Game Day Skate: Colgate at Northeastern, Minnesota Duluth at Wisconsin

Mercyhurst's Sarah Hine celebrates during a game against Syracuse. (Ed Mailliard/Mercyhurst Athletics)

Mercyhurst’s Sarah Hine during a game against Syracuse. (Ed Mailliard/Mercyhurst Athletics)

Games of the Week: Colgate at Northeastern

I know Wisconsin-UMD is a top-4 match-up, but this is the most intriguing series of the weekend to me. Colgate is coming off of a split with Ohio State on the road; this will be another tough non-conference road series for the Raiders, though I don’t think the Huskies are of the same caliber as the Buckeyes. Northeastern beat BU handily last Friday but had to fight back from a 3-1 deficit to earn a tie with the Terriers on Saturday.

It’s interesting to me that Aerin Frankel and Brittany Bugalski split last weekend’s games for Northeastern. Bugalski is a senior and wears the captain’s C for the Huskies, and I can certainly appreciate what that means, but Frankel’s numbers are so good. There’s nothing wrong with goalies splitting action so early in the season, and Bugalski does have the experience to warrant it. To me, though, Frankel gives Northeastern the best chance to win, and this is a pivotal non-conference series for a team that could very well be on the NCAA Tournament bubble come March. This is a big opportunity for the Huskies to show they can compete nationally.

Hockey-wise, I think this will be a fun series to watch. Both teams’ top defenders are players to keep an eye on: Olivia Zafuto for Colgate, and Codie Cross for Northeastern. The Huskies’ offense has so far gotten a boost from its freshman class, whereas the Raiders’ own offense is heating up as key returners like Shae Labbe and Bailey Larson are hitting their stride. Colgate has not had the cleanest start to the year, splitting a series with Penn State before giving up 85 shots on goal to the Buckeyes last weekend. This is a big series for them to build off of the win against Ohio State and gain some momentum before starting ECAC play.

Games to Watch

Minnesota Duluth at Wisconsin: The schedule just doesn’t get any easier for Minnesota Duluth. The Bulldogs weren’t ready to handle the Gophers’ offense last week in game one, but secured a well-earned tie and shootout win in the second game of that series. They are the most dangerous offensive team that Wisconsin has faced to this point, and the Badgers will need to be strong defensively to keep the puck going the other way. UMD has proven to be very opportunistic so far this year, and I’d expect that to continue if Wisconsin gives them chances. Maddie Rooney could probably afford a better start this weekend than she had against Minnesota last Friday, but if she’s at her usual level, she’ll be tough to solve. Abby Roque had a big game against Mercyhurst in the Badgers’ last outing, netting a hat trick; they’ll need their top forwards like Roque, Emily Clark, and Annie Pankowski to drive play in this series.

St. Lawrence at Boston College: The Eagles welcome the Saints for a two-game series, which begins tonight (Oct. 11) at 6 p.m. Eastern. Boston College skated to a pretty easy win against Syracuse last week, but I think St. Lawrence presents a step up in competition. With Caitrin Lonergan back in the line-up and their offense rolling, the Eagles should be able to get two wins out of this weekend, but this is a good test for a team trying to get on a (typical) roll.

Mercyhurst at Syracuse: This is a huge CHA series for the Lakers, who open conference play after going 0-4 against Minnesota and Wisconsin. It was a really tough start to the year for them, and I think they have to be a little disappointed that they couldn’t come away with a win. Mercyhurst had some really good moments, though, and this is a good chance for the Lakers to assert themselves as a team to be reckoned with in the CHA. For the Orange, it’s also an important series to show that they still have what it takes to compete in the conference.

UConn at New Hampshire: Two of Hockey East’s most interesting teams will meet this weekend for a conference game. The Wildcats played a hard-fought series against St. Lawrence last weekend; both games went to overtime, with the first ending in a 1-1 tie and the second ending in a last-second 1-0 overtime win for the Saints. Ava Boutilier had 65 saves in net to hold St. Lawrence to two goals on the weekend. Boutilier is going up against a strong UConn offense this weekend, making for a good match-up.

In the News

  • The Victory Press has some really good NCAA player profiles up to start the year. Up recently are pieces on Wisconsin’s Annie Pankowski and Boston College’s Cayla Barnes.
  • I enjoyed this feature on Cornell forward Kristin O’Neill, which takes a dive into her shorthanded prowess.
  • The London Free Press wrote a nice feature on Clarkson defender Ella Shelton, who’s coming off of back-to-back national championships with the Golden Knights.
  • The Ice Garden is currently running CWHL previews before the season gets under way. You can find links to each team’s preview from their 2018-19 CWHL preview post.
  • This espnW video with U.S. Women’s National Team players Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Kendall Coyne-Schofield, and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson is really telling on the state of the program in regards to the overall USA Hockey picture. They talk about how they are still fighting for change within USA Hockey, who seems to have dropped the ball for the third straight cycle on a post-Olympics playing tour.
  • Good thoughts here from Knight on joining the CWHL’s Les Canadiennes and their upcoming season in this story from Eyes on the Prize.
  • The NCAA has announced its 2018 Woman of the Year finalists, and former Minnesota goaltender Sidney Peters is on the shortlist of 9 student-athletes.
  • I don’t know a lot of Swedish, but this is a good goal in any language, courtesy of Linköping HC’s Lara Stalder:

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