In This Post…
- Happy New Year! |
- We’ll take a look at the upcoming weekly D-I schedule|
- See who’s ranked in the USCHO.com, USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine, and the ‘Power 10’ national polls|
- Conference Standings after the first half|
- Sifters… Little tidbits of news and info from around women’s college hockey|
Happy New Year!
2021 was an exciting and fun year at Women’s College Hockey.org. Just as the stock market ended the year in the positive, the readership of ‘The Pipeline’ Blog grew quite a bit as well. We ended the year with close to 20,000 unique individual visitors from 54 countries! Yes, I too was shocked to learn that. I had no idea we had that kind of reach. Now in fairness, 90-something % of our visitors are from the US and Canada. But still – people in 52 other countries are paying attention, which is awesome to see.
Several of you have taken the time to stop me in a rink recently to say a quick ‘thanks-for-doing-what-you’re-doing’… It’s extremely gratifying for me when that happens. So, to the nearly 20,000 of you who took the time to read a Pipeline post or watch a video – THANK YOU – it is truly appreciated. Keep the positivity coming. Here’s is to a great 2022!
D-I Weekly Schedule
We are going to try a new format for displaying the weekly schedule as well as games played with links to box scores. Formatting from USCHO.com is not kind to mobile users. So to help, we will be using the links CHN – College Hockey News.
D-I Upcoming Games
January 1, 2022
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Harvard
Quinnipiac vs. Wisconsin
RIT vs. Long Island
Syracuse vs. Boston University
Penn State vs. St. Cloud State
January 2, 2022
BU/Syra. vs. St. Cloud State
PSU/St. Cloud vs. Boston University
PSU/St. Cloud vs. Syracuse
Maine vs. Vermont
New Hampshire vs. Dartmouth
Quinnipiac vs. Wisconsin
Providence vs. Holy Cross
January 3, 2022
Long Island vs. Princeton
Providence vs. Boston College
January 4, 2022
Sacred Heart vs. Yale
Castleton vs. Saint Michael’s
January 7, 2022
RIT vs. Sacred Heart
Video highlight links are to individual program produced media, some of which may be found on team twitter or other social media accounts – so scroll the feed to see the game highlights.
Postgame links are any postgame video produced by individual programs and found on either team websites or social media accounts.
Don’t See a link… for video highlights or postgame? Assume there was none available at the time of our post.
D-I Top 10 Polls
DCU/USCHO Division I Women’s Poll – December 13, 2021
Others receiving votes: Connecticut 3, Penn State 1
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Women’s College Hockey Poll
December 14, 2021
|RANK||Team||Points||Last Poll||Record||Weeks in Poll|
|1||University of Wisconsin (19)||190||1||17-1-2||14|
|2||Ohio State University||163||2||15-3-0||14|
|5||University of Minnesota||125||3||14-5-1||14|
|7||University of Minnesota Duluth||71||7||9-7-0||14|
Others receiving votes: UConn 4, Providence 2, Penn State 1.
We’ve made it to the holiday break in women’s DI college hockey, which allows us a great chance to look back at the first half.
This week’s Power 10 won’t just be focused on last weekend. Instead, I’m going to rank the best 10 teams from the first few months.
Was it easy? Not really. This fall had some amazing games and upsets, making the job of putting together a top 10 a tough one.
Nevertheless, let’s dive in.
1. Wisconsin (17-1-2)
Admittedly, this wasn’t a hard decision. The Badgers were the best team in the first half and it’s not really close.
For starters, they have the best offense in the country with 94 total goals. Even more impressive is that the top three point-getters in the country are all from Wisconsin — sophomore forwards Casey O’Brien (36) and Makenna Webster (35), as well as fifth-year forward Daryl Watts (34). This team just can’t stop scoring.
The Badgers are also great defensively. They’re tied for third in the nation in goals against, having only allowed 22. Senior goalie Kennedy Blair has been outstanding in net, sporting the fourth-best goals-against average in the country (1.17).
The quality wins so far for Wisconsin have come against Minnesota Duluth and Ohio State but really, Wisconsin is the team to beat in college hockey right now.
2. Northeastern (16-2-1)
The choice to put Northeastern over Ohio State was a tough one, but I went with the better defensive team at No. 2.
The Huskies are the best defensive team in the nation. They’ve given up the least amount of goals against (18) and here’s a whopper — they’ve done it in just 19 games. That’s less than a goal against per game. A lot of that success has come from senior goalie Aerin Frankel, who ranks second in the nation in both save percentage (.962) and GAA (0.94).
Offensively, senior forward Maureen Murphy leads the way with 24 points and senior defenseman Skylar Fontaine, one of the best defenders in college hockey, comes in with 22. Both have a large role on the nation’s fourth-best power play, which sits at a solid 28.5 percent.
The quality wins so far have come against Boston College and Princeton. Much of the rest of their schedule comes against Hockey East opponents.
3. Ohio State (15-3-0)
The Buckeyes are great at overpowering teams offensively, as is evident in their 91 total goals, which is good for second in the nation. It makes sense then that their power play is also second, coming in at 35.2 percent.
A lot of that offense comes from junior forward Jennifer Gardiner and senior defenseman Sophie Jaques who both lead the team in points with 30 each. They’re also both tied for sixth in the nation in that category. Sophomore forward Jenna Buglioni and senior forward Clair DeGeorge come in right behind them at 28 points each.
Another sign that Ohio State is going on all cylinders offensively is its league-best 66.6 percent Corsi For percentage.
The most notable wins for Ohio State came against Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth in the first half. Even though the Buckeyes were swept by the Badgers on Oct. 23 and 24, they’ll get a chance at revenge Feb. 18 and 19.
4. Quinnipiac (15-1-2)
The Bobcats are a very strong No. 4 right now. It’s no surprise they garnered a first-place vote in the Dec. 13 USCHO poll.
Why? Because Quinnipiac is actually the No. 1 team in women’s college hockey, according to USCHO’s PairWise rankings. That shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. The Bobcats are well-rounded, sporting the second-fewest goals against (21) and the sixth-most goals for (61). Senior goalie Corinne Schroeder ranks first in both save percentage (.966) and GAA (0.80).
The Bobcats play in the tough ECAC, so quality wins came against Colgate, Princeton and Yale. If the Bobcats can keep winning with an ECAC-heavy schedule in the second half, their case for No. 1 in PairWise will be strengthened.
5. Minnesota (14-5-1)
The Golden Gophers ended their first half with some big wins over No. 1 Wisconsin and then-No. 9 Minnesota Duluth. Along with a sweep over Colgate on Oct. 22 and 23, those were Minnesota’s biggest wins of the first half.
The stats show Minnesota is a perfect No. 5. They’re No. 5 in PairWise, No. 4 in goals for (77) and they own the fifth-highest even-strength Corsi For percentage at 61.8 percent. This team has no issue putting shots on net either, ranking second with 773. Offensively, this is a very good team.
At the heart of that offensive attack is senior forward Taylor Heise who ranks fifth in the country in points with 31. Senior forward Abigail Boreen ranks second on the team with 23 and freshman forward Peyton Hemp comes in third with 21.
Minnesota will have its toughest stretch of the season in the second half when it takes on Wisconsin one weekend and then Ohio State the next.
6. Colgate (15-4-1)
Out of all the teams on this list, the Raiders did the coolest thing in the first half: They won a guitar.
Yes, back on Nov. 27 when they beat then-No. 3 Minnesota to win the Smashville Showcase, the trophy was a guitar. It was epic.
Aside from the guitar, Colgate is another team with a high-powered offense. The Raiders carry the third-most goals in the country (86) and rank third in even-strength Corsi For at 64.4 percent. Junior forward Danielle Serdachny leads the offense with 30 points, which ranks sixth in college hockey. Junior forward Dara Greig comes in second with 25.
The quality wins for Colgate in the first half came against Minnesota and Harvard. Like I mentioned with Quinnipiac earlier, things won’t be easy for the Raiders in the second half due to all those ECAC games.
7. Yale (10-3-1)
It feels like we’re just going back and forth between really strong offensive teams and really good defensive teams. Here’s a great defensive team for you.
The Bulldogs rank third in goals against with only 22 given up in the first half. Senior goalie Gianna Meloni has gotten the majority of the reps in net, posting an impressive 1.43 GAA and .942 save percentage.
Still, Yale has an impressive offense upfront. Sophomore forward Elle Hartje leads the team with 24 points, while junior forward Claire Dalton ranks second with 22. Yale also has one of the best defenders in college hockey in junior Emma Seitz. She has 17 points on the season.
The quality wins have come against Colgate and Harvard. With an ECAC-packed schedule in the second half, there will be many more quality wins for this group.
8. Clarkson (15-2-3)
The Golden Knights are a solid team overall. They rank fifth in the country for goals for (65) and eighth in goals against (29).
Lots of the offense comes from one of the best forwards in college hockey — senior Caitrin Lonergan. Lonergan ranks fourth in the country in points with 32. Junior forward Gabrielle David slots in right behind her with 25.
One encouraging sign for Clarkson in the second half is that they went 6-1-1 in conference play in the first half. If that trend continues, the Golden Knights will be moving up this list.
9. Minnesota Duluth (9-7-0)
The Bulldogs had a lot of time off, as they didn’t play any games between Oct. 24 and Nov. 19. Still, they put together a solid first half.
They have 59 goals in 16 games, which, if you do the math, comes out to be roughly 74 goals over 20 games. That would have them fifth in the nation for lamplighters. Senior forward Gabbie Hughes has the highest points per game in the nation at 1.81 with 29 points in 16 games. Senior forward Elizabeth Giguere ranks sixth in points per game at 1.68 with 27 in 16.
Despite a tough first half schedule, the Bulldogs earned two big wins over Minnesota and one over Ohio State.
10. Harvard (9-3-0)
The Crimson only have 12 games under their belt through the first half, but that’s still enough to place them inside the top 10.
They’ve already scored quality wins over Cornell and Boston College. Senior forward Becca Gilmore has been a strong line-driver, leading Harvard in points with 15. Senior forward Dominique Petrie ranks second with 14 points and junior forward Anne Bloomer third with 12.
We’ll get a great look at Harvard when it takes on Minnesota Duluth to begin play in the second half of the season.
Division I Conference Standings: As of 12/31/21
Teams are listed top to bottom in order of points accumulated in conference play only. There is no national point system. The first W-L-T column is a teams’ conference record, 2nd W-L-T column is the overall record, and the 3rd and 4th W-L-T columns is the record at home and on the road for all games.
In our next post, we’ll display each conference’s post-season playoff structure.
|Team||Conf – W-L-T||Pct||Pts||GF/GA||Overall W-L-T||Pct||GF-GA||Home W-L-T||Away W-L-T|
|St. Cloud State||2-11-1-1-1-1||0.190||8||23-58||6-11-1||0.361||39-65||4-3-1||2-8-0|
Sifters… Lots of’em
NCAA Approves 11-Team National Tournament Field for 2022… In the NCAA’s final step on Dec. 15th the D-I Council voted to approve an 11-team field (up from 8) for the 2022 Women’s National Collegiate Championship. 11 teams represents exactly 26.8% of D-I schools that sponsor the sport, which is the same ratio used by the D-I men’s NCAA tournament. You can read the official announcement from the NCAA HERE.
The Takeaway… More teams participating improves the sport because more players gain that do-or-die national Tournament game experience. Returning players the following year can then use their NCAA experience to their teams’ benefit. This development will push the overall level of D-I play forward every year.
The tournament committee will go ‘by the numbers’ this year in selecting the 11 team field. So in theory, teams ranked 1 to 11 in the Pairwise rankings will get a bid to the tourney. Subjectivity has been taken out. Language has also been removed from the pre-championship manual which now brings in line the same priorities used in pairing the men’s tournament brackets. In plain English, pairings will be based on, “competitive equity, financial success and the likelihood of a playoff-type atmosphere at each first/second round site.” Every effort will be made to avoid inter-conference match-ups unless 4 or more teams from the same conference make the tournament.
Because of the parity that exists across D-I and with 6 At-Large berths coming in the 2022-2023 season, we’ll probably not see the same 11 teams year after year. We’ll see much more turnover of teams getting At-Large berths in years to come. There are plenty of teams outside the top 11 that could challenge for a NCAA berth.
Robert Morris Is Back… RMU President Chris Howard announced Friday December 17th the reinstatement of both the RMU Women’s and Men’s hockey programs effective for the 2023-2024 season. Both programs were shutdown in an abrupt cost-cutting move by the RMU administration back in May of 2021. A major groundswell of support both locally in the Pittsburgh area as well as nationally among the hockey circles to get the program back online ensued. Men’s Head Coach Derek Schooley added fundraising campaign manager to his job description and accumulated enough cash in hand and donation pledges to impress the RMU brass to bring the programs back to life.
The Takeaway… This is great and exciting news for all of college hockey. Now the hard part begins. RMU will need to hire a women’s head coach and staff of assistants while recruiting an entire team of players as well as building out a competitive schedule. Both RMU teams are without a conference. The women’s were part of the CHA and the men part of Atlantic Hockey. CHA conference officials have publicly stated they need to find a 6th team for the CHA regardless of RMU came back or not as they would be in jeopardy of losing their NCAA tourney auto-bid without a 6th team after the 2022-2023 season.
With a RMU coming back, this opens the door for a full roster of players to either continue their playing careers as a transfer, a 5th year grad school player, or begin their D-I college hockey career as a freshman recruited player. All told, more spots become available at the D-I level (Stonehill College will also begin play in 2022-2023 as well).
U18 Worlds Cancelled… The IIHF announced on December 24th all January IIHF events would be cancelled due to COVID. This marks the second time in as many years the U-18 World Championships would be cancelled. The announcement was made just as the Men’s World Junior Championships in Alberta, Canada were taking place in arenas with fans. Not only was the timing of the announcement poor with the Men’s WJC was about to get in full swing, but the fact there was no mention or intention of a possible postponement of the event. Voices from current and former Olympians, around the NCAA, NHLers, hockey media personalities, and right down to the U-18 players themselves – took to social media with their rightful frustration. IIHF president Luc Tardiff is taking major heat for how he’s managed the announcement.
To add insult to injury, just days later the IIHF cancelled the WJC’s because a number of teams had positive COVID cases and a number of forfeits occurred.
The Takeaway… The IIHF is in a bit of a pickle. The Men’s WJC’s and the Men’s World Championships held in May are the two big money makers for the IIHF. One has to think a future date for the Women’s U-18 Worlds would have to be on the table if a future date for the Men’s WJC. The optics without that consideration for the women would be, um… detrimental? However, nothing definitive from the IIHF has been announced or considered. USA Hockey reached out to the IIHF and asked if a later date for the women’s U18’s could be discussed. Even private groups in the US offered to host the event while paying for the ice.
Perhaps a gender equity review of the IIHF is due, just like the NCAA recently had?
NCAA COVID Update… The second-half NCAA schedule is underway and we’ve already seen one series cancelled between Merrimack and RPI for Jan 1 and 2. No official reason was given as to why. Could we assume COVID? Perhaps. Some schools have adjusted their academic calendars and delayed the the return of students to campus, while deciding to begin classes remotely, before allowing in-person classes to begin several weeks later. We are unaware of any hockey program that are on a ‘pause’ or has decided not to play games until COVID improves. That said, if Men’s hockey and D-I women’s and men’s basketball is any indication, women’s hockey is in for it’s fair share of postponements and game cancellations. If think it’s a question of how, not if, the remainder of the season will be impacted.
SAT/ACT Testing Update… Harvard recently announced on Dec 17th it is going test optional for the next 4 years. That means no SAT or ACT test scores will be required for admission. More schools will probably do the same but no official announcements have been made yet. It will be interesting what the NCAA does with the Eligibility Center’s academic requirements moving forward as well.
D-III Gets New Program… The Milwaukee School of Engineering recently announced it’s starting a D-III NCAA program. Former RIT and Adrian Head Coach Chad Davis has been named head coach. No word yet on when the program will begin or what conference it will affiliate with.
2022 Women’s World Championship Host Selected… The IIHF announced in early December that Denmark will host the 2022 Women’s Senior World Championships August 26th to September 4th. This marks the first time Worlds will be held after an Olympic Games in the same year. Denmark is a first-time Women’s Olympic hockey participant in the 2022 games set to begin in about 1 month from now.
WCHA Extends Commissioner Flowers… WCHA Women’s Commissioner Jen Flowers received a three-year contract extension through the 2024-2025 season. Flowers has been instrumental in transitioning the WCHA to a Women’s only conference while navigating COVID-19 for the 8-team conference. Flowers also added a first-of-its-kind streaming partnership with the Big Ten Network and Big Ten+ as the official streaming partner of the WCHA.
UND Case Dismissed For Now… Lawyers representing players for the now defunct University of North Dakota Women’s Hockey Team, have voluntarily dismissed their case last month, for now anyway. The ND Attorney General’s office moved to dismiss the case because none of the players have NCAA eligibility left – leaving their claims moot – and not able to receive any relief. The door is open for future litigation however.
MN Trucker Helps UVM Player Home… This is one of those stories that is classified as ‘only happens in Minnesota’. UVM Women’s Hockey player Ellice Murphy needed a bit of help getting home for the holidays after her flight got cancelled from Minneapolis to Thief-River Falls. Ellice’s quick thinking mom called her friend at Byfuglien Trucking to see if any driver’s were in the Minneapolis area and heading north, who was willing to let Ellice tag along. Sure enough there was. You can read the full story HERE. You have to love small towns!
USA Hockey Announces Olympic Roster… Between the 2nd and 3rd period intermission of last night’s Winter Classic, USA Hockey unveiled its 23-Player final Olympic Roster. 8 newcomers will combine with 15 returning players with previous Olympic experience as Team USA defends it’s Gold Medal from 2018. You can find the roster HERE. 5 players still have NCAA eligibility and 1st time Olympian Caroline Harvey, has yet to step foot on a college campus yet. Minnesota leads the way with 8 players connected to the Gophers program, Wisconsin has 5, BC 3, Northeastern 2, BU, Clarkson, Lindenwood, UMD, and Ohio State each with 1.
Until Next Time…
21-22 Streaming Info
-Streams for games in the ECAC can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.
-Streams in the WCHA can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.
-Streams in Hockey East this year can be found HERE. Hockey East once again is streaming all game live and for FREE.
-Streams for CHA games with the exception of Penn St. can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games.
-Streams for NEWHA games can be found at each teams’ website. Subscriptions may be necessary to watch games.
NCAA Coaching Changes… Keep up with all the coaching changes across D-I and D-III HERE.
Grant Kimball is founder and contributing writer at Women’s College Hockey.org and beginning his 3rd season as an Assistant Coach with the Yale University women’s hockey program. Grant has developed an experienced perspective in the world of women’s ice hockey, having coached and recruited players from across the globe during his 25+ year amatuer and NCAA coaching career. He has coached at 6 NCAA DIII and DI programs in the NCHA (D3), the CHA, WCHA, Hockey East, ECAC, and the Ivy League (DI). Beyond coaching, Grant served as a site representative for the 2019 NCAA quarterfinal of the D-I NCAA Tournament. He also currently serves as an Officer with the American Hockey Coaches Association as Vice President of Membership and sits on the AHCA’s Women’s Hockey Executive Committee.