

Now onto this week, and we’ve got some very interesting matchups out west.

No. 10 Bethel vs. No. 3 Gustvus Adolphus
We open this week with a MIAC early season home-and-home showdown between upstart Bethel, who is a new face in the top 10 this week, taking on traditional MIAC powerhouse Gustavus Adolphus. The Gusties have had a stranglehold on this conference for a decade now,  but they did sustain some heavy losses to graduation with their top two scorers from a year ago graduating, as well as goalie Danielle Justice, who was a four-year starter between the pipes. GAC opened 2012-13 with a 3-2 win over Wis.-Superior though, so it doesn’t look like they’ve lost too much in their step so far.

Bethel is the team turning heads this week after their 3-1 start, which includes a 4-1 win over NCAA Tournament participant Concordia (Minn.) last week and a ranking for the first time. Bethel’s top line of Cristina Masten, Lindsay Burman, and Biz Huss has combined for 21 points through four games. The Royals also return senior goalie Jess Newstrom in goal, who might be one of the most underrated goalies in Division III.

I’m taking a split in this one, with each team winning at home. We’ll go 3-1 Gustavus the first night and then 3-2 Bethel the next.

St. Scholastica at St. Norbert (2)
St. Scholastica and St. Norbert are both in their third year as varsity programs, with each looking to be on the cusp of taking the next step towards the nation’s elite programs. Both teams are 1-0-1 so far in 2012-13, and this weekend they’ll meet for a pair of games in DePere, Wis., to establish early season which team is ahead of the other as they look to continue to build their programs up.

I’m calling another split here, with Scholastica winning the first night, 4-3, and then St. Norbert coming back for a 4-2 victory on Saturday.

Wis.-River Falls at Wis.-Superior (2)
While St. Norbert and St. Scholastica are the two schools looking to prove themselves worthy of the NCHA’s elite, Wis.-Superior and Wis.-River Falls have long been two of the traditional powers in the conference. The Yellowjackets and Falcons have combined to win 14 of the NCHA’s 24 regular season and postseason titles over the last 12 years. Wis.-River Falls is 2-0, with two wins over Adrian so far, while Wis.-Superior is 3-2, with losses to GAC and Wis.-Eau Claire. Does Wis.-Superior find some new found motivation after being named the host for the 2013 Frozen Four? I think they’ll take one of these games at home in Wessman. We’ll say Wis.-Superior wins, 2-1, on Friday and then Wis.-River Falls rallies back for a 5-2 win on Saturday.

Stevenson vs. Franklin Pierce (2)
Rounding out this week’s picks are a pair of two new programs to varsity women’s hockey this year. Stevenson and Franklin Pierce are both in their inaugural campaigns, and they’ll get an early look at how each other’s programs are stacking up in comparison. Stevenson split with Buffalo State so far, and Franklin Pierce has lost to Salve Regina and Nichols. Stevenson is in the odd situation of not playing a home game until Dec. 30, so the Mustangs will certainly be road-tested by the new year. I’ll take Stevenson in a sweep this weekend by scores of 5-1 and 6-3.

2012-13 Record: 5-1-1
Last Week: 5-1-1

  • Guest

    As an RPI fan, this did not sound elitist, to the contrary, thank you for giving the ECAC some credit for their success this year instead of saying how teams from your league are way better than the ECAC teams that are ranked and how they don’t deserve to be talked about in the same context. Hopefully the UND trolls that seem to plague the ECAC blog posts will leave this one alone…

  • Anonymous

    WHO have those ECAC teams beat again?

    • Now anyone difficult…

      • Guest

        RPI spanked BU 4-1, who at the time were ranked #7, and tied with Colorado College, Yale has beaten CC 5-1. Those are the only currently ranked non-conference wins for these ECAC teams just by a quick check, but others they have played have either been ranked at some point throughout the season or are receiving votes (Union vs Minnesota for example). Let’s not forget the Yale win over Russia under 20s and RPI’s over US under 20s made up of many of your young stars. The problem with the ECAC and non-conference opponents is that they have a limited number of non-conference games that they can schedule (esp the ivy schools) and certain rivalries (RPI/BU, RPI/Army that I know of) are longstanding and are usually tried to be fit in every year. If you are only scheduling a limited number of non-conference games, the odds that all of them will be against a top 20 team are less. ECAC teams play more of their non-conference games against Atlantic and HE teams I think because they are closer to travel to and perhaps are easier to work into the schedule.

  • Whit

    I still have to shake my head at this one. I am a UMaine homer and wont deny it, but who have UNION and RPI and Yale for that matter beaten? UMaine swept North Dakota in 2 games and has beaten BC, yes they gave a game away to UNH as well but we have them for 2 more upcoming. I look at the PWR comparison table and it give North Dakota the comparison over Maine even though the Bears swept them in Orono???

    • jrod790

      It’s because without those two wins against north dakota as well as the bc game (both at home i remind you), maine has not beaten a team that is over .500. In addition to this, they have only two road wins and a neutral ice win to their credit. that is the biggest if not the only reasons why they are ranked where they are in the pwr rankings. in order for maine to reach they ncaa tournament for the first time in 4 years, they must win out at home (which they certainly can and must) as well as steal 4 or 5 games on the road out of the 6 at the minimum. If they fail to do this, they will find themselves in the same position they were last year. clinging on to a win in the hockey east tournament to qualify. don’t be surprised to see a very talented maine team left out of the tournament because of their inability to show up to play consistently and their coach’s lack of discipline for his players.

    • SiouxAlumDenver

      Maine also got swept by BC, or are you ignoring that in your calculations?

    • Anonymous

      Look at Maine’s record against teams under consideration and then look at North Dakota’s record in the same category. UND is 16-5-1, Maine is 1-6-2 so I think it is fair to say there is an easy and understandable reason as to why UND wins the comparison.

  • FireTimWhitehead

    Maine doesn’t deserve to even be in the discussion. They are terrible thanks to their complete lack of coaching. This will be Tim Whitehead’s 10th season in Maine, and he has accomplished just ine thing – winning the HEA tourney in 2004. Otherwise, 10 years without a HEA regular season title. 10 years without a national championship. Unacceptable.

  • FireTimWhitehead

    I hope Maine doesn’t make the tournament. That will be four years running. Maybe the new AD and incoming President will do the right thing be Maine fans and students and send Whitehead on his way. Time to let someone else – like a certain Walsh-coached player who played on the 1999 national championship team – take over this program before it is dead for good.

  • Freddie

    Union would whip y’all

  • Anonymous

    While your name implies a bit of a bias, I must agree with you firetimwhitehead. First thing to get it out of the way, I am UMaine hockey die hard and have been since I was born, which was the beginnings of the Shawn Walsh era. Secondly, Maine does not deserve to be higher than any of the teams that are mentioned as above them in the RPI. They have beaten 2 quality opponents this season. They beat North Dakota twice at home and beat BC once at home. That’s it, outside of that they have not beaten a single team with a winning percentage above .500. They tied lowly UConn and blew leads against Michigan St. to start the season. They were swept by BU and BC in convincing fashion in Boston. They tied Providence. Hell, they blew a 3 goal lead going into the third period at home against UNH. In the winter classic tournament they lost to Miami and needed OT against Cornell. Worst of all Merimack dragged them all over the ice in a 7-1 romping which they followed up the next week by needing overtime to beat Providence at home. They get a solid win against BC at home and follow it up by tying Northeastern. They are a model of inconsistency and a reflection of their coach. They are a one dimensional team that lacks any semblance of discipline and they play down to the level of lowly teams. Furthermore, it appears that Whitehead lacks any ability to make in game adjustments and on the fly decisions. I also wonder how a team that did not lose the majority of it’s core goes from the best power play in the country to one of the worst? Oh wait the answer is simple, people have figured out Whitehead’s game plan, and the game plan never changes. And if Whitehead wants solid goal tending he is going to have to let one goalie start more than 2 games in row, aka he needs to pick a guy and stick with him to see what he can do instead of this rotating 3 goalies deal. I think Maine fans should be calling for his firing, all though we may disagree here firetimwhitehead, because I have said for the last 3 years that UMaine should be making an attempt to pull Greg Cronin away from Northeastern. Cronin was an assistant under Walsh and also a candidate for the job when Whitehead was hired. If you watch the way his team plays and the way he approaches the game and coaches on the bench it is almost like watching a mini version of Walsh. This is exactly what Maine needs, a disciplined hard nosed coach with passion for the game oozing from him. That is what UMaine used to have under Walsh that it doesn’t now. They need to return to playing smart, disciplined, and passionate hockey the way Walsh coached the old teams to play. And just so I can throw this in their (remember I am a die hard Maine fan), Jerry York is the best coach in college hockey in my opinion, and that the type of coach Maine needs.

    • jrod790

      To make a slight correction, maine tied bu down in boston this year. only game they’ve played with them so far (two games in orono this weekend). and i agree with everything you said. except i don’t think greg cronin is a real possibility at this point. but you never know. i would like to see them hire Jim montgumery who is an assistant at rpi. if not, let corkum take over. you can tell by watching his demeanor that he is holding in his frusteration. this program needs to be rekindled. and before it’s too late. if maine does not make the tournament this year, they probably never will under whitehead again.

      • Anonymous

        You are correct, not sure why I added BU to that list, but Montgomery or Corkum would be solid choices though.

  • Lenny

    Hey Whit, Union whipped Maine twice last year. I understand that it was last year, but this Union team is much better than last years team.

    • jrod790

      maine won the championship back in 1999. so what? last year doesn’t matter one bit. plus that was at union. on neutral ice no question it would be different. but last year was last year. and i’m sure if union made the trip to orono they would be rudely awakened

  • Miami Ice

    Union is on the high wire having lost to Dartmouth. A victory Friday night over Yale would enhance their cause markedly. The more likely outcome is a”L”, leaving them quite possibly on the outside looking in, unless they win the ECAC tournament. Their OOC record is not impressive against good teams save for Minnesota.

  • There is no doubt that ECAC is the better conference this year. ECAC is 8–9–4 against Hockey East this year. What the real tell tale difference is however, is that ECAC went 8–8–4 against the best conference in D1, the WCHA. Hockey East was 5–9–1 .

    Never mind that Hockey East could only go 9–4–4 against the pitiful Atlantic conference, ECAC went 27–6–5.

    There is no debate that ECAC is better this year.

  • Css228

    Question, why isn’t it mandatory that Cornell and BU play every year, either on neutral ice or one of their places?