Tag Archives: Frozen Four

Post #40 — 6/11/21 — We’re Back, AHCA Convention, NCAA News/Update, Sifters

In This Post…

  • The Pipeline Blog is Back!
  • AHCA Convention Update
  • NCAA News/COVID Update
  • Sifters

We’re Back!

The Women’s College Hockey.org Pipeline Blog is back! Once a week, we’ll bring you all the news, notes, and updates from around NCAA women’s college hockey, just as we did during the 20-21 season. We appreciate your patience during our time away in April & May. There is quite a bit of news to catch up on, so let’s get to it.

AHCA Convention Update

The annual American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) convention was unfortunately was held virtually from May 10-13 again due to COVID. The annual event normally held at the Naples Beach Hotel in Naples, Florida is for women’s and men’s coaches, school athletic administrators, and college hockey’s stakeholders to meetup to discuss issues of importance affecting the sport.

The AHCA did have an in-person farewell weekend event with a few hundred AHCA members April 29 – May 1 at the NBH. Although an in-person convention did not happen, that did not lessen the work that got accomplished. The virtual event was superbly planned and executed with each division and genders having online zoom meetings as well as professional development seminar opportunities with guests such as Martin St. Louis. Here are the major topics & takeaways discusses by the D-I women’s coaching body.

Division-I Topics

  • NCAA legislation moratorium until the 2022-2023
  • Verbal offer date change
  • NCAA tournament bracket expansion & Single site NCAA tournament location recommendation
  • Patty Kazmaier Award voting timeline and presentation structure changes
  • Use of new NPI ratings formula for national tournament selection

Division-I Takeaways

+ NCAA legislation moratorium until the 2022-2023 cycle… New NCAA legislation is on hold until the 2022-2023 cycle. Legislation slated to take effect for the 20-21 season was tabled due to COVID. Those pieces could find their way into the 2022-2023 cycle, but remains unknown.

+ Verbal offer date change… Over the next year, the women’s coaching body will discuss a change that would allow coaches to make verbal offers to prospects beginning August 1 after a prospects grade 10 year. This is instead of June 15 which is the current date in place. The rationale: More time to get to know your recruits before making financial commitments and allowing prospects to get to know coaches and more about the institution.

Men’s hockey currently has this rule. Women’s coaches discussed this rule change at length two years ago, and there was much support, so much so, women’s coaches were under the impression the rule change would take effect our sport as well. That is until our women’s executive committee found the legislation was approved for men’s hockey only. It ‘slipped through the cracks’ as the women’s executive committee was told by our NCAA reps.

+ NCAA Tournament Bracket Expansion… The women’s coaching body is working on a request for a 10 team national tournament field. NCAA bylaws stipulate 50% of the tournament field must come from conferences with auto-bid and the other 50% come from at at-large berths. The newest D-I women’s conference the NEWHA and will complete its required 2nd full season with 6 teams after the 21-22 season. After which it will be auto-bid for the 2022-2023 season. That gives Division I women’s hockey 5 auto-bid eligible conferences, but out of compliance according to NCAA selection bylaws with an 8 team field. Upping the field to 10 makes a lot of sense with 5 eligible auto-bid conferences to make up the 50% bylaw requirement. However there are several factors, cost being one, when adding 2 more teams. Currently D-I women’s ice hockey is under-represented on a % basis of its membership that gets to compete for the national collegiate championship. That % sits at just under 20% which is the lowest % of any NCAA sport with as many teams in its membership.

+ Single site NCAA tournament location recommendation… As part of the push to get a 10 team NCAA tourney field, one angle as part of the proposal is making a change to the format of the tournament itself. Using this years’ tourney as an example, all games were held at one site – in Erie, PA. One site allows for ‘Bracket Integrity’. What’s bracket integrity? It’s when you have a true seeded field with a schedule such as #1 vs #10, #2 vs #9, #3 vs 8, #4 vs 7, and #5 vs #6. Rarely if ever has the D-I women’s tournament had bracket integrity. Why? It costs money to fly teams around the country. So to save, the NCAA would try to avoid any more than two flights in the first round. In doing so, you have teams that play one another in the 1st round who are a little closer geographically and in competitiveness than when bracket integrity exists.

+ Patty Kazamier Award voting timeline and presentation structure changes… Coaches will make a request of the Patty Kazamier organizers to make changes that will enhance the profile of the award, while making the event a little less burdensome for the teams and finalists involved. Coaches feel voting should take place after the national tournament is complete. Second, the award has been announced on the off-day before the national championship game in a very nice ceremony, but it can be a bit awkward if the winner lost the semi-final on the day before. Usually finalists are playing in the Frozen Four or in the national championship game. Announcing the winner at another date and time would make that senario go away. Also, it would help increase the awards’ profile by not sandwiching it in the middle of our sports marquee event – the national championship.

+ National Tournament Selection Criteria Change Coming… College hockey has used what is known as the Ratings Percentage Index or RPI, in selecting teams for the national tournament by the women’s ice hockey committee. A new method – called the NPI or NCAA Percentage Index – will be in the committee’s arsenal now. The NPI gives a 30% weighting to winning percentage and 70% to strength of schedule. Simply put, the NPI is cleaner math.

The RPI is calculated based on winning percentage, opponents’ winning percentage and opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage, and the NPI is calculated based on winning percentage and the opponent’s rating itself (rather than the combination of opponents’ winning percentage and opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage) as
the measure of schedule strength.

There was a recommendation for the NPI to replace the RPI, but it was ultimately determined the selection committee should have use of both tools at its disposal to use.

NCAA News/COVID Update

Robert Morris Drops D-I Hockey Women’s & Men’s Programs… In a shocking development, Robert Morris University decided to drop its Division I women’s and men’s ice hockey programs effective immediately. The news broke May 26th and the decision was said to be part of new strategic initiatives outlined to position RMU as one of the most agile in the country. You can read the official story HERE on RMU’s website. A follow up story can be found HERE on USCHO.com.

RMU becomes the third D-I women’s program to close its doors behind former CHA conference member Wayne State Univ. in 2011 and the Univ. of North Dakota in 2017 of the WCHA. There has been been a groundswell of support to try and save the programs. A local rink management company along with management at the Pittsburgh Penguins have reached out to present a plan to RMU president Chris Howard.

As if recruiting wasn’t tough enough already for those in the class of 2021 or 2022, an entire team of D-I players just hit the transfer portal to try and hook on with another program. It’s June, and rosters are largely set heading into next year. But some space will be available for programs to take players. It’s just an awful situation that no one with the women’s or men’s RMU hockey programs could have anticipated. We will keep you updated as developments take shape.

Recruiting Opens Up for D-I Coaches… The NCAA ended its temporary COVID recruiting dead period June 1st. Coaches are back in rinks and traveling to evaluate players live for the first time since in 14 months. Numerous camps, clinics, showcases, and recruiting events opened or will open their doors soon. The Os Prospects/Futures event in Bloomington, Minnesota was just held June 4-6 and drew over 450 players with close to every D-I program in attendance. The first two weeks of June are proving to be very busy for player evaluations in anticipation of the June 15th call date for the class of 2023.

Important Date for NIL – Name, Image, Likeness Coming July 1… If you’re paying attention to NCAA news other than COVID restrictions, than you are sure to have heard about NIL or name, image, and likeness NCAA legislation and state laws being drafted to begin July 1. For those who don’t know a thing about the NIL issue, here is the jist.

Beginning July 1, 2021 the NCAA will allow athletes to be compensated for their ‘Name, Image, and Likeness’ without institutional or conference involvement. It has been long argued schools have profited off of their athletes but with no compensation back to the athletes themselves. That non–compensation system is changing. With NIL, we’re really talking about the sports that produce the millions in revenue some schools take in–Football and Basketball mostly – but others exist too – hockey being one of them.

So, what can student-athletes be compensated for? According to the NCAA, Student-Athletes can be compensated for the following:

  • Compensation for third-party endorsements related to athletics, without school or conference involvement.
  • Compensation for other student-athlete opportunities, such as social media, new businesses, and personal appearances, without institutional involvement or the use of trademarks/logos.

In May the NCAA updated its NIL plans which you can read HERE.

What does NIL look like? Here’s an example. Picture a car dealership that advertises on TV/radio that XYZ University star Junior Goaltender Sally Smith will be signing autographs from 10-2pm on a Saturday to try and help drum-up business. Now, Julie can be paid by the dealership for her appearance and not break NCAA rules doing so.

There are no federal/national laws that govern rules and compliance for NIL. So, states are left to come up with their own laws covering NIL. States with laws on the books are set to go into effect on July 1, 2021. There could be 50 different versions of NIL laws. The money some athletes (think name brand football/basketball names – both female/male) could make is substantial money, some predict in the six-figures. Imagine how this could play out in recruiting battles. Recruits could want to go to schools in states that have favorable NIL laws so they can optimize their own NIL.

Will NIL have an impact on women’s hockey? Tough to say. But you have to wonder how businesses within the sports themselves and in the locale of the school, will try and use NIL to their advantage.

Sifters

Coaching Carousel… There have been no shortage of D-I head and assistant coaching positions open to be hired. It’s been one of the most active off-season for openings we’ve ever seen. Here’s a rundown of what jobs were/are still open and or have been filled already.

Head Coaching Positions Filled/Open

  • Brown University – ECAC – Melanie Ruzzi (former Asst. coach at Princeton University)
  • Dartmouth College – ECAC – Elizabeth Keady Norton (former Assoc. Head Coach @ Boston University)
  • Stonehill College – NEWHA (new member in 2022-2023 season) – Tara Watchorn (former Asst. Coach at Boston Univ.)
  • St. Anselm College – NEWHA – OPEN
  • St. Thomas University – WCHA – Joel Johnson (Former Assoc. Head Coach at Minnesota)

Assistant Coaching Positions Filled/Open

  • Boston University – Hockey East – 2 Assistant Coaches – OPEN
  • Brown University – ECAC – 2 Assistant Coaches – OPEN
  • University of Connecticut – Hockey East – 1 Assistant Coach – OPEN
  • Dartmouth College – ECAC – 1 Assistant Coach – OPEN
  • Mercyhurst University – CHA – 1 Assistant Coach – OPEN
  • Merrimack College – Hockey East – 1 Assistant Coach – OPEN
  • University of Minnesota – WCHA – 1 Assistant Coach – OPEN
  • University of New Hampshire – Hockey East – 1 Assistant Coach – OPEN
  • Princeton University – ECAC – 1 Assistant Coach – OPEN
  • Providence College – Hockey East – 1 Assistant Coach – OPEN
  • Quinnipiac University – ECAC – 1 Assistant Coach (Filled by Brent Hill)
  • Stonehill College – CHA – 1 Assistant Coach – OPEN
  • Syracuse University – CHA – 1 Assistant Coach – OPEN
  • Union College – ECAC – 2 Assistant Coaches – OPEN

In total there were 5 D-I head coaching positions open and 17 assistant positions. Those numbers represent a 11.9% and 20.2% turnover rate. While we not have data year-to-year on coaching turnover, we do know since 2001, there have been no fewer than 3 head coach opening to be filled.

UCONN Breaks Ground on New On-Campus Arena… The University of Connecticut broke ground in a ceremony for a new $70 million dollar, 2,600 seat rink facility on May 22. No completion date was given, but the state-of-the-art facility will feature women’s and men’s dry change & locker room areas, full athletic training facilities, a hydrotherapy area, players lounge, and video display areas. You can read UCONN’s official announcement HERE and video HERE.

Future Teams Take the Ice… St. Thomas University, a perennial D-III power in the MIAC will be making their D-I debut as a new member of the WCHA for the 21-22 season. St. Thomas makes the jump as the 8th team in the WCHA. The Tommies basically got kicked out of the MIAC and really had no choice but to move up to D-I in all sports with hockey as a part of it’s athletic profile. It’s a perfect fit geographically as 5 other teams in the WCHA reside in Minnesota. Adding the Tommies does however take away 4 non-conference games for each WCHA team. Teams will now play 28 regular season games and have up to 6 non-conference games to schedule.

Stonehill College, located just outside of Boston, MA will commence the building of its women’s hockey program with newly announced head coach Tara Watchorn. Stonehill plans to compete in its first season during 22-23 as a member of the NEWHA. Coach Watchorn will spend the 21-22 season recruiting her inaugural team.

With word of RMU shutting down both its women’s and men’s hockey programs, it was nice to hear about a potential school starting D-I hockey, albeit in an unlikely part of the country–Tennessee. Tennessee State University, one of the country’s historically black colleges and universities, is reportedly ready to conduct a feasibility study into starting women’s and men’s Division I hockey teams. As reported in the Nashville Post, TCU is potentially partnering with the Nashville Predators to see if this can come to fruition. It was unclear when the study would take place or when an announcement could come. You can read more HERE.

COVID Changing Youth Hockey Landscape… With the amount of players taking a gap year and with a continued growth in girls hockey, we wondered where would all these players play? Shattuck St. Mary’s recently announced in March it would be starting a second U19 girls hockey team. You can read the official announcement HERE. The team will be coached by Mitch Baker, former assistant coach at Union College.

With COVID shutdowns still going on in Ontario, we’re starting to hear about players leaving Ontario and coming to the US to play hockey and go to school for next season. A normal hockey season in Ontario is not looking so normal this coming year. Youth hockey and sports in general, are on track to go back to a normal way of life here in the US. Players are left to roll the dice and wait to see what the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association decides, which ultimately will come at the hand of the Ontario ministry of health and Hockey Canada officials. Another lost year of hockey development could be real troublesome for players and the sport itself.

Until Next Time… Have a great weekend everyone!


Post #39 — 4/2/21 — Patty Kaz Award, Final Top 10 Polls, NCAA News, Sifters

In This Post…

  • Recruiting Rule of The Day
  • Northeastern’s Frankel Wins The Patty
  • Final Top 10 Polls
  • NCAA News
  • Sifters

Recruiting Rule of The Day

12.1.2 Amateur Status. An individual loses amateur status and thus shall not be eligible for intercollegiate competition in a particular sport if the individual: (Revised: 4/25/02 effective 8/1/02, 4/23/03 effective 8/1/03, 4/29/10 effective 8/1/10)

(a) Uses his or her athletics skill (directly or indirectly) for pay in any form in that sport;
(b) Accepts a promise of pay even if such pay is to be received following completion of intercollegiate athletics participation;
(c) Signs a contract or commitment of any kind to play professional athletics, regardless of its legal enforceability or any consideration received, except as permitted in Bylaw 12.2.5.1;
(d) Receives, directly or indirectly, a salary, reimbursement of expenses or any other form of financial assistance from a professional sports organization based on athletics skill or participation, except as permitted by NCAA rules and regulations;
(e) Competes on any professional athletics team per Bylaw 12.02.12, even if no pay or remuneration for expenses was received, except as permitted in Bylaw 12.2.3.2.1;
(f) After initial full-time collegiate enrollment, enters into a professional draft (see Bylaw 12.2.4); or (g) Enters into an agreement with an agent.

Northeastern’s Frankel Wins The Patty

Northeastern University senior goaltender Aerin Frankel won the 2021 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award on Saturday March 27. The event was televised on the NHL Network live at 2pm as an hour long special. The native of Briarcliff Manor, NY beat out Wisconsin forward Daryl Watts and Minnesota forward Grace Zumwinkle. Statistically Frankel was in a class by herself this year. With 23 games played this year she had an 0.81 GAA and a .965 Save % seeing just under 23 shots per game.

You can watch her video accepting the award HERE and her Patty Kaz intro video HERE. She is a senior and will have the NCAA extra year of eligibility to use. We assume she’ll be back for the Huskies next season.

Final Top 10 Polls

The final USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls of the season came out for the week of March 22. They are identical to each other. You will notice Minnesota is ranked 6th… and yes they did not get into the NCAA tournament. Keep in mind these rankings are not used by the NCAA selection committee to determine who gets into the tournament or not. These rankings are strictly for media purposes by the various entities.

That said, these rankings are decided by good ‘hockey people’ who know the game… sports writers, NCAA coaches, members of the AHCA membership. I can’t recall a time when a team ranked as high as 6th in any poll, much less both, was left out of the tournament. It will be interesting to hear the selection committee comment on the process this year during the AHCA Convention in May.

USCHO.com Top 10 Poll – March 22
#1 Wisconsin
#2 Northeastern
#3 Ohio State
#4 MN-Duluth
#5 Colgate
#6 Minnesota
#7 Boston College
#8 Penn State
#9 Providence
#10 Robert Morris
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Top 10 Poll – March 22
#1 Wisconsin
#2 Northeastern
#3 Ohio State
#4 MN-Duluth
#5 Colgate
#6 Minnesota
#7 Boston College
#8 Penn State
#9 Providence
#10 Robert Morris

NCAA News

The D-I and D-III women’s coaching body as well as D-I conference commissioners held their monthly zoom meeting last week. The big topic of discussion was this year’s NCAA national tournament, the selection process, and the absence of Minnesota and Penn State. There was a spirited discussion about the transparency of the process as a whole. Also discussed… D-I hockey could be in position to better the sport given the recent inequities shown in women’s basketball. Fair and equitable treatment could come in the form of an increase in teams selected to the D-I national tournament 8 to 10. Currently, on a percentage basis, the women’s tournament is out of balance compared to that of men’s D-I hockey. The women’s currently have 8 selections that represent 22.22% of the total number of teams at the D-I level eligible to make the tournament (36). Men’s D-I hockey is at 26.66% of it’s membership which is 60 and slated to be 61 after the 21-22 season.

Future meetings later this month will take place between each of the D-I conference commissioners and the D-I coaches chairs of each conference to discuss national agenda items for its AHCA convention in May. More about that agenda and the convention itself later this month.

Sifters

Worlds Update… Multiple NCAA players are off to their countries respective training / tryout camps for the 2021 World Championships being held in Halifax, Nova Scotia May 6-16. Players heading to Canada needed to take into account a mandatory 14-day quarantine before heading off for camp. Team USA’s camp, which just ended March 30, was held in Blaine, MN. twenty-four players on NCAA rosters this season were invited. A total of 46 players total were involved. The U.S. has named their World Championship Roster and you can find it HERE.

The MN State Tournament… continues this week. The Class A and Class AA finals will be held tomorrow and can be seen live HERE. The Class A championship begins at 11AM CST with Proctor/Hermantown vs. Gentry Academy. The Class AA championship has Edina vs. Andover at 1PM CST.

5 OT’s for the North Dakota/MN-Duluth Men… the NCAA men’s tournament kicked off last weekend and it produced the longest NCAA tournament game ever and 4th longest game ever. #1 overall tournament seed North Dakota came back to tie MN-Duluth with less than two minutes to go in the game and eventually lost 3-2 in the 5th overtime. You can watch the game highlights below.

Until Next Time… Have a great weekend everyone!


Post #38 — 3/27/21 — D-I Season Notes, Recruiting News, D-III Season, Sifters

In This Post…

  • Recruiting Rule of The Day
  • 20-21 NCAA Season Notes
  • Recruiting: Spring Information Thaw
  • D-III Wrap-Up
  • Sifters

Recruiting Rule of The Day

13.02.14.1 Recruited Prospective Student-Athlete is defined by the NCAA as…

Actions by staff members or athletics representatives that cause a prospective student-athlete to become a recruited prospective student-athlete at that institution are: (Revised: 1/10/90, 1/11/94 effective 8/1/94, 1/10/05 effective 8/1/05, 12/13/05, 4/26/17 effective 8/1/17, 4/25/18)

(a) Providing the prospective student-athlete with an official visit;
(b) Having an arranged, in-person, off-campus encounter with the prospective student-athlete or the prospective student- athlete’s family members; or
(c) Issuing a National Letter of Intent or the institution’s written offer of athletically related financial aid to the prospective student-athlete. Issuing a written offer of athletically related financial aid to a prospective student-athlete to attend a summer session prior to full-time enrollment does not cause the prospective student-athlete to become recruited.

20-21 NCAA Season Notes

With the NCAA season now complete, we imagine just about anyone who had anything to do with the 20-21 season is getting some much needed time off. COVID presented challenges unimaginable. There was no what-to-do-in-the-case-of-a-pandemic playbook to draw from. But now there is, and there are so many people to thank who made this season possible. So, a few thank you’s and some notes as we head into the Spring and await what the 21-22 season will bring.

  • To the Conference Commissioners… Jennifer Flowers-WCHA, Rob DeGregorio-College Hockey America and the New England Hockey Alliance (NEWHA), Steve Hagwell-ECAC, and Steve Metcalf-Hockey East. There aren’t enough THANK YOUs to go around. Without their collective determination, leadership, guidance, patience, and cooperation, we doubt a hockey season would have been in the cards.
  • To the Players… You are the ones who had to play the games and a feel level of safety doing so, otherwise you wouldn’t have played the games. You had to change how you lived your lives in order to keep your seasons safe as well as your teammates, coaches, and staff safe. The pressure you were all under to accomplish that, no one will ever fully know.
  • To the Coaches, school administrators & support staff… One can only imagine the stress level you all were under in this type of season. Hockey is a game that changes at a moments notice, and so was the case this year with how you had to manage everything about how this hockey season had to go in order for it to happen at all. To say this year was a grind, would be an understatement. To every coaches credit, you made it to the end and allowed for the ultimate to happen – the crowning of a national champion.
  • 11 of 41 D-I teams did not have a season in 20-21.
  • Of those teams who played a conference schedule, Robert Morris and Northeastern played the most games this year with 25. The least was played by Vermont with 11.
  • No two teams played more games vs. one another than Clarkson and Colgate. They played 10 games against one another.
  • 31 Hockey East games were broadcast on television this year on NESN the New England Sports Network.
  • ESPN and its family of networks broadcast the Frozen Four on ESPNU for the first time and will continue to for years to come after signing and multi-year contract with the NCAA.
  • Northeastern Junior forward Alina Mueller, (yes, junior), led the nation in scoring with 12 goals, 26 assists for 38 points in 25 games played.
  • Northeastern goaltender Aerin Frankel led the nation in goaltending statistics with a 0.81 GAA and a .965 SV %.
  • As of March 25 there were total of 79 women’s ice hockey players in the NCAA Transfer Portal, 35 joined since March 1.

Recruiting: Spring Information Thaw?

One vitally important aspect of the recruiting process largely missing since the pandemic hit as compared to most years, has been a lack of communication and information from college coaches back to recruits, their families, and club/high school coaches. This lapse in communication has been a major source of angst and confusion for players of the 2021 and 2022 recruiting classes who are trying to figure out what their academic and hockey future holds. But, as the saying goes ‘times heals all wounds’… and there could be some healing soon.

With the D-I season now over, college coaches will soon become better equipped to have these all important recruiting conversations with the ’21 and ’22 classes. But why the lapse in the first place? College coaches didn’t have all the info they needed to give recruits the direction they wanted. The NCAA muddied the recruiting process by granting everyone an extra year of eligibility in the Fall. That meant college coaches were put in the not so envious position of dealing with their graduating seniors and figuring out if their were going to return for a 5th year next fall. This added the opportunity for more transfer situations to occur than normal.

So, 2021 and 2022 recruits got stuck in the middle having had conversations with coaches last summer and then getting put on hold as COVID delayed everything, etc. In the coming weeks, college coaches will have a much b etter idea of what their rosters will look like. Why? It’s transfer season and things are really starting to heat up.

Transfer decisions usually happen at the end of the hockey season around now. College coaches generally don’t plan for transfers when forecasting future recruiting classes but that is something they’ve had to take into account this year with COVID. Transfering is not a quick or easy process. A player has to find a program, be academically eligible, and go through the admissions process at the institution as well as figure out finances. All that takes time… and now is when all of these decisions are happening.

To players and parents – hang tight. The information you are seeking is coming soon. As stated above, there are 79 women’s ice hockey players in the transfer portal, 35 joined since March 1. There are surely more to come. You can bet college coaches are scouring the portal to see who is making themselves available. All of this action will help coaches get a handle on how they’re going to manage their rosters and help shape the type of conversations they need to have with recruits.

D-III Wrap-Up

While the D-I season is over, some D-III teams are still playing. It’s been an odd season at D-III with the NCAA cancelling the NCAA National Championship due to lack of participation. Some conferences decided to allow their member teams to play games but not have a structured conference schedule. 21 of 65 D-III teams have not played a game this year. The CCC, MAC, NEHC, NESCAC, and NEWHL did not have conference schedules or playoffs. The MIAC, NCHA, UCHC, and WIAC, played conference schedules to the best of their abilities. The NCHA held it’s conference tournament with Adrian beating St. Scholastica 3-0 and 3-2 to take the best two-out-of-three. The UCHC’s top 8 teams will meet in their conference tournament which will run April 1-6, 2021. UW-River Falls beat UW Eau Claire 2-1 in game 3 for the WIAC conference championship held March 17-19. River Falls took game one 3-2, Eau Claire came back to win game two 3-0 to force a third and deciding game.

Sifters

COVID Update out of Ontario…

  • Teams registered with the OWHA will not be allowed to travel to the USA for tournaments in 21-22
  • Tournaments held in Ontario have not been sanctioned or given the green light just yet
  • No player movement from one team to another will be allowed until Sept. 1, 2021
  • Team tryouts are slated to begin Sept. 1

More Awards…

  • Northeastern head coach Dave Flint was named CCM/AHCA National D-I Coach of the Year. You can read the release HERE.
  • Penn State’s Kiara Zanon has won the AHCA Rookie of the Year Award chosen by D-I assistant coaching staffs. Each staff gets one vote. Runner up was Colgate goaltender Kayle Osborne.
  • Speaking of Penn State, the Nittany Lions will host the 2022 women’s Frozen Four next year.
  • The CCM/AHCA All-American Awards have been announced with two teams of six:

FIRST TEAM
G – Aerin Frankel, SR, Northeastern
D – Grace Bowlby, SR, Wisconsin
D – Skylar Fontaine, SR, Northeastern
F – Alina Mueller, JR, Northeastern
F – Danielle Serdachny, SO, Colgate
F – Daryl Watts, SR, Wisconsin

SECOND TEAM
G – Emma Soderberg, JR, Minnesota Duluth
D – Cayla Barnes, JR, Boston College
D – Ashton Bell, SR, Minnesota Duluth
F – Chloe Aurard, JR, Northeastern
F – Kiara Zanon, FR, Penn State
F – Grace Zumwinkle, SR, Minnesota

  • The Patty Kaz Award… will be unveiled at 2pm this afternoon on the NHL network during an hour-long special. Check your local cable and satellite provider for channel listings. The finalists are Northeastern goaltender Aerin Frankel, Wisconsin forward Daryl Watts, and Minnesota forward Grace Zumwinkle. You can get more info HERE.

The MN Girls State High School Tournament… is currently underway. The quarter-finals in class AA begin today at the Xcel Energy Center home of the MN Wild. The Class A quarter-finals wrapped up yesterday. You can get the Class A & AA tournament bracket HERE with scores and schedules.

COVID Bounces Men’s Teams from NCAA Tourney… Luckily this did not happen in the women’s NCAA tourney, but on the men’s side both Michigan and Notre Dame had to leave the tournament before playing a game due to positive tier I COVID cases. Tier I cases are those that involve people with the closest contact to players such as the players themselves, coaches, support and medcial staffs. Obviously a huge blow to both teams. Under tournament rules, BC and MN-Duluth automatically advance to the regional finals.

Until Next Time… Have a great weekend everyone!


Post #37 — 3/23/21 — Wisconsin Wins 6th NCAA Title 2-1 in OT vs Northeastern

In This Post…

  • Recruiting Rule of The Day
  • Wisconsin Wins 6th NCAA Title

Recruiting Rule of The Day

12.1.2 Amateur Status

An individual loses amateur status and thus shall not be eligible for intercollegiate competition in a particular sport if the individual: (Revised: 4/25/02 effective 8/1/02, 4/23/03 effective 8/1/03, 4/29/10 effective 8/1/10)
(a) Uses his or her athletics skill (directly or indirectly) for pay in any form in that sport;
(b) Accepts a promise of pay even if such pay is to be received following completion of intercollegiate athletics participation;
(c) Signs a contract or commitment of any kind to play professional athletics, regardless of its legal enforceability or any consideration received, except as permitted in Bylaw 12.2.5.1;
(d) Receives, directly or indirectly, a salary, reimbursement of expenses or any other form of financial assistance from a professional sports organization based on athletics skill or participation, except as permitted by NCAA rules and regulations;
(e) Competes on any professional athletics team per Bylaw 12.02.12, even if no pay or remuneration for expenses was received, except as permitted in Bylaw 12.2.3.2.1;
(f) After initial full-time collegiate enrollment, enters into a professional draft (see Bylaw 12.2.4); or (g) Enters into an agreement with an agent.

Wisconsin Wins 6th NCAA Title

3:16 into overtime, Wisconsin Senior forward Daryl Watts intentionally shot the puck from behind Northeastern’s net banking the puck off a Northeastern defender and into the net giving the Badgers its 6th NCAA national title. You can watch the OT winner below.

Here is Watts’ postgame interview where she mentions intentionally trying to bank the puck off NU’s Frankel.

The game itself was a fantastic showing for women’s hockey in general, not just at the NCAA D-I level. And the game looked great on television. This one had everything: two highly skilled and great skating teams, officials that let both teams play, a fast furious pace, great goaltending on both sides, and of course – high drama as a national championship was won in overtime.

Wisconsin struck first after a scoreless 1st period. Skating hard to the net, McKenna Webster banged home a rebound off NU goaltender Frankel’s left pad from a Casey O’Brien shot at the 11:00 mark of the second period.

That lead was short lived as Northeastern’s Chloe Aurard tied the score at 1-1 just :39 seconds later as Aurard rifled a snap-shot past Blair’s glove hand high in the right top corner.

Game video highlights are below courtesy of NCAA.com

Wisconsin Postgame Press Conference |Northeastern Postgame Press Conference

Anyone could say you hate to see a team lose a national title game this way, it was an unconventional goal. But you do have to marvel at the level of thinking displayed by Watts to do what she did and in the moment she did it in. That’s Gretzky/Lemieux type stuff. Practice, sure… but in OT of the national championship game?

NCAA Tourney Notes:

  • Hats off to the NCAA staff and all the teams who were in Erie. We didn’t hear of any positive cases and no games had to be cancelled. Congrats to everyone on ensuring safety and health for all.
  • Kudos to ESPN for not only broadcasting the Frozen Four (and for years to come!), but having A.J. Mleczko and Clay Matvick in the booth. It doesn’t get any more professional that those two.
  • For anyone who knows or has followed Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson over the years, you know how much of an even keel guy he is. The look of pure elation on his face as the Wisconsin staff embraced on the bench after the winning goal was priceless… perhaps there was a little bit of relief as well with everything this year of COVID has brought and at the same time, knowing now the season is now over too?
  • This game could have just as easily have been won by Northeastern. They took some punches but weathered each blow and returned some of those punches too. True to form, Frankel was outstanding. She ends the year with ridiculous numbers… .965 save % and 0.85 goals against average in 23 games played. Northeastern had a marvelous season going 22-2-1.

Thoughts on the season, a youth/minor hockey update, and what the Spring and Summer could bring for NCAA coaches… all in tomorrow’s post.

Until Next Time… Have a great weekend everyone!


Post #36 — 3/19/21 — NCAA Championship Set, Recruiting, and Sifters

In This Post…

  • Recruiting Rule of The Day
  • NCAA Championship Set
  • Recruiting: Spring Information Thaw Coming?
  • Sifters

Recruiting Rule of The Day


12.2.2.2.1 Before Enrollment. In sports other than men’s ice hockey and skiing, prior to initial full-time enrollment in a collegiate institution, an individual may participate in practice sessions conducted by a professional team, provided he or she does not receive more than actual and necessary expenses to participate.


Actual and necessary expenses are considered items needed for the athlete to participate in her sport. Meals, lodging, apparel-equipment-supplies, coaching and instruction, transportation to/from home/living quarters to practice-games-events, health/medical insurance, facility usage, entry event fees, any other reasonable expenses.

NCAA Championship Set, #2 Wisconsin to face #1 Northeastern

The #2 seed Wisconsin Badgers will take on #1 seed Northeastern Huskies for the National Collegiate Championship Saturday March 20th at 7:30pm EST. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU. Check you local cable/satellite provider for channel listings.

In the first semi-final of the day… Northeastern beat MN-Duluth 3-2 in OT sending the Huskies to its first-ever national championship game in program history. Down 2-0 heading into the third period, the Huskies erased a two-goal deficit to force overtime. Then, with just over 30-seconds remaining in overtime, Husky senior Defensemen Skylar Fontaine picked off a Duluth breakout pass to the middle of the ice at her own blueline, deeked oncoming Duluth defender Maggie Flaherty with a nifty forhand-backhand 1-on-1 move and beat UMD goaltender Soderberg high to the glove side with a shot from between the left-side faceoff dot and the inside circle hashmarks.

UMD would scored twice in the first period, the first coming at the 10:03 mark from Monnon McMahon, her 1st of the year. Taylor Anderson potted the second just a little more than five minutes later. UMD had the better part of the play in the first, but the tables turned in the second. Northeastern got their legs and took over from there out shooting UMD 43-15 from the 2nd period on. The Huskies started the 3rd period on a 5-on-3 powerplay which they scored on the 5-on-4 portion. Maureen Murphy was left alone on the backdoor and scored at the :47 second mark provided the spark NU needed. Less than five minutes later, NU’s Veronika Pettey was in puck pursuit mode forechecking UMD’s Flaherty in UMD’s defensive zone. Pettey picked off a reverse breakout pass in the corner, fed linemate Andrea Renner at the left side faceoff dot who let go a missile on net causing a rebound that Katy Knoll was to bang home and tie the game at 2.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS | N’Eastern Postgame Video | Duluth Postgame Recap

In the nightcap… Wisconsin held off Ohio State 4-2 to advance to its 9th national title game and 3rd in the last four years. The Badgers and Buckeyes played for the 6th time vs. one another this season, so there weren’t any secrets on what each team should have expected. Wisconsin opened the scoring at the 1:19 mark of the first period as Casey O’Brien chased down a loose puck in the OSU end to try and feed a streaking McKenna Webster where the actually bounced off an OSU defender past Ohio netminder Andrea Braendli for the 1-0 early lead.

The Badger line of Schneider, O’Brien, and Webster would click for two more goals in the 2nd period giving Wisconsin a 3-0 lead at the midway point of the game. Schneider finished off a great feed from O’Brien on the back door into a virtually open net to make it 2-0. The Badgers third goal came off a perfectly executed 3-on-2 zone entry play. Schneider forced a turnover at the Badger defensive zone blueline that was picked up by O’Brien. O’Brien, carrying the puck up ice made a great puck-protection play to maintain possession vs. an OSU defender heading into the OSU zone. O’Brien found Webster charging through the middle of the ice. Schneider bolted for the back post area and Webster held the puck just long enough for OSU’s goalie to commit to her and when she did, Webster slid the puck to her left where Schneider had an empty net and made it 3-0. OSU would get on the board to make it 3-1 when Gabby Rosenthal netted her 5th of the year with six minutes to go in the 2nd period. That seem to inject OSU with some life as they really picked up their play. In the 3rd, OSU made it 3-2 on Sara Sakkinen’s 2nd of the year. OSU had some chances to tie it up, but could never get the equalizer. Wisconsin’s Daryl Watts scored an empty-netter with 14 seconds remaining to seal it for the Badgers. OSU outshot Wisconsin 39-23.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS | Wisconsin Postgame | Ohio State Postgame Video

Recruiting: Spring Information Thaw Coming?

The recruiting cycle for the next few years, which was upended by COVID and made more complicated thanks to the NCAA extra year of eligibility, could be coming a bit clearer soon. It’s been difficult to get the kind of information players and parents need from college programs to make decisions. With Spring on the way and the hockey season nearly over, that type info might be more readily available. In a new section coming to our website – Recruiting & Resources, we’ll tackle the topic of how the Spring and early summer recruiting may play out. Stay Tuned!

Sifters

Patty Kaz Watch… The Patty Kamzaier Award’s top 3 finalists have been named. They are: Northeastern goaltender Aerin Frankel, Wisconsin forward Daryl Watts, and Minnesota forward Grace Zumwinkle. You can read the official announcement HERE. The winner will be announced on the NHL network on March 27. More to come on that soon.

Goaltender of the year Award… The Women’s Hockey Commissioners Association has named Northeastern senior goaltender Aerin Frankel the inaugural Goaltender of the Year Award winner for the 20-21 season. You can read the official announcement HERE and watch N’Eastern’s video HERE.

Coach of the Year Honors… CCM and the American Hockey Coaches Association have announced the six nominees for Coach of the Year. To be nominated, coaches my be named Coach of the Year in their respective conference or make it to the Frozen Four. The winner will be announced later today – March 19. They are:

NameSchool
Maura CrowellMinnesota-Duluth
Greg FargoColgate
Dave FlintNortheastern
Mark JohnsonWisconsin
Jeff KampersalPenn State
Nadine MuzerallOhio State

Until Next Time… Have a great weekend everyone!


Streaming Info

-Streams for games in the ECAC can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games in the ECAC.

-Streams in the WCHA can be found HERE for homes games at Bemidji, MSU-Mankato, MN-Duluth, and St. Cloud. Streams for home games at Minnesota, Ohio St., and Wisconsin can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games in the WCHA.

Streams in Hockey East this year can be found HERE and all streams FREE of charge for the 20-21 season.

-Streams for CHA games with the exception of Penn St. home games can be found HERE. Penn St. home game are streamed on the Big Ten Network + and can be found HERE.

Post #35 — 3/18/21 — NCAA Frozen Four

In This Post…

  • NCAA Frozen Four Games

NCAA Frozen Four Games

The Frozen Four has arrived. We’re down to 4 teams left in the NCAA National Collegiate Women’s Ice Hockey Championships.

March 18, 2021

#5 MN-Duluth vs. #1 Northeastern | 2pm EST | ESPN3 Stream – Link

#3 Ohio State vs. #2 Wisconsin | 7pm EST | ESPNU Broadcast… check local cable/satellite listings in your area

Two great games on tap… full recap tomorrow.

Enjoy!

Until Next Time… Have a great weekend everyone!


Streaming Info

-Streams for games in the ECAC can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games in the ECAC.

-Streams in the WCHA can be found HERE for homes games at Bemidji, MSU-Mankato, MN-Duluth, and St. Cloud. Streams for home games at Minnesota, Ohio St., and Wisconsin can be found HERE. Subscriptions will be necessary to watch games in the WCHA.

Streams in Hockey East this year can be found HERE and all streams FREE of charge for the 20-21 season.

-Streams for CHA games with the exception of Penn St. home games can be found HERE. Penn St. home game are streamed on the Big Ten Network + and can be found HERE.