By: Brian DeAlmeida
Last Week In Review:
If there’s one word to describe last week in Women’s Hockey East, it was WOW. If this weekend was indicative of how the rest of the season will play out, then buckle up your seat-belt and get ready for a ride. Two top teams battled it out in a home and home series, teams towards the bottom started to separate themselves from the pack, a team picked up their first win and other team continued to dominate, and that was only in one weekend!
We’ll start off with the Friars of Providence College. They came into the weekend winless and were in full out desperation mode when they hosted New Hampshire on Saturday; and boy did they impress. They entered the final period of play trailing UNH 4-2 and it seemed like it was all by over… until the Providence offense came to life. They scored three unanswered, including two goals in the final two minutes to take home a well fought 5-4 victory over the Wildcats. The Friars’ Madison Sansone scored the final two goals while net-minder Madison Myers only had to turn away 5 shots in the final period to seal the team’s first victory of the season.
#7 Northeastern took the long ride up to Orono, Maine to take on the Black Bears on Friday night. The Huskies would walk away with a 3-1 win despite not having the services of Kendall Coyne who was winning a Four Nations Cup Championship for Team USA. Northeastern would convert off a very early power play to take the lead and wouldn’t look back from there. Three separate Huskies would go on to light the lamp despite only launching 22 shots on Maine’s Meghann Treacy which is very uncharacteristic of this Northeastern team.
The Huskies of UConn would score the lone goal of their game late in the first period to defeat Merrimack 1-0. They would then turn around on Saturday and fall to New Hampshire 2-1 to split their weekend series at 1-1.
Then it came down to #2 Boston College and unranked Boston University. The Eagles would travel to Walter Brown on Saturday and beat down the Terriers 8-1 despite the Terriers scoring first off a Sammy Davis goal. BC’s Makenna Newkirk would score a hat trick with three straight goals in the 3rd period to lead the Eagles offensive onslaught.
Tuesday night’s game followed much of the same script as Alex Carpenter and Dana Trivigno would score in the first period to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead going into the first break, but this one was a tale of two periods. The Terriers would score two in the second frame thanks to Maddie Elia and Sarah Steele while only allowing the high powered Eagles offense to put eight shots on net. The third period would be even as both teams would score and we would go into overtime tied up at 3-3. But overtime would go the Eagles way as the Terriers left a puck in the slot and Carpenter would clean it up to give the Eagles a 4-3 OT victory.
And let’s just add a fun fact: In her last 3 games against BC, Victoria Hanson is 1-1-1 in net, saving 104 shots and allowing just 7 goals. Yes, that’s almost 35 saves per game and only 2.3 goals per game to the best offensive team in the country. I mean that’s just incredible, and if this is any indication in what’s left to come, we’re in for quite a treat with the rest of this season.
What To Watch For:
This weekend is full of hockey action, highlighted by eight Hockey East games over the three days. In those eight games, we will have four two games series so a lot of players will be getting acquainted over the weekend.
Let’s start off with the #2 Boston College (12-0-0)(6-0-0 WHEA) and New Hampshire (2-9-0)(2-5-0 WHEA) series. Game one will be held over at Conte Forum where the Eagles are 4-0 against conference rivals, beating them by a combined score of 18-3. So to say the Catamounts are going to have to climb a very large hill is an understatement. The team of Alex Carpenter, Haley Skarupa and the rest of their friends are going to have an absolute field day at home. Then they will take the journey up to UNH on Saturday where we will see much of the same.
#7 Northeastern (8-1-1)(4-0-0 WHEA) will take on the newest addition to the conference Merrimack (2-8-0)(1-3-0 WHEA). The Warriors have hosted the Huskies once this season, falling to them 5-1 back at the end of October. Northeastern has been the surprise of the season thus far. I mean everybody knew they were going to be good, but nobody could imagine the roll they are on right now. And not to mention that Kendall Coyne will be returning from the Four Nations Cup. She will join and offense that beat up on Maine last weekend but struggled to put shots on net.
Two teams towards the bottom of the standings in Providence (1-7-0)(1-3-0 WHEA) and Vermont (2-8-0)(2-2-0 WHEA) will also face off in a home-and-home series. Providence squeezed out their first win of the season last weekend when they scored three goals in the third period to defeat New Hampshire. On the other hand, Vermont is coming off a long break with their last game against Maine on November 1. So the Catamounts will sure have rested skates when they take on the Friars who they beat earlier in the season 3-1.
In the final Hockey East series of the weekend, the Terriers (6-6-0)(4-3-0 WHEA) will host the Black Bears of Maine (6-6-0)(3-4-0). Boston University is coming off a fantastic performance against the #2 Eagles despite their losses, and if they can manage to play like that for the remainder of the season, they’re going to be a really tough team to beat. Maine has one of the finest goalies in the conference in Meghann Treacy. While they have the same records, these two teams are quite different on both sides of the ice, so it’ll be interesting to see which style of play wins over in this one.
Brian’s Red Hot Picks of the Week [Week 5 (4-2) Overall (16-6)]:
Last week was my best picking weekend of the season so far, as I went 4-2. But this weekend I’m going for broke, and besides the toss up matched up Vermont and Providence, this may be my best weekend in my short career as a women’s hockey “expert.”
The Series: #2 Boston College and New Hampshire
As we all know by now, BC is probably the best team in all of the land and they have some of the best players to match that as well. New Hampshire is way below .500 despite coming off a win against a decent UConn team. Sadly, UConn and Boston College are quite different teams and it is going to be an uphill battle to even get the puck in the back of the net.
Isn’t it obvious? The Eagles will take both games against the Wildcats and will do it in the typical Eagles fashion.
The Series: #7 Northeastern and Merrimack
Merrimack is still trying to find their niche in Hockey East and have played pretty well thus far despite only having 2 wins on the season. Northeastern, on the other hand, is the perineal powerhouse of the conference and look to continue to be this season. And oh, did I mention that Kendall Coyne is back from her gold medal European vacation?
This one should also be quite obvious. I like Merrimack, I really do, but they’re not ready to play with the big dogs of Hockey East. It’ll be a good learning curve for them though as they start a stretch of playing the conference’s best teams. The Huskies will continue to do what they’ve been doing all season, win.
The Series: Providence and Vermont
Both teams will enter with anemic offenses and very few wins. Both are averaging around three goals per game while scoring is a rarity. This is a complete toss up of a series and you could make arguments for either team, but it’s going to be first to break down the opponent’s defense that will win both games.
I’m going to stick with Providence in game one after coming out and playing a great third period against New Hampshire last weekend. But there’s no way the Catamounts will drop two in a row and they will pull out the second game of the series. So yes I’m predicting that each team will win on the road and not at home.
The Series: Boston University and Maine
The Terriers are coming off their best played game of the year by far and if they can somehow keep that pressure up for the rest of the season, it’ll be a great ride for the scarlet and white. Maine is backstopped by a fantastic keeper, but the Terriers did manage three goals against one of the country’s best net-minders in BC’s Katie Burt. It should be a great series, and as always, it’s going to come down to who comes out to play in the 3rd period.
If I had to make this pick before Tuesday’s BU vs BC game, I would have said this should be a split series because Maine is good, but the Terriers played outstanding against a very lethal BC team and now they know what this team is capable of. They CANNOT keep dancing around the .500 line and these two wins will be huge for the rest of the season. So yes, the Terriers will take both of these games.
This Week’s Hockey East Schedule:
Friday November 13
New Hampshire @ Boston College 2:00pm
Providence @ Vermont 2:00pm
Northeastern @ Merrimack 7:00pm
Connecticut @ Clarkson 7:00pm
Saturday November 14
Merrimack @ Northeastern 2:00pm
Maine @ BOSTON UNIVERSITY 3:00pm
Boston College @ New Hampshire 3:00pm
Providence @ Vermont 4:00pm
Connecticut @ Clarkson 3:00pm
Sunday November 15
Maine @ BOSTON UNIVERSITY 3:00pm
Wednesday November 18
New Hampshire @ Harvard
Hockey East Standing: