Game Day Skate: Clarkson at Harvard, Minnesota at North Dakota

AES Rankings

  1. Minnesota
  2. Boston College
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Clarkson
  5. Bemidji State
  6. North Dakota
  7. Quinnipiac
  8. Harvard
  9. Boston University
  10. Northeastern

Game Day Highlights

#4 Clarkson at #8 Harvard: The Crimson struggled in a 2-1 loss to Dartmouth last weekend to open their season. They were without last season’s leading scorer Mary Parker, as well as a top-five scorer in Lexie Laing. The defense, which was so strong last season, yielded 33 shots on goal to the Big Green. Harvard has a much tougher test this week against Clarkson, but this is also an opportunity for the team to make a statement and re-assert themselves. The Golden Knights are a perfect 9-0-0 so far, and they’re scoring an average of 4.00 goals per game, with five different players scoring at a point-per-game pace, including rookie forward Loren Gabel. Clarkson goaltender Shea Tiley carries a .951 save percentage into the weekend, and Harvard will be without starter Emerance Maschmeyer, who’s with Team Canada for the Four Nations Cup.

St. Lawrence at #8 Harvard: This weekend features a similarly big match-up for the Saints, who look like they have the pieces in place to really push for a spot in the top third of the ECAC standings this year. Forward Kennedy Marchment and defender Amanda Boulier have been the team’s catalysts, with Megan Armstrong and Kirsten Padalis helping to solidify that blue line. Younger forwards like Justine Reyes and Hannah Miller have performed well so far, but veterans Brooke Webster and Jenna Marks have been a little quiet, and I think St. Lawrence would like to see them more involved in production this weekend. The Saints have still not settled on a starter in net, however, and that’s their biggest area of concern going into this game.

#1 Minnesota at #6 North Dakota: After a 5-1 loss to the Gophers last night, UND has a few things to answer for already in this series. Minnesota put them on their heels early and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, and though North Dakota settled in a little more as the game went along, it’s now a matter of how they will respond tonight. We saw the way the team pushed back against St. Cloud State last weekend, scoring three goals in the final 4:28 to to come back and tie it up. Is that the type of team they’re going to be this season, and can they be that team against Minnesota? In a show of their strengths, the Gophers’ play-making abilities and offensive execution were fully on display in the series opener; they typically do a very good job of finding open space and creating quality chances from there, and that was no different last night. Three of their five goals were scored on the rush, including one breakaway, and that’s an area where the Gophers excel because their defensemen are pretty active about jumping in. If UND hopes to have more success tonight, they need to do a better job defending in transition and picking up those players coming late.

Players to Watch

Cayley Mercer, Forward, Clarkson: Mercer posted back-to-back hat tricks last weekend in the Golden Knights’ series against New Hampshire, so she comes into this weekend red hot. She’s scored in every game so far this season, and out of those nine, six have been multi-point outings.

Shara Jasper, Forward, Lindenwood: The Lions begin College Hockey America play this weekend with a home series against Penn State, and before last week’s bye week, they knocked off New Hampshire and Northeastern on the road. That was due in large part to the play of Jasper, who posted five goals and seven points in those two games.

Abbey Frazer, Defense, Harvard: The Crimson have quite a few losses to make up for on the blue line, and Frazer, who was a solid contributor last year, is one player who is undoubtedly going to have to step up this season. She could make an impact this weekend and help the Crimson’s defensive corps settle in against a high-powered Clarkson offense and an efficient one in St. Lawrence.

2015-16 Team-by-Team Previews: Lindenwood Lions

2015-16 Roster | 2015-16 Schedule

Head Coach: Scott Spencer (2nd Season)
2015-16 Captains: Tae Otte (C), Shara Jasper (A), Brooke Peden (A), Nicole Hensley (A)

2014-15 Season Recap

Record: 10-21-2 (7-11-2 CHA/5th place)
College Hockey America Postseason: Conference quarterfinals; swept by Penn State in the first round of the CHA playoffs

Despite a tough slate of WCHA opponents to start, the Lions didn’t have to wait too long for their first win last season, beating St. Cloud State 5-3 to salvage a split in that series after getting swept by Wisconsin on opening weekend. They dropped to the Bulldogs after that, but then went unbeaten in their first conference series of the year against RIT, tying the Tigers, 1-1, and then beating them, 3-1.

In its next three CHA series, Lindenwood was able to earn the split each time, defeating Robert Morris, Penn State, and Syracuse. The team was swept convincingly by Mercyhurst to close out December, but a big 1-0 win over Bemidji State kicked off January. The Lions dropped their next three, to Bemidji State and to Minnesota State twice, but then came up with a win against the Mavericks on Jan. 10.

They dropped two decisions to Robert Morris next, but again earned splits in league play, this time against Penn State and RIT. Lindenwood was able to tie Syracuse, 4-4, before falling to the Orange, and in their final regular-season series, the Lions put away Mercyhurst, earning a 3-1 win on senior weekend to work a split with the Lakers. They weren’t able to force any extra games in the postseason, though, falling to the Nittany Lions by scores of 1-0 and 3-1 in their quarterfinal series.

Goaltender Nicole Hensley was honored with a spot on the All-CHA First Team after an outstanding individual performance on the season, and she was also named a Second Team Academic All-American after the season. 17 Lindenwood players, including Hensley, made their way onto the College Hockey America All-Academic Team at the close of the year, and Hensley and Lyndsay Kirkham were recognized as CHA Student-Athletes of the Year.

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