Game Day Skate: Minnesota at North Dakota, Cornell at Quinnipiac

Game Day Highlights

Minnesota at North Dakota: Streaking North Dakota hosts the WCHA’s best team this weekend in what is always one of the most exciting series on the slate. UND is 8-1-1 over this recent hot stretch, and last week it closed the gap to three points behind the Bulldogs for third place. The match-up pits the nation’s second-best scoring offense (Minnesota’s at 4.72 goals per game) against the goaltending of Shelby Amsley-Benzie, who leads the country with a .949 save percentage. There’s no reason why North Dakota can’t take points from the Gophers this weekend, especially with the way the team has been playing of lately, but a strong offensive performance will be needed.

Cornell at Quinnipiac: The Bobcats started off great, but have hit a rough stretch recently, losing three games in a row to Boston University, Boston College, and Harvard before defeating Dartmouth last Saturday. Quinnipiac is still leading the ECAC with 26 points, but the Crimson are just a point behind. Cornell and Clarkson are tied for third with 24 points, so this game could have a potentially huge impact on the regular season crown. The Big Red won the teams’ only other match-up this season, 3-0, back on Nov. 1.

Minnesota Duluth at Wisconsin: Another series between two top-four teams in the WCHA should make for a very interesting weekend overall in the conference. The Badgers haven’t been so consistent of late, though possession-wise they still look like the conference’s top team. The Bulldogs struggled to score last weekend against North Dakota, and face another top goalie this week in Ann-Renée Desbiens. Wisconsin has the edge going in, having already swept UMD on the road earlier in the year, but Minnesota Duluth has proven itself to be a competitive club. The Bulldogs need to be able to match Wisconsin’s goaltending and prevent the Badgers from dominating possession if they want to be successful this weekend.

Players to Watch

Hannah Brandt, Forward, Minnesota: Brandt had a big weekend last time the Gophers squared off against North Dakota, tallying two goals and seven points in the two-game series. She’s currently second in the country in scoring with 57 points in 28 games, and she will undoubtedly be a point of focus for the UND defense.

Hillary Crowe, Forward, Harvard: Crowe led the Crimson to a big 9-2 win over Boston University in the Beanpot semifinals on Tuesday with two goals, and will be a key player when the team takes on Yale, who knocked off Clarkson last week.

Ali Binnington, Goaltender, RIT: The Tigers take on Mercyhurst tonight, who has had trouble in College Hockey America competition this year. Binnington is usually RIT’s best chance at a win, and if she can keep them in it the Tigers could be poised for an upset.

Full Schedule

College Hockey America

Robert Morris (9-15-3) at Syracuse (6-13-9), 7 p.m. EST
Mercyhurst (9-4-1) at RIT (10-15-3), 7:05 p.m. EST
Penn State (14-10-4) at Lindenwood (8-16-1), 7 p.m. CST

ECAC

Brown (5-18-0) at Dartmouth (10-10-2), 7 p.m. EST
Yale (10-12-1) at Harvard (16-4-2), 7 p.m. EST
Colgate (7-20-1) at Princeton (11-10-2), 7 p.m. EST
Cornell (13-7-3) at Quinnipiac (21-4-3), 7 p.m. EST
Clarkson (17-8-3) at Rensselaer (5-19-4), 7 p.m. EST
St. Lawrence (16-9-3) at Union (4-19-5), 7 p.m. EST

Hockey East

Connecticut (7-15-6) at Boston College (26-0-1), 7 p.m. EST
Providence (6-18-4) at Northeastern (8-14-4), 7 p.m. EST

WCHA

Minnesota State (3-23-1) at Ohio State (14-11-3), 6:07 p.m. EST
St. Cloud State (6-21-1) at Bemidji State (14-13-1), 7:07 p.m. CST
Minnesota (24-1-4) at North Dakota (15-10-3), 7:07 p.m. CST
Minnesota Duluth (17-7-4) at Wisconsin (21-4-3), 7:07 p.m. CST

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